Cerro Coso Community College

Ostash and Hamilton Recipients of Excellence Award

Ostash and Hamilton Recipients of Excellence Award

Two Cerro Coso employees received national recognition for their leadership and contributions to higher education.

Vice President of Student Services Heather Ostash and Counselor Karee Hamilton were presented the 2015 John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award at a conference in Chicago, IL, in March that drew community college representatives from across the nation. The award is from the League for Innovation in the Community College, an international consortium of community colleges and their districts, and 160 corporate partners.

Ostash was recognized for her leadership role within the college and district focusing on innovative ways to improve services to students. She served as the key administrative lead in Achieving the Dream (ATD) that resulted in the implementation of the Student Equity Plan mandated by the state. ATD also led the change in college culture to data-driven decision making, and assisted Cerro Coso in developing strategies to close identified gaps in student success and completion. Ostash’s efforts resulted in Cerro Coso becoming a pilot college working with the Education Advisory Board to analyze and modify the onboarding processes streamlining the route students take to matriculate into college through the use of technology. Ostash also championed the smartphone application GradGuru that provides just-in-time messaging to students to keep them on track throughout the semester.

With her heart and focus on supporting student access and achievement, Counselor Karee Hamilton was recognized for her direct involvement and leadership in a number of efforts in utilizing technology to better serve students including: online orientation, educational planning in DegreeWorks, developing program pathways, developing workshops to be offered online, and the highly effective use of Moodle for online instruction. Hamilton also plays a key role in many of the outreach activities facilitated through counseling, including: Career Day, I’m Going to College, and the Student Ambassador Program.

“Heather and Karee deserve this recognition for their quality leadership practices and outstanding contributions to student learning,” said Cerro Coso President Jill Board.