A MESSAGE FROM PCC PRESIDENT, DR. ERJAVEC
A MESSAGE FROM PCC STUDENT SUCCESS COACH, DAVID SIGUENZA
Inclusive Excellence Champion
Lisa “Luna” Ward
Lisa, or Luna as she prefers, is pursuing an AA in English from Pueblo Community College and is a first-generation college student with plans to become an educator. Since starting at PCC, Luna joined Spectrum Pride Club and later helped found and act as president for a literature and writing club that aims to foster a love of reading and writing on campus.
Luna also works as a math tutor with the Precollege Program for adult GED students, which was the program that helped realize her own dreams of attending college – a transformational life experience. Being able to give back to this program by supporting and tutoring other students in earning their GED and continuing on a path to college academics has only strengthened Luna’s resolve to become an educator.
Her goals for the future include transferring to CSU Pueblo to get a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree, and publish a trio of fictional novels. But mostly she hopes to inspire others to not give up on their dreams, no matter how difficult the path.
Outside of academia, Luna enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and planning her retirement as a cat lady.
Rising Star Awards
LeRoy Brown is a unique individual with a passion for reading and writing. No one can pry a book or pen from his clutches.
LeRoy graduated from Pueblo South High School in 2019 with gold cord and an advanced academic diploma. Despite being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, he expects to graduate magna cum laude from Pueblo Community College in spring 2021 with an AA degree in English (Literature emphasis). He hopes to continue his education, most likely in his home state of Colorado, and obtain a PhD in Literature and Philosophy. He is a member of the Honor Society and an officer of Honors in Action in PCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter.
Among LeRoy’s academic achievements are academic letters, a sports letter in the Knowledge Bowl, membership in the National Honor Society, and selection for the Colorado Scholar Program that was created by Colorado College. The program recognizes high school students who have demonstrated academic achievement and significant engagement in their school and local community.
LeRoy is a cofounder of the PCC Literature Club. He loves to indulge in a perfect cup of coffee, pumpkin spice latte, or espresso while reading an interesting book. He enjoys Magic the Gathering trading card game, Apex Legends, anime, bicycling, the pursuit of knowledge, and playing his ukulele.
He loves to write from the bottom of his heart and writes on topics ranging from fantasy to philosophy; there are no boundaries to his writing style and voice. He is thankful for the educational foundation he received from Baca Elementary school, Roncalli Middle School, South, and PCC.
LeRoy is looking forward to furthering his education. He considers it an honor to share with others the knowledge he receives so that they, too, can grow.
Nathan Fowler was born and raised in South Carolina. He has always enjoyed learning about the world around him. As a child, he would take apart old electronics with his dad so he could understand how they worked. He also had an interest in science and frequented zoos, aquariums and museums to study plants, animals and insects. Nathan is the youngest of four siblings, all of whom work in education, science and leadership.
While in high school, Nathan discovered the Hubble Space Telescope images. These life-changing images sparked a new fascination and respect for the world. Science became the career he wanted to invest in. He enrolled at Midlands Technical College in South Carolina to pursue an associate of science degree and learned about philosophy, biology, chemistry and patient care.
Shortly after beginning college, Nathan moved to Colorado to be around people who shared his interest in skateboarding, snowboarding, hiking and rock climbing. He managed a sporting goods store but knew he was destined for more. He dreamed of helping his community by working in health care.
Nathan enrolled in classes at PCC in 2018, first obtaining his Emergency Medication Technician certificate. He became a work-study at the GoZone Enrollment Center and got a job at Parkview Medical Center as an emergency room technician.
Nathan is now pursuing his bachelor’s degree in nursing while still working the two jobs he started in 2018. He plans to become a practitioner or physician’s assistant and strives to work hard every day and focus on what he plans to achieve next. He believes the staff at PCC’s Fremont campus have been critical to his success: “Their guidance and belief in education and our community are what push people to be successful. I want to be that guidance for others someday.”
Phi Theta Kappa All-Colorado Academic Team
Academic Transfer Students
Patty Almestica-Huelst is a German immigrant who came to the USA 20 years ago as a military wife. Since then, she has become an American citizen and worked several jobs while raising her children.
In January 2018, Patty decided to become a student at Pueblo Community College and pursue a new career in healthcare. Since then she has graduated with a medical coding certificate and associate degree in Health Information Technology (HIT). Her interest in the healthcare field awoke when she started working with a licensed professional counselor and took this position as the first step to her independence. She returned to college during the process of divorce to make a better living for herself and children.
Patty’s daughter, Junie (18), and son, AJ (17), are both seniors in high school and are following their mother’s lead by taking Early College classes. Junie is enrolled at Colorado State University studying Psychology and AJ is enrolled at Pueblo Community College studying Criminal Justice.
While completing her studies and working at several jobs, Patty maintained a 3.9 GPA and became a member and officer with the PTK International Honor Society, member of multiple HIT professional associations, and volunteer at the high school and her local church.
In January 2021, Patty transferred to Franklin University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management. At the same time, she started her new job in the medical records department of a Centura Health hospital. Patty has found her passion in her new professional field and is able to use skills from her previous career in hospitality as well as her trilingual ability in Spanish, German and English.
Kristy Rhodes is a Colorado native. She has overcome and healed from numerous traumas and would like to help others overcome their own personal traumas. Kristy has three wonderful teenagers of whom she is extremely proud and has learned valuable perspectives from them. Kristy aims to encourage them to dream, work towards their goals, and to love themselves as a priority, showing and teaching different tools that will help them lead healthy and happy lives.
Her career goal is to work with at-risk youth, facilitating an environment where they can learn self-healing and self-regulation skills and techniques. Her educational goal is to attain her doctorate in psychology; she plans on researching the relationship between resilience and trauma – gaining insight into how resilience is created and formed, while possibly creating new techniques that will be used in the future when treating survivors of trauma.
Kristy will graduate from PCC in May 2021 with her Associate of Arts degree in Psychology. She plans to transfer to UCCS or CSU Pueblo to further her studies in Psychology. She volunteers at the YWCA and the PCC student pantry. Kristy is the VP of Fellowship for the Alpha Rho Theta Chapter of PTK and enjoys leading her fellow officers in breath work for relaxation, offering stress-relieving tips, and playing team-building games. Kristy is optimistic for her future and looks forward to her work!
Workforce Pathway Students
After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Frank Martellaro followed a different path. He settled on entrepreneurship and has been running his own construction company for more than 20 years.
Frank decided to expand on his prior education and will be graduating from PCC with honors in May 2021 with a degree in Respiratory Care. He intends to seek employment in the health care field, gaining experience while focusing on pediatric respiratory care.
As a non-traditional student, Frank feels that he has had to work harder to maintain his 3.8 GPA. He works full time running his company and also is raising two children with his wife.
Reanna Smith was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado. She graduated from high school in 2009. In 2014, she became a first-generation college graduate when she received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Colorado State University. She considered nursing as a career at that point because she loves helping people and taking care of them, but life had a different plan for her at the time.
Reanna has had two sons who are her life. Children change their parents’ lives drastically, but when her older son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 3, it was another huge change for the whole family. This is a chronic illness that he will live with for the rest of his life. They have had to learn many new things due to managing this disease. This is what inspired Reanna to go back to school at PCC for her nursing degree. She would like to help others through the experience that she had with her son and help support and encourage families dealing with this challenging disease.
The balancing act between life and school is definitely more of a challenge than when Reanna was 18, but with hard work and dedication she is succeeding. She volunteers with her sons when she is able, helping out with food distributions around town. Once Reanna receives her nursing degree, she hopes to work with the Barbara Davis Center for childhood diabetes to help support, encourage, and educate children and their families.
State Student Advisory Council Representative
Mark Sandoval is the Associated Student Government (ASG) Vice-President at Pueblo Community College and one of two SSAC reps in Pueblo. He is currently pursing a B.A.S in Advanced Paramedic Practice. Mark began his career as a paramedic over 13 years ago in Chicago. He enjoys helping, as well as being a resource for others. He encourages self-care and believes in its value. In his free time, Mark enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling.