CSCC Recognizes Distinguished Award Recipients

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 - by Napierra Alexander, Cleveland State Community College

Three individuals were recognized for their dedication and hard work at Cleveland State Community College’s annual spring Commencement Ceremony. Mayra Salgado was selected as the 2022 Distinguished Graduate, Chris Mowery was selected as the Distinguished Staff Member and Laurie Rowland 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. 

Ms. Salgado first enrolled at Cleveland State in the fall of 2019. During her time at CSCC, she experienced some challenging times when she lost her biological father, but she persevered. She found inspiration to step out of her comfort zone by accepting the role of Honors Peer Advisor and her spirit was revived by serving the Cleveland State students. 

During her time at CSCC, she has been heavily involved in student life and activities and has also excelled in her studies maintaining a 4.0 GPA. 

In addition to being an Honors College student and an Honors Peer Advisor, she is also actively involved in Phi Theta Kappa and serves as a writing tutor on campus.

According to her nomination form, “Her bright smile and kind demeanor have made such an impression on others…her attention to excellence is well balanced in that she can accept instruction without offense. Her tenacious will and dedicated approach will take her far, and I look forward to watching her grow beyond Cleveland State.” 

She plans to attend UTC to earn a B.S. in psychology, and her ultimate career goals include becoming a trauma therapist and earning a doctor of psychology degree. 

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. 

Mr. Mowery began his Cleveland State career in 2006. Since that time, he has represented his department as being reliable, knowledgeable and trustworthy with every aspect of his job. He has been instrumental to Cleveland State by providing a multitude of improvements to the OIT Department. 

Because of his forward thinking, he ensures Cleveland State is as advanced as possible in technologies with limited funding, and is constantly looking for ways to save money and stay within budget. He also seeks ways to improve technologies to assist the faculty and students with their teaching and learning experiences. He ensures the college is not at risk of data breaches, and he communicates the importance of this to his coworkers, managers and executive management. 

Over the past year, he has been involved in organizing and planning the network infrastructure with the capital projects, such as the new Health and Science Center, the McMinn Higher Education Center and the Humanities buildings. 

According to his nomination, “He has a great personality which enables him to present technical information to all levels of the organization in an engaging and understandable manner.” His supervisor stated, “I find him to be a knowledgeable, flexible, caring and loyal employee and supervisor who is always looking at ways to improve the campus. He is always available when needed, always willing to listen, troubleshoot, brainstorm and pitch in.” 

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.

Ms. Rowland came to the college in 2015. Since that time, her peer evaluations indicate a dedicated, positive instructor who leads engaging discussions and is very supportive of her students. Her student evaluations focus on her strong support and willingness to help students learn. 

She spearheaded efforts with her fellow Communication faculty to incorporate inclusive texts with an ADA component in the online course shells that all students use. She was one of the initial pilots for a new initiative in Tennessee to use digital texts as a way of reducing student textbook expenses. As the chair of the Humanities Department, she was instrumental in completing last year’s Academic Audit, a review of Cleveland State’s General Education program. She has played a central role in the creation of the Mass Communications program, the evaluation of the Music program and the development of a new Graphic Design program–all with the intent of better meeting the needs and goals of the students. 

During her first year as a full-time faculty member on campus, she began laying the foundation to start a Forensics Club. The Speech and Debate Team has grown over the course of four years from two members to 17, competing in both debate and individual speaking events. The team has gone on to win awards at every tournament since January of 2019, often competing against university teams. Most recently, the team was awarded top community college of Tennessee at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association Competition.


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