Provost's Graduates of Excellence 2020-2021

Manisha Adhikari, Nursing
School of Health Sciences

Influential Faculty: Beverly Anderson

Plans: Passing national exam for licensure as a registered nurse, working in the surgical unit of a hospital and possibly later in a labor and delivery unit and completing her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Utah.

Quote: “Fate brought me and my family to Utah. I came to the USA with an American dream of building a good life for myself and my family while also making them proud. Ever since, I have been giving my best, whether in my academics, my social life or at my workplace. My educational journey at SLCC wasn't the easiest because going to school here is so different. The assignments, quizzes, group projects and the way of teaching were so new to me, but I never gave up and kept learning and adapting. Whenever I get the chance, I have been participating in many cultural events like the Asian Festival, Living Traditions and even at events at SLCC to showcase my country's culture through dance and other kinds of volunteer work. I also did some community service work as part of my nursing journey and doing it brings joy in my life.”

Samuel Aguirre, Business
School of Business

Influential Faculty: Jeff Davis and Dennis Watson

Plans: Admitted to the Huntsman School of Business and will attend Utah State University, double majoring in business and business management and hoping to someday work in international logistics.

Quote: “Most people like a good comeback story, and there is no better setting for one in Utah than at SLCC. Although SLCC's welcoming policies have attracted students from all backgrounds and ages, they have captured the hopes of one main group: the quiet yet resilient investors. These people don't seem to have leadership experience or other highly desired academic attributes that you'd put on paper, but one would be wrong in virtually every sense to presume that. These people have already majored in grit, in fulfilling unrealistic expectations and in experiencing adversity. They have and are leading the way for others in their lives not only so that they can survive, but so that they can live and enjoy what has been always out of their reach. I am among the many of these SLCC students in this group, and I am honored to represent them.”

Prabin Pandit, Mathematics
School of Science, Mathematics & Engineering

Influential Faculty: Suda Satcunasingam and Aart Kyle Costello

Plans: Has transferred to the University of Utah and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and plans to earn his PhD in that subject.

Quote: “I think about children in emerging countries where they did not even have access to good paper to write on. I was one of them. I have sunk into deep melancholy thinking about this matter. I believe quality education is a fundamental right of every human being in the 21st century. Directly or indirectly, humanity has contributed to my knowledge ranging from family and village to country and the world. When I am able to do something, I must give back to society. After completing my education, I plan to start an organization that will help underprivileged children worldwide. I feel and see myself in those innocent eyes. After arriving at this present time, I somehow learned to turn my adversity into opportunity and found meaning in life by almighty's grace.”

Rachel Santizo, Criminal Justice
School of Applied Technology and Technical Specialties

Influential Faculty: Anna West, Brett Terpstra, David Robles and Norman Zurn

Plans: Continuing employment with Odyssey House of Utah and using her education to create improvements within the medical, homeless and corrections settings.

Quote: “I started college with the assumption that I didn't amount to any type of educational excellence, due to my troubled past and being over the age of 40. I feel that true academic excellence is not only the grades you work hard for but also the knowledge you spread to the world. I can honestly say that I am not fully convinced of my excellence per se; however, I know I set an incredible example in my community in a pursuit of finding excellence to change the world we live in today. Throughout my addiction and homelessness, the odds of me being seen were invisible to none. Today, I celebrate almost nine years of sobriety. With that, I have incredible passion to create change in my community.”

Amie Schaeffer, Journalism and Digital Media
School of Arts, Communication and Media

Influential Faculty: Matt Merkel, Marcie Young Cancio and Alison Arndt-Wild

Plans: Taking another theatre course to “round out my skill set” and focusing on radio and podcasting.

Quote: “Professor Matt Merkel encouraged me to apply for a position at The Globe in fall 2019, and I have been editor-in-chief since spring 2020. I feel fortunate for the ongoing support from this department, especially with the uncertainty of the last year. When campuses closed for in-person classes, I was unsure of The Globe's fate. I felt strongly the paper was needed as a student resource. The pandemic was costing jobs, did students know about the Bruin Pantry? Did they know about the counseling services? Our role of communicating important SLCC information became vitally important. Also just as important, was reminding students they were still part of the Bruin community. My position with the paper has afforded me great opportunity and it is a role I will always keep close to my heart.”

Lindsay Simons, General Studies
General Studies

Influential Faculty:  Elisa Stone, Andrea Malouf, Chris Blankenship, PhD, Craig Ferrin, PhD, Will Green, Linda Jemmett

Plans: Transferring to the University of Utah or Brigham Young University and completing a physician’s assistant program.

Quote: “If you told me in 2006, when I first started at SLCC, that I would eventually get a 4.0 grade point average and actually graduate, I would have thought you were crazy! Yet here I am, 15 years later, and I did it! My journey has been untraditional to say the least, but it has been incredible. I was scared to come back to college, but I was welcomed so warmly. My professors taught me how to love and respect myself, they showed me I was smart and worthy of the hard work it took to get through classes. This was an incredible experience that I will never forget.”

Brock Smith, Social Work
School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Influential Faculty: Anthony J. Nocella II, PhD, Juone L. Kadiri, PhD, Stephen Neiner, Juanita Bushman, Mary Keinz, Shayne Vargo, Terrianne Webster, Rachel Lawyer, Bradley Kramer, PhD

Plans: Transferring to the University of Utah, earning PhD and developing a substance abuse program to help those suffering from addiction.

Quote: “I now know that ‘good’ is not ‘good enough’ if I can do better. I have put in the work to help my fellow students make a difference in a nation that severely needs it. By putting our interests aside and working together, we can make a better sociopolitical tomorrow, for both our lives and the coming future generations. The field of social work has provided me with a purpose beyond measure. That purpose is no longer just ideological but achievable as I take action to impact the underserved people of our community outside of class. I have accomplished these things while overcoming extremely harsh living conditions and behaviors by which the statistics for success are stacked against me. My message is if I can do it anyone can, all you need is an academic aspiration and a supportive educational institution like SLCC.”