Eastern Wyoming College Student, Employees, Trustee and Foundation Board Member Recognized

Friday, January 8th, 2016 • 11:50 am

WACCT Nominations

EWC WACCT nominations, left to right Kyle Sabourin, Elaine Rush, Mai Lee Olsen, John Nesbitt Not pictured: Donna Beth Downer and John Patrick

Eastern Wyoming College would like to announce the recognition of the individuals who were nominated by their peers for the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees Awards.  The nominations were for exemplary student, faculty member, classified employee, professional employee, Trustee and Foundation volunteer award.  Nomination packets included examples of how the nominee has had a positive impact on their community college and how they have been involved in the community.  Nominees will be recognized at an Awards Ceremony and Legislative Reception held in Cheyenne on February 18.

The EWC nominee for Student of the Year is Kyle Sabourin.  Kyle participates in many major activities on the EWC campus and surrounding community.  He is president of the Student Senate, serves on the Banner-Community Hospital advisory board, he is a Student Ambassador, a member of Phi Theta Kappa and has volunteered for the Goshen County School Districts’ backpack program.

John Nesbitt who began his career at EWC in 1981 was nominated as the Faculty Member of the Year and is an Instructor of English and Spanish.

John has demonstrated excellence in teaching through his sustained commitment to developmental education. Over many years, John has developed and taught Writing Skills and he teaches multiple on-campus and distance sections each semester. Writing Skills is an especially important course for students who have not yet qualified for college level English courses, and John’s work with this course, including his development of the textbook, demonstrates his dedication to EWC’s at-risk student population.

John also regularly teaches Composition, Introduction to Literature, Spanish, Short Stories, and Creative Writing. He is particularly beneficial as an instructor of creative writing as a published author of poetry, short stories, contemporary novels, and traditional westerns. Affording students the opportunity to learn writing skills from an accomplished author assists in recruiting and retaining high quality students. In addition, his continuing education in the Spanish language makes him a qualified and valuable addition to the program requirements of many students.

Elaine Rush, Student Center Manager was nominated for the classified employee at EWC.  The Student Center is where our Students, Staff, Faculty and Guests can find a friendly atmosphere while enjoying excellent food cooked daily. It is also a place to unwind and visit, study, play a variety of games, put puzzles together and feel uplifted. Elaine makes the Student Center comfortable and relaxing for everyone.

The Students respect her and the efforts she puts forward to provide them with a great place to hang-out and enjoy a good meal. Every year Ms. Rush challenges herself to find new ideas to inspire the Student Center success.

When she does find time outside of Eastern Wyoming College and caring for her mother she is involved with a motorcycle club Platte Valley ABATE (American Bikers Acting Towards Education) that provides scholarships and support to local charities and fundraisers for people in need.

EWC’s nominee for Professional Employee of the Year is Mai Lee Olsen. She is an outstanding EWC employee and has an excellent rapport with all of the students’ whether they are on campus, distance or in the application phase of their education. She relates well with Administration, Faculty and other staff members as her people skills are outstanding! Mai Lee is always willing to help out a fellow colleague with any endeavor and her humor and positive attitude are welcomed by all.

In addition to her daily job responsibilities of recruiting, Mai Lee serves on the Personnel Advisory Committee, the Staff Alliance Committee, as Chair, the Diversity Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee.

Mai Lee’s Community Achievements outside of her job include: coaching the High School Meat Judging Team, helping her husband with wrestling tournaments, Wyoming Admissions Officers (WAO) Secretary and has been recently nominated as new President of WAO. Mai Lee is involved with 4-H and hosted a County wide 4-H event on EWC’s campus.

Dr. Donna Beth Downer has been nominated by the Eastern Wyoming College Foundation Board of Directors to be the candidate for the 2015-16 WACCT Foundation Volunteer Leadership Award.

Dr. Downer has served on the EWC Foundation for the past eleven years. Through her participation and leadership, the Foundation has made tremendous progress and grown substantially. She is a very active member, rarely missing a meeting and very involved in its various events. It can truly be said that she is a pillar of the organization.

A Goshen County native, Dr. Downer spent her career engaged in higher education. She earned a PhD from Purdue University and then went on to serve over twenty years as a faculty member at the University of Nevada and Dean at the University of Alabama. Upon retirement, she returned home to Torrington and has been actively engaged in the community since, most notably with the Goshen County Planning Commission and EWC’s Foundation.

Dr. Downer is insightful, observant, and has a great vision for what EWC can become. Her focus of late has been on the new Agricultural building and to enhance related program offerings. She has worked tirelessly to advance this project and has been very successful in helping move it forward.

Mr. John Patrick has been nominated by the Eastern Wyoming College Board of Trustees to be the candidate for the 2015-16 WACCT Trustee Leadership Award.

Mr. Patrick has served over seventeen years on the Board of EWC, during two separate time periods. He has held every position including serving as the Chair for five years. Throughout that time he has consistently displayed strong leadership and a clear vision in setting the course for the college.

Additional service to the college has been provided by his long tenure on the EWC Foundation Board.

A Goshen County native and a University of Wyoming College of Law graduate, Mr. Patrick has a lifelong commitment to our area and the state. He has displayed this by his service on the U.W. Board of Trustees, service on numerous state and local boards and committees.

As a life-long rancher, Mr. Patrick is deeply committed to agriculture and the advancement of EWC’s programs in that area.

“Eastern Wyoming College’s nominees for this year’s WACCT service awards reflect the best of the College, our Foundation, and Board of Trustees.  We are proud to present them as candidates for this honor,” added college President Dr. Richard Paterson.

This event is held annually, hosted by one of the seven Wyoming Community Colleges and the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees.

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