Primary Media Contact:  Holly Walker, Director of Communications and Public Relations, 804-594-1530

Secondary Media Contact:  Heather Busch, Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy, 804-594-1532

CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Academic excellence, community service, artistic talent, leadership, persistence and more were celebrated during Brightpoint Community College’s annual Student Awards Ceremony. At the ceremony, held April 26, 2023, on the college’s Chester Campus, more than 90 students were honored for their achievements. The following awards were presented during the event (zip codes follow recipient names):

Foundation Art Award
Each year, the Brightpoint Community College Foundation sponsors an art award competition to spotlight the gifted artists within the college’s student body. The winner’s work is featured throughout the year on Foundation notecards and posters, and the winning artist receives a monetary award and a framed print of their work. This year’s winning artist was Catherine Hwang (23112) for her work Two Apples. During the presentation, the art contest finalists were also recognized: Sue Berinato (23060), Josh Cloninger (23139), Vivian Harlan (23120), Emily D. Jalbert (23192), Hannah Jones (23235), and Robert Wynne (23236).

Currents Art & Literary Review Awards
The college’s Currents Art & Literary Review highlights the creativity and writing and artistic talent of Brightpoint students. The publication includes four categories: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and art. Judges review and select first, second and third place winners in each category and may award honorable mentions. The winning entries are published in the Review.

1st Place – Aniya Thomas (23803)
2nd Place – Alex Waitkus (23831)
3rd Place – Miranda Dearbeck (23139)
Honorable Mention – Vivian Plante (23153)
Honorable Mention – Elay'ja Howell (23872)

1st Place – John Bernard (23113)
2nd Place – Adeniyan Fogofoluwa (23832)
3rd Place – Tyler Koval-Heatherly (23236)
Honorable Mention – Hanna Hathaway (23139)
Honorable Mention – Vivian Plante (23153)

Creative Nonfiction
1st Place – Maria Kachmar (23236)
2nd Place – John Bernard (23113)
3rd Place – Molly Bergen (23229)
Honorable Mention – Matthew Squires (23838)
Honorable Mention – David Stinnett (23139)

1st Place – Corrie Blackwell (24226)
2nd Place – Abu B. Rafique (22015)
3rd Place – Emma McClain (23112)
Honorable Mention – W. Connor Wallace (23235)
Honorable Mention – Hannah Weatherford (23112)

Social Sciences Research Expo Awards
The college’s Social Sciences Research Expo, now in its ninth year, is a showcase of exceptional student research from a variety of classes. The Expo is an opportunity for students to be recognized and rewarded for their hard work, outside of the classroom. Three student participants were honored as the most outstanding research projects:  

1st Place – Alvaro Huarhua-Tapia (23112) for “Ethnography of the Skateboarding Subculture”   
1st Runner Up – Spencer Skyberg (23139) for “The Dungeons and Dragons Subculture”
2nd Runner Up – Scott Brown (23860) for “A Normal Investigation Into the Paranormal”

Tau Rho and Beta Omicron Omicron Phi Theta Kappa Academic Awards
The college’s two Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society chapters, Tau Rho and Beta Omicron Omicron, recognized their graduating members with the highest GPAs in their associate degree programs.  

Juan Barreto Jerez (23832)
Joseph Bentley (23192)
Lila Bishwokarma (23112)
Dylan Brown (23236)
Lamar Cotton (23831)
Aubry Dawson (23225)
Jordan Doss (23114)
Erin Elam (23139)
Paige Faberman (23112)
Areeba Khan (23831)
Haley Lewis (23060)
Jessica Lull (23141)
Linh Nguyen (23234)
Kelly Oropeza Huerta (23230)
Dawn Penland (23234)
Kara Pettiford (23838)
Vivian Plante (23153)
Andrea Rock (23832)
Adam Rucci (23120)
Paul Skrbin (23834)
Kelsy Smith (23805)
Tammie Stout (37620)
Brianna Varner (23832)
Janise-Lynn Wallwork (23112)

Theresa Windham Service Award
This award was first presented in 1996 in honor of Theresa Hands Windham, who succumbed to a sudden illness in 1993 at the age of 37 while serving as the college’s coordinator of grants and development. During her short tenure at the institution, Windham’s kindness and selflessness touched the lives of countless students, faculty, and staff. Always smiling, always striving to help others, she was loved by all who had the good fortune to make her acquaintance. This award recognizes students who personify Windham’s dedication to service without regard for personal gain or adulation. This year’s recipient Mary Angelique Salvani (23832), a computer science major, who is described as a leader, who is kind, strong and resilient and who is very active in student life at the college.

Daniel Dalton Award
The Daniel Dalton Award is presented annually to an outstanding club or student organization that exhibits excellence in the areas of service to the college, commitment to community service, and dedication to academics. The award is named in honor of Daniel Dalton, one of the college’s founding faculty members, who during his long career as a professor of English was actively involved in the extracurricular life of the institution, serving as an advisor for numerous student organizations.This year’s award was presented to the THRIVE Club. Leaders of this club work to create community, engage with the student body, and create a sense of belonging. Club members gather weekly and participate in and host a variety of activities. 

Marshall Denison Society
The Marshall Denison Society, named for the college’s second president, was established to recognize individuals who embody the college’s commitment to student success and who have made extraordinary contributions to the student activities program. Amy Shutts, the college’s career and internship coordinator, was this year’s inductee. Shutts was recognized for helping students and alumni connect to employers and build their resumes and interview skills; maintaining a clothing closet, where job seekers can find outfits for their interviews; building relationships with local employers; and for organizing career fairs.

Academic Resource Center Tutor Awards
The Academic Resource Center (ARC) Tutor Award is presented to outstanding student workers for their efforts in supporting the success of their peers. These workers mentor; encourage; provide support and personalized attention; and problem solve. This year’s Academic Resource Center Tutor Awards were presented to:

Fabeeha Haider (23832)
Devin Joseph (23836)
Nathan Wassem (23139)

Student Ambassador Awards 
Brightpoint’s Student Ambassador Program plays an essential role in helping create a friendly and welcoming environment at the college. It also gives current students the opportunity to represent the college and become student leaders. Student ambassadors lead tours; assist during special events; help their fellow students in a variety of ways; participate in outreach activities; and more. The Student Ambassador Rising Star Award is given to a freshman student ambassador who excels in and out of the classroom. The Student Ambassador of the Year Award is given to the ambassador that goes above and beyond and who shows a tireless work ethic while volunteering to help students and while representing the college at events and during community activities. 

Student Ambassador: Rising Star – Madison McCloud (20165)
Ambassador of the Year – Saamiya Mohammed (23233)

Performing Arts Achievement Awards
The college’s Performing Arts Achievement Award is given to students who have shown exceptional qualities not only with their talent but in other areas such as dedication, growth and persistence. This year’s award recipients were: 

Ariana Silva (23832)
Julianna Velasquez (23234)

Trailblazing Student Award
The Trailblazing Student Award recognizes students who have put forth maximum effort inside and outside the classroom, as they balance multiple responsibilities, such as work and family, with their classwork. This year’s recipients were:

Josie Ayers (23238) 
Porfirio Barnes (23805)
Manna Bermudez (23233)
Brett Bluestein (23112)
Shalisa Borden (23237)
Madeline Brilhart (23237)
Rose Bustamante (23112)
Kamil Campbell (23831)
Aljane Caragos (23236)
Ana Castillo-Lopez (23238)
Yahaira Ivette Cuellar (23226)
Dakota Daves (23139)
Bibby Diaz (23229)
Jennifer Dodge (23228)
Brandy Flippo (23231)
Mason Francis (23833)
Thanjira Hill (23803)
April Howell (23836)
Maria Jaime (23875)
Nupur Lalla (23860)
Jenny Maynard (23235)
Nataly Mendez (23224)
Joshua McKinney (23831)
Regina Payne (23831) 
Hoang Pham (23112) 
Tionna Pritchett (23060)
Juana Rodriguez (23234)
Mary Angelique Salvani (23832)
Elizabeth Sears (23112)
Dexter Smith (23234)
Kelsy Smith (23805)
Tiandra Threat (23234)
Megan Timmerman (23113)
Brandon Watson (23234)
Sarah Wilson (23075)

Trailblazer of the Year Award
The Trailblazer of the Year Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a student. The award is presented annually to a student for outstanding academic performance and volunteer service to the college and who the faculty and staff believe will achieve great success. This year’s Trailblazer of the Year is Tiandra Threat (23234). Threat, a business administration student, was praised for her leadership skills; work in and out of the classroom; involvement in student organizations and activities; ongoing efforts to encourage her peers to pursue success; and service to the community.

Photographs taken during the Awards Ceremony may be found on the college’s Flickr account at

Brightpoint Community College, formerly John Tyler Community College, offers more than 80 majors that provide pathways to careers in high-demand fields; transfer opportunities to four-year colleges and universities; and industry credentials and licensures. The college, with campuses in Chester and Midlothian, online classes, and off-campus classrooms, served more than 11,400 students during the 2021-22 academic year. It also assisted approximately 5,700 learners, including more than 2,700 job seekers, through its workforce development division, Community College Workforce Alliance, a partnership between Brightpoint and Reynolds community colleges.