Photo of students smiling at the 2024 Awards Banquet

Last week, at the 2024 Student Life Awards Banquet, we celebrated the academic, leadership and service accomplishments of the NHCC students and employees who have made a difference on our campus. We enjoyed taking the time to recognize and reflect on the hard work and successes of our students this year! Also, important to note, the theme of this year's event was 'Sneaker Ball' and many fun sneakers were worn by guests, see photos below! 

The International Student of the Year Award 

This award is intended to recognize and reward the accomplishments and contributions of current International Students.
Recipient: D'Jonae Jones (not pictured)
Nomination Highlights: “Her passion for learning and desire to help others is evident in her academic performance and chosen career path, but also shows in her work at on campus, where she provides a warm, welcoming presence to anyone who visits or stops by. D’Jonae embodies the spirit and mission of the NHCC community and is well deserving of the International Student of the Year Award.”

Academic Achievement Awards

The Academic Achievement Awards recognize and honor academic excellence and exemplary achievement of current NHCC students within the different academic areas of the College. Four students were recognized at the event for their academic achievements (each pictured below).

  1. Outstanding Academic Achievement in Health Sciences & Nursing 
    Recipient: Blessing Jusu 
    Nomination Highlights: "Her clinical faculty share that she shows excellence in the classroom. She is prepared for clinical's and ready to take on academic challenges. She is willing to help her peers or clinical staff with clients. She always has a smile on her face, so her presence has a great positive influence. She has been instrumental in inviting guest speakers to the Student Nurses Association (SNA). In addition to her work in SNA, she volunteers and advocates for the NHCC Food Cupboard. When asked about running for SNA president, she said, “I want the opportunity to grow as a leader, serve my community, and represent North Hennepin Community College.” 
  2. Outstanding Academic Achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math 
    Recipient: Hozea Kariuki 
    Nomination Highlights: “When she was taking Organic Chemistry I, she ensured that she understood all the concepts the professor taught and then passed down her knowledge along with tips and tricks to her classmates. She tutors in the math center and when she has an appointment, she takes time out of her busy schedule to brush up on the concepts she will be tutoring other students on. She continues to stay on top of her classes, tutors, and actively participates in Student Life.”
  3. Outstanding Academic Achievement in Liberal Arts & Academic Foundations 
    Recipient: Beatriz Kelly (not pictured)
    Nomination Highlights:  “In her coursework she excels, always top of the class. She is respected and admired by her peers; she's quick to help her fellow students. Outside of the classroom she's mind-bogglingly busy - she keeps a full calendar of theater performances, musical performances, and manages her own journal. She's the true liberal arts student: broad interests and excellence, and no respect for discipline boundaries - she can do it all, across the arts and sciences. I'm just super proud of this student, her clever mind and passion for social justice.”
  4. Outstanding Academic Achievement in Business, Careers, Education & Work Innovation 
    Recipient: Tata Dore 
    Nomination Highlights: “She is a wonderful student and a lovely person! She works hard to earn exceptional grades even though she has many responsibilities outside of academics. She is also a student leader, a member of PTK and in TRIO who brings light to everyone she meets. It is an honor to work with her.” Another nominator wrote, “She is super resilient! She was in Be Bold for two years. She had two different mentors and explored the world of Engineering before deciding on Business. She has a lot of interests and loves to write.”
NHCC student, Blessing
NHCC student, Hozea
NHCC student, Tata Dore

The Student Employee Excellence in Service Award

This award is intended to recognize a student who showcases different areas of customer service including quality work, positive image and role models.
Recipient: Hoang Phong 
Nomination Highlights: “She takes great pride in every project she touches, always ensuring that she does high quality work. Her voice and perspective have also been invaluable in the testing of the rebuilt scholarship application. Pairing her experiences as a student and as a work study, she has recommended critical vocabulary changes, functionality elements, etc. that will make the application more user-friendly and understandable. She has been an asset to the office as well as impacted the visibility of North Hennepin Community College.”

NHCC student, Hoang

The Recreation + Wellness Athlete of the Year Award 

The Athlete of the Year Award recognizes a student who participates in club sports and excels on and off the field as a teammate and leader. The recipient of the Athlete of the Year award this year has displayed sportsmanship, determination, leadership, and inspiration that brought out the best in their teammates. 
Recipient: Travis Linton 
Nomination Highlights: "This person helped lead the North Hennepin flag football team back to the Metro League Championship game for the first time since 2018. They helped lead North Hennepin to victory against Normandale and Minneapolis College to capture the Metro League Basketball Championship with clutch scoring and stout defense."

NHCC student, Travis Linton

The 2024 Friend of Student Life Award 

The Friend of Student Life Award annually recognizes an individual, or department that has supported and helped accomplish the mission of Student Life and Recreation & Wellness. 
Recipient: Daniel Shugarts (not pictured) 
Nomination Highlights: "The recipient of this next award has helped make a difference in the lives of students, staff, and faculty. They have consistently demonstrated a high-level of professionalism and a willingness to collaborate to support programs and events. And though not everyone makes it over to the Health & Wellness Center, or HWC, this person has helped impact numerous students and employees that come through there."

The Outstanding Club/Organization Member of the Year Award  

This award is given to a student who goes above and beyond to serve their club and fellow peers.
Recipient: Hozea Kariuki 
Nomination Highlights: "This award is going to someone who excels in their school and personal life. They appear to stay on top of their science, math, and engineering classes all while participating in student life. They are a peer tutor, student club/org board member and as their nomination notes, “A wonderful club member of the Environmental Association.”

NHCC student, Hozea with her second award

The Outstanding Club/Organization Officer of the Year Award 

This award recognizes a student who makes significant and lasting contributions to the campus through their service and involvement. 
Recipient: Zoey Braaten 
Nomination Highlights: "This student is described by their nominator as a “whirlwind”. This student has many ideas for the club and the energy to match. She devoted a huge amount of organizing power and motivational energy to an ongoing clothing drive. She engineered field trips for the club, collaboration with other student groups for games and art projects. Under their leadership, the club has grown so much that they overflow the room. Above all, her zany, room-shaking humor, and energy is irreplaceable.”

NHCC student, Zoey with her award

The Outstanding Club/Organization Advisor of the Year Award 

The success of a club not only depends on leadership and student involvement, but also greatly benefits from the support and attention provided by their faculty/staff advisor. This award recognizes and thanks the dedicated employees who advise our student groups.
Recipient: Dr. Tam Mans (pictured individually and with Biology Club students, below)
Nomination Highlights: “I couldn't think of a more supportive faculty member than her. She genuinely cares about providing opportunities for her students and does the same for the Biology Club.” Another nominator wrote, “She offers not only guidance when creating and executing event ideas, but she also helps students with needs outside of the club. She attends all club meetings and events as if she is one of the leaders as well. She shows commitment to the club and determination to help it succeed.” Several students nominated this one Advisor, and they unanimously describe this person as critical and extraordinary."

A photo of NHCC faculty, Dr. Tam Mans with her award

The Outstanding Club/Organization of the Year Award 

This award is given to a club/org who’s efforts support NHCC’s mission; while prioritizing the following areas: leadership, service, initiative, programming, education, diversity and campus, or community engagement.
Recipient: The Biology Club (recently renamed)   
Nomination Highlights: “The club leaders have done a great job hosting events with creative, interactive, activities and organizing field trips that benefit students both professionally and socially. Club leaders have also attended every student senate meeting of the year showing professionalism and commitment.” Additional nominations noted, “When I was struggling with my biology homework, some of the club members went out of their way to help me and I ended up getting an A in Biology. I then went on to attend some of the club meetings and was pleasantly surprised” and “They gave me unique opportunities that I wouldn't have had access to before. They immediately were able to connect me with like-minded people with similar career paths to me. It quickly gave me a sense of belonging and community within the biology department.”

members of the Biology Club and Dr. Tam Mans in 2024 with their award

The Outstanding Campus Program of the Year Award 

Recipient: The Guided Learning Pathways Day Service Project (Ellie & Josie accepted this award)
Nomination Highlights: "This event was highlighted by its fun, community building nature: “The event brought faculty and staff together to collectively assemble hygiene kits and birthday packs for NHCC students in need. While not a competition, the activity had us laughing, fostering teamwork, collaborating, and enjoying the time together. It was a great way to meaningfully impact our campus community through the CARE Center." 

NHCC CARE Center staff, Ellie and Josie

The Student Leader for Diversity Award 

This award is given to a student who demonstrates academic excellence and passion towards advocating, educating and making specific contributions to diversity, multiculturalism and outreach at NHCC. 
Recipient: Hanin Moussa 
Nomination Highlights: "They have shown tenacity when faced with friction and an intense desire for growth with their motto, 'Bigger, bolder and better' in their advocacy, clubs, organizations and even academics. This student shows a passion to contribute to North Hennepin Community College in a way that NHCC has invested in her.”

NHCC student, Hanin Moussa

The Outstanding Diversity Program of the Year Award

This award exemplifies NHCC’s commitment to campus diversity, inclusivity and empowerment.
Recipient: The 2024 International Women’s Day Celebration Event (NHCC Art Club members, City of Brooklyn Park staff and the IWD Planning Committee accepted this award)
Nomination Highlights: "The various activities and initiatives held at this event made a meaningful impact on our students and the campus community. The keynote speaker’s inspiring words about creating accessibility in tech and breaking down barriers resonated with the audience. But not only that, this event was robust with a service project, an empowerment resource fair (featuring women-owned businesses from the community) and a fashion show. The student-led fashion show emphasized that creativity and connection can transcend cultural boundaries. Overall, this event celebrated diversity, empowering women and fostering inclusivity on our campus." 

Photo of the International Women's Day event planning crew with their award

The 2024 Resiliency Award 

The Resiliency Award is for a tenacious student who shows up as a student, leader and role model.
Recipient: Lynette Rivera (not pictured)
Nomination Highlights: “As a club president, she makes all her members feel welcome and included, ensuring they all feel valued. She encourages members to take on leadership roles not just in the club, but also across campus. She reminds others to take care of themselves by scheduling self-care days to rest. Regardless of challenges she faces, she always gives her best.”

The 2024 Exceptional Growth and Development Award  

This award goes to a couple students who have shown immense growth in the last year.
Recipient (s): Sam Johnson and Jodi Massmann 
Nomination Highlights: "Our first award recipient is a student that demonstrated passion, resiliency and reliability. Although he was facing challenges at the time, he saw a need on-campus and was determined to inspire others. He has taken action to improve students' lives in the real world. He's stepped outside his comfort zone, both in terms of time and effort and in terms of starting a group dedicated to topics that many of his peers have difficulty discussing. Sam is living out what we at North Hennepin teach.” 

"Our next recipient is a great example of someone who has truly grown. She was quiet when she first joined Student Senate and now she has blossomed. She enjoys being involved with campus activities and rarely misses events. She is a mom, wife and a student. She manages each of those roles wonderfully. She is so creative and has allowed her creativity to really shine this year. It has been a joy to see her leadership and passion for NHCC grow and I am thankful to her involvement in the Student Senate. She has volunteered more frequently and has stepped up in organizing activities for NHCC. Even though Jodi is graduating, she's a great example of what ending strong should look like! She is kind and welcoming to the students and helps in any way she can. Jodi has shown exceptional growth and development in her involvement, leadership and confidence."

NHCC student, Sam Johnson
NHCC student, Jodi Massmann

The 2024 President-to-President Award

From one exceptional leader to another, NHCC's President honors the Student Senate President. 
Recipient: Sylvester Jah
Nominator Highlights: "It is my pleasure to award the President-to-President Award to Sylvester Jah, our Student Senate President. This award is not just a recognition of his role as a leader but a testament to his unwavering dedication, profound impact and inspirational leadership within our college community. His ability to voice the concerns and aspirations of his peers while working collaboratively with administration and faculty has been nothing short of remarkable. He shows us what it means to lead with integrity, courage and an inclusive vision. Under his leadership, our Student Senate has addressed key student issues and spearheaded initiatives to enhance NHCC's educational environment and bolster student success. His commitment to service goes beyond the confines of this campus, extending into the local community and setting a high bar for civic engagement among his peers. His actions remind us that leadership is about making a difference and lifting others as you climb. Today, we celebrate his achievements and express our profound gratitude for his service to North Hennepin Community College. Thank you, Sylvester for your dedication, your enthusiasm and your exemplary leadership! Gracías!" 

NHCC President speaking to the Senate President
NHCC President, Dr. Garcia and Student Senate President, Sylvester Jah with their award certificates

The Annual Student Senate Awards

Each year, members of our Student Senate give awards to various staff, faculty and students who have gone above and beyond in their work and responsibilities on-campus. Four people were recognized as assets to NHCC at the event (each pictured below).

  1. The 2024 Staff of the Year Award 
    Recipient: Josie Neveu
    Nomination Highlights: "This employee at North Hennepin Community College has been described as, a trail blazer and a rockstar. She is a hard worker and is truly here for the students, as it shows in her actions. She encourages students to work towards accomplishing their goals. She'll help you soar even when you feel like you're sinking. You can count on her to always lift you up and be the shoulder you need to lean on. Also, she volunteers, collaborates and takes the lead in many areas."
  2. The 2024 Faculty of the Year Award  
    Recipient: Heidi Farrah 
    Nomination Highlights: “She is knowledgeable and makes the class material interesting to learn. Her teaching style allows students to improve and progress from whatever level they are at when they begin the class. She is a fantastic teacher that I personally have learned so much from. She deserves this award for her flexibility, warmth and compassion." 
  3. The 2024 Student of the Year Award
    Recipient: Sylvester Jah
    Nomination Highlights: "This student actively participates in Student Life and volunteers at NHCC. They are sweet and treat everyone with kindness. They are a strong leader and work hard to impact change for the college. They meet with the president of NHCC to make sure Student Senate is doing their part to help the college. They are 100% the definition of Student of the Year." 
  4. The 2024 Friend of Student Senate Award 
    Recipient: Hawa Sanoe
    Nomination Highlights: "This award is for an individual, or department that uniquely supports Student Senate throughout the year. This year’s recipient always has a smile on her face and says, 'Hello!' Seeing her makes your day a little brighter. Her supervisors acknowledge that she takes great pride in her work and carries a positive attitude. The Campus Center is a busy place and yet Hawa makes the building sparkle. Thank you for keeping the Campus Center, both inside and outside a beautiful place."
Photo of NHCC staff, Josie Neveu
NHCC faculty, Heidi Farrah
NHCC student, Sylvester Jah with his award
Photo of NHCC staff, Hawa Sanoe and her award

A Message to the Graduating Students

Every year we honor our graduating students, especially those who have been involved in co-curricular activities through the Office of Student Life. At last week's event, the graduates stood up to be congratulated for their accomplishments! They also received a pin for leadership and service as a 'Thank You' from NHCC's Office of Student Life. Congratulations were extended to the following graduating students present at the event:

  • Ashyante Shantell Gill
  • Azah Nde
  • Blessing Jusu
  • Emily Tran
  • Hanin Moussa
  • Hoang Phong
  • Hozea Kariuki
  • Iman Abdulhamid
  • Jacki Erickson
  • Sylvester Jah
  • Jodi Massmann
  • Kassie Johnson
  • Larisa Gehmie
  • Marsa Mason
  • Riley T Reed
  • Seth McClellan
  • Tristan Hoole
  • Zoey Braaten
A photo of graduating students standing up as guests congratulate and clap around them

Below are general photos from the event. It should also be noted that NHCC faculty, Joel Jensen won the 'Sneaker Ball Award' for the best kicks. One guest added, "He was just wearing everyday, running shoes. But his students love him so much, they were all cheering for him and he ended up winning the Best Sneakers Award, along with a Target gift-card!" 

A photo of NHCC President, Dr. Garcia with a student award winner smiling
Photo of NHCC student, Sylvester

Safe to say fun was had by all!

NHCC student, Hoang
NHCC staff smile at the awards event

More 'Sneaker Ball' photos!

a photo of Julio's Nike sneakers
A photo of a blue and orange pair of Nike sneakers

Everyone seemed to enjoy the sneaker theme!

NHCC student, Gabriel
Nate and Dylan pose with their sneakers

We were so impressed with the sneaker game!

Glow in the dark sneakers
a photo of sneakers in a circle

These sneakers were furry!

a photo of furry sneakers

Mr. 'Best Sneakers' himself, Joel Jensen!

Joel Jensen with his sneaker award
Joel Jensen's sneakers

Making memories together!

Students sitting together at the banquet
Students smiling in front of our NHCC banner

Thank you to everyone who came out for a great night!

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