Commencement 2014

Graduates of Excellence

Kristen Illum

Kristen Illum

School of Applied Technologies and Professional Development   -  Criminal Justice

“In the summer of 2012, I decided that it was time to make more of a future for myself and my son. The only way I could achieve this was with an education. I was apprehensive because I started going to college a few years ago, but I was not as invested in my education. … When I made the decision to attend Salt Lake Community College, I promised myself that I would take it seriously. I was actually looking forward to college and all the potential doors that having an education would open.”


Trudy Moser

Trudy Moser

School of Applied Technologies and Professional Development   -  Criminal Justice

“At an early age I found that I loved arts, and realized that I had a strong drive to learn as much as possible in school. Living with epilepsy from the age of 8, I made an early choice to never let it hold me back from learning, creating art, and succeeding in life. … I’ve learned how to be a great artist, and wouldn’t have been able to get my art recognized if it weren’t for the many great teachers who helped me learn and stay positive. Keith Beard, Brent Budd, and Robert Adamson were the most influential of my teachers, and they were all there for me in college.”


Julie Turner

Julie Turner

School of Business - Business

“The first day of classes in January, 2013 included an orientation where students from the previous cohort came to talk to us. As they talked, my excitement turned to trepidation. This sounded really tough. They emphasized staying current on homework, as there was a lot of it, and getting to know the other students in the cohort. When they were done, I had the thought, “What if I can’t do this?” and then another, “I can’t, if I don’t try.” I made the commitment to do this and to do it the best I could. This was my journey, my experience, and I would get there.”


Sara Boss

Sara Boss

School of Health Sciences - Nursing

“As a self-motivated mother of six children, that role seems to have transferred into the nursing program as well; I have affectionately been dubbed as ‘the mother’ of the group by fellow classmates as well as by the instructors. I have been instrumental in organizing class parties and showers, as well as instructor gifts at the end of each semester. I personally have been taking and documenting pictures of students and activities over the last two years to highlight our nursing journey. These pictures will be used at our nursing graduation ceremony.”


Sarah Benj

Sarah Benj

School of Humanities & Social Sciences - Social Work

“I may be considered disabled, but I do not think of myself in that way. I am strong, because I went from being completely paralyzed to now being able to walk short distances in physical therapy – however, I still use my power chair to get around. I am determined, because I went back to college in order to make a better life for myself and ultimately for others. I am an inspiration, because I never gave up. I can speak from experience when I say, it is easy to throw in the towel when faced with such a tragic situation, but I persevered through it all, and I am proud of what I have accomplished thus far in my life.”


Mackenzie Simper

Mackenzie Simper

School of Science, Mathematics & Engineering - Math and Biology

“Some might say that my greatest accomplishment has been starting college at such a young age. Now fifteen, I am graduating with two associate degrees. While I do think this is pretty cool, I don’t think my age should define me. I don’t tell professors my age because I don’t want that to be the factor that distinguishes me – I prefer to stand out because of my performance. When someone does find out and asks me why I chose to start early, I respond with a simple answer: I’m motivated.”


Julianne Stoddard Keehan

Keegan Piva

School of Technical Specialties - Aviation Technology/Fixed-Wing Pilot

“My dad bought me a discovery flight my junior year of high school, and that first time being airborne at the controls of a plane, I was hooked. That was one of the best feelings I have ever had. That flight led to one of my biggest accomplishments in life after high school. I traveled to South Africa and received my private pilot license. …  I was now free to go flying anytime. That pilot license led me to Salt Lake Community College and the aviation program here. Going to school here, I have been able to excel in the classroom and in the air.”