MCCS Board of Trustees honor Students of the Year

April 26, 2023
Students of the Year

Back row: Aquiles Antonio Lopez, EMCC; Jessica Clark, SMCC; Brandon Vinal, WCCC; Owen Martin, NMCC, Seated: Asma Hassan, CMCC; Amy Stanek, YCCC; and Aubrey Slater, KVCC.

HALLOWELL, ME – The Maine Community College System today recognized the achievements of the seven students selected as the 2023 Students of the Year.

The students were selected by faculty and staff at their college for their academic success and their campus and community involvement. In addition to being named Student of the Year, each student received the John and Jana Lapoint Leadership Award in the amount of $1,000. The Lapoints both served as trustees of the Maine Community College System, and after John’s death in 1995, Jana Lapoint established the fund for the annual awards.

The 2023 Students of the Year are:

Jessica Clark, Southern Maine Community College

Jessica, of East Waterboro, is enrolled in SMCC’s business program. She started her education at SMCC in 2019 and graduated from SMCC’s culinary arts program in 2022. She has served on the Student Senate, and worked as a resident assistant, a front desk worker, and at Sodexo. Her career goal is to be a restaurant owner and is learning all she can about the industry. She plans to continue her education at the University of Southern Maine, where she plans to be a resident assistant while earning a bachelor’s degree in business.

Asma Hassan, Central Maine Community College

Asma, of Lewiston, is enrolled in CMCC’s accounting program. She first enrolled at CMCC through the college’s Embark program, taking one college course while still at a senior at Lewiston High School. She is active in the TRIO program, is a business math tutor, worked as an Academic Affairs greeter, and helped rebuild the Muslim Student Association. Asma’s family immigrated to the U.S. in 2010 from Djibouti and eventually settled in Lewiston. After graduating in May 2023, she plans to continue her education at the University of Maine at Augusta to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Aquiles Antonio Lopez, Eastern Maine Community College

Aquiles, of Millinocket, is enrolled in EMCC’s nursing program. Prior to entering nursing school, Aquiles worked as a software engineer for 12 years, first in avionics for the Navy and then writing software for slot machine games. At EMCC he is an exemplary student, team member, and leader among his peers, with hobbies that include watercolor painting, acoustic guitar, and whittling. He is committed to his future career as a nurse and has worked hard to learn about his future profession. After graduating in May 2023, he is looking forward to giving back to those in need through his nursing career.

Owen Martin, Northern Maine Community College

Owen, of Caribou, is enrolled in NMCC’s electrical construction and maintenance program. Owen originally enrolled at the University of Maine. When the pandemic hit, he transferred to NMCC so he could continue in a hands-on program, which he says was a better fit for him. With a perfect 4.0 GPA, he has tutored other students in math, blueprint reading, digital electronics, and represents the program in campus tours. With the skills he learned at NMCC, he landed a summer internship at Bulldog Automation in Portland and has accepted a full-time position at the engineering firm that starts after he graduates in May 2023.

Aubrey Slater, Kennebec Valley Community College

Aubrey, of Waterville, is enrolled in KVCC’s nursing program. Aubrey was working in the medical field when she applied to KVCC but knew she could do more. It was her fourth attempt at college and she has overcome many challenges to succeed. Aubrey is a Girl Scout leader, plays the saxophone in a community band, and is mom to four daughters. She graduates in May 2023 and plans to sit for the Critical Care certification exam and work in the critical care field of nursing. She plans to continue her education to become an RN-BSN and is considering earning a master’s degree in nursing leadership or a doctoral degree to become a nurse anesthetist.

Amy Stanek, York County Community College

Amy, of Sanford, is enrolled in YCCC’s nursing program and the phlebotomy workforce training program. Amy previously worked as a medical assistant and in the environmental services industry before taking time off to raise a family. When she decided to get back into the medical field, she knew she wanted to be a nurse. As a full-time student and mom to two children, she says YCCC’s new nursing program is allowing her to reach her goals faster and easily. She is a member of the Student Senate, Nursing Club, and competes on YCCC’s cross country and track and field teams. She plans to graduate from the nursing program in May 2024.

Brandon Vinal, Washington County Community College

Brandon, of Appleton, is enrolled in WCCC’s residential and commercial electricity program (RCE). Brandon is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and served as a military police officer. He is president of the Student Senate, a resident assistant, and has a 4.0 GPA. He is taking courses to expand his skills, working to become a Certified Fiber Optics Technician and earning an EPA Section 608 technician certification. After he graduates in May 2023 with his degree in RCE, he plans to return to WCCC to complete the electromechanical instrumentation technology program, become a journeyman electrician, and eventually earn his master electrician license.