Four individuals were recognized for their dedication and hard work at Cleveland State Community College’s annual spring Commencement Ceremonies this weekend. Quentin Kaus was selected as the 2021 Distinguished Graduate. Joyce Chapman and Kelli Roach were both selected as Distinguished Staff Members and Denice King was selected as the Distinguished Faculty Member.
The Distinguished Graduate award is given each year to the graduating student who, in the opinion of the college faculty and staff, has contributed the most to the advancement and betterment of the college.
Kaus moved to Tennessee with his family when he was 15 years old. Soon after, he pursued his passion for civic service, community organization and social awareness in American government, society and law. He enrolled in CSCC in 2019 where he studied History and the Humanities in preparation for a life of civic service. During his time at CSCC, he has been heavily involved in student life and activities and has also excelled in his studies. Working with his peers and faculty, he helped to start the History and Culture Club and the Athens Diversity Club. Additionally, he assisted in implementing Project S.E.T. (which stands for Suicide, Education , Together), an Honors leadership project focusing on suicide prevention, educational awareness and togetherness for E.S.L. students on all CSCC sites.
He has participated in many community projects in the Athens area, including interning for the Tenth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, assisting in organizing Civic Saturday and volunteering for the local Election Commission on election day. This year, he has been nominated for the school’s Club MVP award, the TBR Student Regent Scholarship Award and the TBR SOAR Award. In August, he will attend Tennessee Wesleyan University to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in History with an additional focus on pre-law professional studies. While applying to TWU, he was awarded the annual Transfer Merit Award of $17,000 and the Phi Theta Kappa Membership Scholarship of $1000.
Other students nominated for this award include Ariana Medina and Katie Rockhill.
The Distinguished Staff award is presented each year to an individual who has performed meritorious service to Cleveland State—above and beyond the expectations of the job. This award is open to any CSCC employee other than those classified as Executive, Administrator or Faculty.
Joyce Chapman began her Cleveland State Career in 1977. She worked in the Admissions and Records office for one year before moving over to the secretary position for the Department of Business. She left to work in the industry from 1979-2000 gaining valuable experience in computers, production and logistics and even started her own business for a period of time before returning to her former position of Business Department Secretary. In May of 2003, she assumed the role of the Dean’s Division Secretary while continuing to provide support to the Business Department Chair for the past 18 years.
Ms. Chapman has been described as “always being one of the first to raise her hand to help across the campus.” Whether volunteering to staff a beginning of the semester welcome tent in the pouring down rain, stuffing welcome packets or helping with annual events such as career fairs, college fairs, service-learning expos, graduation and PAGES Reading Groups, she is always willing to help her colleagues, students and the college. In the community, she proudly wears her CSCC t-shirt and continually recruits students in every interaction.
According to her nomination form, “Her commitment to students and faculty is impeccable. She has never forgotten the most important focus of a community college and strives every day to help others. Her experience, expertise and dedication to the college is clearly evident to all.”
Kelli Roach began her Cleveland State career in 2013 working part-time in the Enrollment Services Department and has worked tirelessly for Cleveland State since then. By 2016, she was hired full-time as the Transcript Analyst and was later promoted to her current position of Assistant Director of Admissions, Early College and Dual Enrollment Coordinator.
According to her nomination, “Her dedication to students, administrators and faculty and staff of Cleveland State stands above the rest. She demonstrates extreme attention to detail coordinating our dual enrollment and Tennessee Valley Early College (TVEC) programs and has excellent communication skills between departments and high school partners.”
Through her efforts and continual support of the TVEC students, Cleveland State successfully graduated the first group of these exceptional students in 2020 and the second cohort graduated on Saturday. Her devotion to this program has led her to meeting with middle school students, teachers, and administrators in recruiting and educating the possibilities of early college. This is the type of dedication that has led to an increase in student engagement and interest in early college programs.
In her spare time, Ms. Roach is active in her church volunteering to keep the nursery most Sundays. She also participates in cross-fit competitions throughout the community and enjoys attending all of her son’s football, golf and wrestling matches.
Other staff members nominated for this award include Chad Cameron, Gina Cash, Wendy Haley and Haley Hendrix.
The Distinguished Faculty Award is given each year to a member of the Cleveland State faculty in recognition of meritorious service to the college and community.
Denice King came to the college in 1994. Since that time, she has gone from a full-time Biology Instructor to a tenured Associate Professor and Department Chair for the Natural Sciences Division. During her time at CSCC, she has served on numerous committees as well as every Academic Audit team involving Science courses. Not only does she participate in the Cleveland State audits, she regularly serves on audit teams that review other college reports, including serving as a team leader for the Tennessee Board of Regents. She is extremely active in her role as an academic advisor. She advises students in both the STEM and healthcare career communities.
Ms. King participates in student orientation sessions and covers any advising center shift that is needed, often more than required. In addition to her regular teaching load, she regularly serves as capstone director for numerous students in the Honors program. In the past, she took students on international trips to enhance their learning experience at CSCC.
According to her nomination, “She puts in many extra hours to work one-on-one with her students, and goes over and above classroom and office hours. This past year, she developed online and hybrid courses for General Biology I and II, Microbiology and Nutrition. She has done an excellent job through the pandemic, meeting her classes virtually providing live lectures rather than having them watch videos.”
She is very active in her church and serves as a caretaker for older family members. She also remains in contact with former CSCC faculty and staff keeping them up to date on the college.
Melodee Alexander and Jim Meir were also nominated for the Distinguished Faculty Award.