Graduating students, together with friends, family and Highline staff and faculty, packed the ShoWare Center in Kent for the college’s 2016 Commencement ceremony, held June 16.

Before the ceremony got underway, graduating students shared advice for current and future Highline College students.

Several graduates urged students to ask questions, use campus resources and stay organized. There were surprising suggestions, too, all of which can be viewed in the 6-minute video. Thank you to the 38 students who participated in the video.

This year’s commencement offered a couple of significant firsts in the college’s history.

The college welcomed Sandra Cravens Robinson as the newest inductee into the ranks of Distinguished Alumni Award winners. She is the first graduate of Highline’s Nursing program to earn the prestigious honor and was the first student of color in the program back in the 1960s. Fittingly, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the first graduating class of the program, which Robinson was a member of.

In another milestone, 20 students can now claim the honor of being Highline’s first Bachelor of Applied Science graduates. These students were the first to enroll in three of the college’s four new applied bachelor’s degree programs: Cybersecurity and Forensics, Global Trade and Logistics, and Respiratory Care. Highline also offers a fourth program, Youth Development, but because it started a couple of quarters after the other three, students have not yet graduated. Congratulations to them all:

Angelee Bailey
Justin L. Black Crow
Kelsi A. Burkhart
John C. Burnett
Austin A. Ducatt
Eric K. Garay
Sorakdet Ieng
Shahinur Islam
Jennifer E. Jovanovich
Navdeep Kaur
Inesa Markovets
Dan Huy Nguyen
Ngan D. Nguyen
Kennedy J. Onzere
Olajide D. Osadare
Jose A. Ramos
Christopher W. Rattie
Gursharanjit Singh
Gregory A. Smith
Hal M. Ungerleider

During the ceremony, many students were recognized for their academic achievements with the following premier academic awards and honors:

Highest Scholastic Achievement Award

The Highest Scholastic Achievement Award is presented each commencement to the graduating student—or students—who has attained the highest GPA and who has completed all degree requirements by the end of the spring quarter of the academic year of graduation. At this year’s commencement, 24 graduating students had earned perfect 4.0 GPAs, making them all winners of the Highest Scholastic Achievement Award:

Whitney L. Christianson
Don R. Crawley
Tracey M. Dufault
Roberto Gomez
Junming Guan
Thomas E. Hay
Curtis R. Holshouser
Kathryn L. Howland
Tran B. Huynh
Dana Y. Kaban
Amandeep Kaur
Corey J. Kim
Emily L. Kosterman
Affoueth H. Kra
Casey M. Manson
Michael G. Myers
Sakinheh B. Neematollahi
Maryann D. Orr
Michael B. Sovar
Spencer Stenger
Resmond M. Taulelei
Daniel E. Todd
Carolyn S. Young
Uri Zvi

Honors Program Graduates

More than 200 students participated in the Honors Program during the 2015–16 academic year. Out of that group, 19 students, including two pursuing BAS degrees, challenged themselves to graduate as Honors Scholars. These students completed at least 25 to 30 honors option credits, depending upon their degree, all while maintaining a minimum 3.5 GPA. In addition, they showed their dedication to the campus community by serving as club and student government leaders, participating in service learning, and much more. Read about the graduates in the Honors Program 2015–16 newsletter.

Abdul Aziz Bah
Emily Barrick
Wei-Chen (Doris) Chin
Alex Crawford
Eric Garay (BAS degree)
Ali Houle
Pa Ousman Jobe
Jacqueline Kemp
Jared Kern
Noela Limo
Yuan (Claire) Lu
Angelia Miranda
Wen Yen (Tony) Pai
Bandhan Singh
Gurchetan Singh
Hal Ungerleider (BAS degree)
Jamie Urban
Apars Walia
Chia-Ling (Jenith) Wen

Next Step Scholarship (University of Washington Tacoma)

Gurchetan Singh

Gurchetan Singh

Gurchetan Singh was selected as the University of Washington Tacoma’s 2016 Next Step Scholarship recipient from Highline College. The scholarship provides up to $6,000 in support each academic year for two years, for a total value of $12,000. He will pursue a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Systems.

Singh moved from Punjab, India, to the U.S. at the age of 17. He worked full-time after graduating from high school, but knew that he wanted to continue his education. He found support at Highline College where he entered the TRiO and Honors programs.

In additional to serving as a leader in both programs, he founded two clubs: Anybody Can Code to promote computer science to non-STEM students and Chardi-Kala to combat racism and bullying. His proudest accomplishments at Highline are the relationships he built while raising awareness about Sikhs on campus.

Shirley B. Gordon Award for Academic Excellence

Patricia Saya

Patricia Saya

Patricia Saya won the Shirley B. Gordon Award for Academic Excellence. With a 3.94 GPA as of winter quarter 2016, Saya earned a $4,000 scholarship for the 2016–2017 academic year. The award is based largely on academic achievement, but also considers the student’s community service activities and community college experience. Dr. Shirley B. Gordon was Highline’s president from 1976 to 1990.

Saya discovered her interest in nursing in her native Philippines, where she helped take care of her grandfather. At the age of 10, she and her family came to the U.S.

She strengthened her dedication to the field of nursing at Swedish Medical Center, where she served as a Health Scholar since 2014. She also worked at the college’s Writing Center, helping fellow students on writing assignments. In all, she’s contributed more than 500 hours of volunteer time.

Saya earned her associate degree in Pre-Nursing while at Highline and will continue her education at the University of Washington to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Advice from Highline’s Graduating Class of 2016

Watch behind-the-scenes footage as this year’s graduates offer advice on succeeding at Highline College. Thank you to the following graduates for participating:

Adama Badini
Emily Barrick
Alexiauna Beleford
Cindy Biren
Jesse Brand
Jorden Calloway
Carolyn Capell
Geoffrey Castro
Patrick Castro
Titus Catalan
Amber Conley
Tahir Darge
Shari Douglass
Aminata Drammeh
Isabel Flores
Abel Gaspar
Ana Guerrero
Dianne Heide
John Ildefonso
Judah Jackson
JD Jenkins
Amanda Lehman
Juan Lemus-Garcia
Rachelle Lyons
Carolyn McKeegan
Hergy Mpaande
Eric Mutschler
Karen Ngigi
Ken Oliva
Brandon Pinto
Araceli Rios
Paulette Simpson
Gurchetan Singh
Jagbir Singh
Camryn Skari
Andrew “AJ” Vallejo
Ana Wanja
Alex Watling

Note: Graduates are listed alphabetically, not by order of appearance.