Outstanding Graduate Award - Spring 2015
Outstanding Graduate Award Finalists
Andres Gomez Aunca, a Bradenton resident and native of Colombia, came to SCF on his journey to becoming a doctor. He is a multi-skilled technician at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and has shadowed a hospital doctor and dermatologist. He served as president and an ambassador for the SCF Biotechnology Alliance for Suncoast Biology Educators Club, and is a member of the Nu Zeta chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.In Colombia,Mr. Gomez Aunca was an academic tutor and a mathematics award recipient. He also won first place for running track. After graduating with an Associate in Arts degree, he plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from the University of South Florida and later attend medical school with the goal of working in trauma care or general surgery.
Leon Hostetler, a Sarasota resident, grew up in an Amish family and came to SCF to pursue his dream of studying physics. He was the science expert on the Fire Team, SCF’s first Brain Bowl Team to win state and national championships and defeat prestigious universities. Mr. Hostetler is president of the Zeta Xi Math Club, and his team ranked fourth at the FTYCMA/UNF Mathematics Olympics. He has co-presented workshops and papers at regional and national mathematics conferences and won a Best Presentation award. He is a member of the American Physical Society and the Nu Zeta Chapter of PTK Honor Society, and was a recipient of the Amish Descendant Scholarship Fund. After graduating with an Associate in Arts degree, Mr. Hostetler plans to earn a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Florida State University and later a Ph.D. with the goal of becoming a researcher.
Andrea Huertas-Meza, a Myakka City resident and a native of Peru, came to SCF as a dual-enrolled student and has developed leadership skills as an SCF student ambassador. She tutored international students in reading and writing, and was a student ambassador at Manatee School for the Arts, where she volunteered at theatre productions and school tours. She performed at Realize Bradenton’s ArtSlam and participated in a canned food drive at Bradenton Seventh-day Adventist Church. After earning an Associate in Arts degree, Ms. Huertas-Meza plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration or accounting at the University of South Florida and later earn a master’s degree. Her goal is to work for an accounting firm and then start her own business.
Angel Kelly, a Bradenton resident, is a single mother who has persevered to earn her Associate in Arts and Bachelor of Applied Science in Homeland Security degrees from SCF. Her greatest accomplishment was serving as president and co-founder of the SCF Red Cross Club, where she developed leadership skills and gained valuable, practical experience in her field. She worked full-time as a staff assistant III at the SCF Bradenton Library and created a disaster response plan that emphasizes the recovery process of library materials, which will be incorporated into SCF’s overall emergency response plan. Ms. Kelly has earned several FEMA certifications, received the Palm-Aire Women’s Club Scholarship and Wayne Gulbrandsen Academic Scholarshipfor Single Parents through the SCF Foundation, and is a member of the Nu Zeta chapter of the PTK Honor Society. After graduation, Ms. Kelly will pursue a master’s degree and serve as a disaster relief volunteer in the community with the goal of working in the field of hazard mitigation.
Megan Orlando, a Bradenton resident, entered SCF in remedial courses, but with the help of dedicated professors, she discovered a passion for science. Ms. Orlando was awarded a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at Mote Marine Laboratory in the Marine Immunology Program. She served as an ambassador for the SCF Biotechnology Alliance for Suncoast Biology Educators Club and as a student assistant in SCF’s Natural Science Department. Ms. Orlando volunteers at BioFlorida and Roskamp Institute in the Vision Research Program studying mild traumatic brain injury. She is a member of the Nu Zeta chapter of the PTK Honor Society and was named to the All-Florida Academic team.After graduating with Associate in Arts and Associate in Science in Biotechnology degrees, she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology, later earn a Ph.D. in biotechnology or neuroscience, and help discover a cure for brain injuries or debilitating diseases of the mind.
Carol Rauen, a Palmetto resident, is a single mother who has overcome challenges with the help of supportive professors. She earned her Associate in Science in Nursing degree from Manatee Community College and worked as a registered nurse in intensive care for 13 years. As a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program student, she completed a prestigious summer internship with the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center and has been invited to present at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s New Knowledge and Innovation Conference.Ms. Rauen is treasurer for the Suncoast Nursing Honor Society and chair of the society’s Research and Evidence-based Practice committee. She volunteers for the Manatee Medical Reserve Corps and serves as a basic life support instructor for the American Heart Association. She is a member of the American Nurses Association and was the recipient of the Elton Louise Bunderman Nursing Scholarship through the SCF Foundation.After graduation, Ms. Rauen plans to continue serving the community and earn a master’s degree with the goal of pursuing a career that fosters her interests in research and quality improvement.
Matthew Ruch, a North Port resident, came to SCF as a dual-enrolled student and developed leadership skills as president of the Alpha Mu Upsilon chapter of PTK Honor Society at SCF Venice, organizing a Toys for Tots drive. He was the head delegate on the Model United Nations team, the first SCF team to win the Outstanding Delegation Award at the Southern Regional Model UN Conference and earned the highest team average on position papers in the conference’s 25-year history. Mr. Ruch is also a two-time winner of the Best Position Paper.One of his proudest accomplishments at SCF was serving as president of the SCF Venice Student Government Association and leading a food drive that raised more than $600 for All Faiths Food Bank. He also was a student assistant at the SCF Library. After graduating with an Associate in Arts degree, he plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in communications at Florida Gulf Coast University and later earn a master’s degree in education. His goal is to dedicate his professional career to serving students as a college administrator.
Nelly Wilson, a Bradenton resident, is co-owner of Critter Sitters and a website and production design consultant for an e-commerce start-up business, Elimindi.com. She served as president of the Nu Zeta chapter of the PTK Honor Society and treasurer of the History Club. As president of her SCF Collegiate School senior class, she created the Student Leadership Team, chaired the school’s first prom, organized fundraisers and served as a student representative on the School Advisory Council. Ms. Wilson also participated in the Hanban Chinese Bridge Summer Camp, earning the Outstanding Student Award. She was captain of the Lakewood Ranch High School Women’s Golf Team and won Coach’s Award. She won numerous JuniorReserves Officer Training Corps awards, received the St. Andrew Scottish Society Scholarship and raised funds for the Folds of Honor, which provides scholarships to children of military service people killed in active duty. After graduating with her high school diploma from SCFCS and an Associate in Arts degree from SCF on the same day, she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in finance and later a master’s degree with the goal of creating solutions to global problems.