Emily Hatsigeorgiou (center) is honored at a recent WCC Board of Trustees meeting by Dean of
Advanced Technologies & Public Service Careers Brandon Tucker (second from right) and WCC
trustees (from left) Ruth A. Hatcher, Bill Milliken Jr., Diana McKnight-Morton, Richard J. Landau,
J.D., Ph.D., Angela Davis, David DeVarti and Christina Fleming. (Photo by Lon Horwedel)


Emily Hatsigeorgiou has made her mark on the local automotive scene, and is now being recognized nationally for her work.

The Washtenaw Community College Automotive Services Technology student was recently featured by a pair of Detroit media outlets who were interested in how programs in the college’s Advanced Transportation Center shaped her career path, and how the 26-year-old landed a full-time job at a Big Three auto manufacturer following her summer internship.

Now, she has received the Cooperative Education & Internship Association (CEIA) Two-Year Student Achievement Award. The honor goes to “an outstanding student enrolled in a two-year degree program” within the nation.

“It makes me feel good,” Hatsigeorgiou said of receiving the award. “To know that I’ve been recognized for my hard work and for doing something not a lot of women do is exciting, and it feels good to be recognized.”

Hatsigeorgiou’s three-month internship at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, working as a hydraulic sled technician in the Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness department, caught the attention of the CEIA’s search committee.

That internship experience led to a job offer from GM, which she accepted. Hatsigeorgiou will start the technician position after graduating in May.

The “intern of the year” label afforded her the opportunity to celebrate the distinction at CEIA’s annual conference in South Carolina this month. She delivered a short speech, and received a plaque and cash prize.

Hatsigeorgiou received additional accolades from WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca and Dean of Advanced Technologies & Public Service Careers Brandon Tucker at the March 27 Board of Trustees meeting.

In introducting Hatsigeorgiou to the board, Tucker called her “a superstar student.”

Barbara Hauswirth, Washtenaw Community College’s experiential learning coordinator, nominated Hatsigeorgiou for the award.

“Emily seemed like a natural choice for the award,” Hauswirth said. “Not only does she represent women well in a predominantly male field, but she also has the attitude and drive to stand out from the crowd. She is eternally upbeat and optimistic, and willing to push herself to succeed despite the obstacles.”

Hauswirth added that Hatsigeorgiou “not only represented herself well on the internship, she has returned to campus and has become a champion to other students about the importance of an internship experience.”

Hatsigeorgiou is one of the many success stories that have evolved while attending WCC.

After a divorce, the mother of two restarted her life and ended a near decade-long career in the retail industry.

The Howell resident took note of her father’s positive attitude toward his lifelong career in the automotive industry and decided to follow suit to build a stable and rewarding career.

The knowledge and experience of Washtenaw Community College’s instructors was a large selling point for Hatsigeorgiou to attend the college, plus its excellent reputation her father relayed to her.

Hatsigeorgiou’s stay at WCC is coming to a close — for now. She graduates in May, but will return in the fall for the pre-engineering transfer program while simultaneously working her full-time job.

“Attending Washtenaw Community College was close to being the best decision I ever made in my life,” she said. “It opened countless doors and opportunities and it started me on the path I’ve wanted to take for a long time.


WCC student wins $120,000 transfer scholarship

Washtenaw Community College student Maria “Paula” Salazar is one of 47 students nationwide — and the only from Michigan — to earn the highly-selective Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

The scholarship awards up to $40,000 annually for three years to the nation’s top community college students seeking to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Upon completion of the liberal arts transfer program at WCC, she will be the first female in her family to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Her Dexter-based host family and church pastor joined select college staff on April 10 to celebrate the award that left the 21-year-old in awe. Salazar’s family lives in Central America.

“I think (the scholarship) means something way beyond what I can understand,” Salazar said.

“It is the beginning of an academic journey to prepare me and empower me to change a lot of things in Central America.”

Salazar has been accepted to the University of Michigan but is awaiting word from several Ivy League schools, including Princeton and Yale.

Wherever Salazar ends up in the fall, she will study international affairs to prepare her to combat poverty and crime in Central America, she said.


Instructor wins national award

Tom Penird, instructor and chair of WCC’s Industrial Technology Department, was among the inaugural recipients of the Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty designation from the American Association of Community Colleges.

The award honors select faculty across the country that demonstrate a passion for students, support them inside and outside the classroom, and go above and beyond to ensure their success.

Hired as a part-time instructor in 1992, Penird became full-time faculty in 2000. He oversees the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Advisory Committee and led the Industrial Technology department to renowned certification as a HAAS Education Center.


Dental Assisting graduate honored

WCC graduate Carmen Jongsma was selected as one of eight national scholarship recipients by the Dental Assistants Association and the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc.

The scholarship is awarded annually to dental assistants with a strong commitment to career growth and lifelong learning.

Jongsma completed WCC’s Pathway II Dental Assistant certificate program, an advanced standing option for dental assistants with two or more years of experience who want to become a state-licensed Registered Dental Assistant.

“I greatly appreciate the dental assisting instructors at WCC. They were exceptional in their teaching and it was a pleasure to learn from them,” said Jongsma