Three students received State Fair Community College’s top academic awards May 4 at a recognition ceremony and reception in Yeater Center lobby on the Sedalia campus.
Jenna Ellison, Sedalia, received the Distinguished Student award for students earning Associate of Arts degrees.
Abigail Bilyeu, California, received the Distinguished Student award for students earning Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees.
Jonathan Tyler Finkle, Butler, received the Distinguished Student award for students earning Associate of Applied Science degrees.
Faculty nominated students for the awards from eligible graduating students, and a committee selected the recipients. Ellison, Bilyeu and Finkle will lead the procession of graduates at commencement May 18 in the Mathewson Exhibition Center on the Missouri State Fairgrounds.
SFCC also honored the instructor, adjunct instructor and staff member for 2017-2018.
Brad Driskill, Agriculture, was named instructor of the year; Jessica Wingerter, Agriculture, was named adjunct instructor of the year; and Lindy Johnson, TRiO, Student Success Coach, was named staff member of the year.
Students submitted 28 nominations for the awards. A selection committee, comprised of student leaders, chose five finalists in each category. Committee members conducted classroom surveys for instructors and questionnaires for staff to select the winners.
Driskill, has taught more than seven years at SFCC and was a finalist in 2015 for the award. Students who nominated him said that he is dedicated to his job as an instructor as well as the coordinator of the Agriculture program. Driskill puts students first, is competitive but always makes sure learning takes place. He has an open door policy for students struggling with life or studies and is willing to listen.
One student commented that Driskill can “talk your ear off” when it comes to the markets and spends extra time perfecting forms and studying for Professional Agriculture Student (PAS) competitions at state and national levels. Another student said “he is short but mighty” and is wonderful at what he does. He makes sure that everyone has the information they need and is well prepared, and he is a fun instructor.
Wingerter has worked at the college seven years. Students commented she is a great teacher and helps with many agriculture activities. Wingerter volunteers more than is required of her, going “above and beyond in the interest of the students.” She has taken the time to attend and support students at state and national PAS contests. Not only has she filled in teaching when the program was in the process of hiring a full-time instructor but also serves as a navigator, helping students enroll in classes and stay on track to graduate. Wingerter recently took a group of students planning to transfer to visit University of Central Missouri and plans to take a group to visit other colleges as well.
Johnson has worked almost four years at SFCC and was a finalist in 2016 for the award. Students participating in TRiO, a federally funded program that supports eligible students seeking four-year degrees, nominated Johnson because of her dedication to helping them reach their educational goals. One student wrote that she takes time to listen and answer many questions and address concerns. “When I have a question, and my questions are usually not common questions, Lindy finds the answer … I don’t know where I’d be without her.”
Honorees received plaques and their photos will be displayed in the Yeater Learning Center lobby. They also will lead the procession of faculty and staff at commencement May 18.