Each year the Wallace State Alumni Association recognizes alumni who have a demonstrated achievement within their field of work or expertise, community based service as a volunteer, and a demonstrated commitment to Wallace State. Individuals are nominated by their peers, faculty, or community members to be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments.
2016 Outstanding Alumni Winner
Gloria Williams was the first Lifetime Member of the Alumni Association and she served as President for five years. She established the first scholarship for women through the Little Black Dress Charity Bash. She is a graduate of Wallace State Community College and owner of Freedom Insurance Agency. In addition to Wallace, her community service includes: Cullman County Commission on Aging, Cullman Caring for Kids, HOPE Horses, Cullman Regional Medical Center Board Member, Cullman County Hospice Board Member, Field of Miracles Board Member, Cullman County Lions Club, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce Board and Committee Member, Cullman County Schools Foundation Board Member, and Veteran’s Park. She received the Emma Marie Eddleman Citizen of the Year Award.
2014 Overall Outstanding Alumni Winner
Martha Burchell came to Cullman in 1979 without a job and with two young sons. She worked at a mill and then became an office manager at a bank. During her years in banking her entrepreneurial spirit surfaced and she began what would become the biggest Welcome Wagon business in the State of Alabama. She then began working for State Farm and after a while decided she wanted to have her own insurance agency. Upon learning that she must have a college degree to do so she began classes at Wallace State and upon completion continued her studies at Athens State University. She sold insurance by day and was a student by night. She completed her degree in 1994, began working on the requirements to own her own agency, and in 1998 the Martha Burchell Nationwide Agency became another goal accomplished. Since that time, she has been awarded the Alabama Nationwide Service Award, the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year Award, and is in the Top 10 Nationwide Agencies in the state. Martha has also served as President and a Board member of the Cullman Area Kiwanis Club. According to her nominator, “Martha continues to make a difference in the lives of the people in and around Cullman. She came from humble beginnings and remains a humble human being that just happens to be a successful woman with an encouraging story to tell. A story that should be required reading for anyone ready to toss in the towel and give up on their dreams.”
2014 Academic Division Outstanding Alumni Winner
Christy holds two degrees from Wallace – one from the first Occupational Therapy Assistant class to graduate in 1996 and a second Associate in Science degree. After working as an OTA for several years, Christy Turner decided to pursue other options and now serves as the Special Events and Programs Director for the Cullman City Parks and Recreation Department. During her tenure, she has organized and overseen numerous events including Rock the South, Cluck-N-Brew Festival, Kamp Cullman, the Couch to 5K running class, the Archery Shooters Pro/Am Tournament, Frosty 5K Run, and the Polar Bear Plunge. Christy also wrote the application that awarded Cullman the National Parks and Recreation Association Gold Medal Award – the first ever in Alabama. Examples of community involvement include the Cullman Republican Women, Cullman Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee, Cullman Women’s League, Century Club, and the WSCC Alumni Association.
2014 Outstanding Allied Health and Nursing Alumni Winners
For the first time there are two nominees who have been chosen as winners in this division.
Javier Morales completed an Associate degree in Human Services at Wallace State and continued his education at Athens State University, receiving a BS degree, at Texas A&M, receiving an Master’s degree in Bilingual Education, and is now a PhD candidate. He is a grant writer at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas. For over twenty years Javier has worked to enhance the live of migrant farm workers and their children in various capacities including grant writer, program director, parent educator, farm worker advocate, and as the first Hispanic radio DJ for education development in Alabama. Among his many accomplishments are the establishment of the Alabama Non-Profit Housing, Inc. in Oneonta; creating Project Aprende for at-risk Hispanic students; and establishing the Mexican Culture Center in Oneonta.
Amy graduated in 1995 with an Associate in Applied Science degree from the Physical Therapist Assistant program. Since that time she has completed her Bachelor’s degree and has served in numerous professional leadership roles with the Alabama State Board of Physical Therapy, the American Physical Therapy Association, the PTA Career Pathways Taskforce, and as the Alabama PTA Representative at Large. She was presented the Alabama Chapter Leadership Award and also supports the WSCC PTA program by serving as an adjunct faculty member, a frequent speaker, a mentor for PTA students, and as an Advisory Committee member. Alina Adams, PTA program director, has these remarks about Amy: “Amy stands out as one of the best and brightest ever to come from this program. If all students had her drive and determination to make a difference, the world would be a better place. I am extremely proud of her accomplishments.”
Workforce and Applied Technologies Division Outstanding Alumni Winner
Sunshine Smith – Wynn
For seven years, Sunshine Smith – Wynn, a master cosmetologist and owner of Wynn Spa on 1st , has opened her door to cancer patients free of charge in honor of her mother. She assists these individuals with hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and make-up after they lose their natural hair to cancer treatments. She also donates hours to less fortunate children by providing back-to-school haircuts and services. Sunshine always responds enthusiastically when asked to provide donations with fundraisers or benefits, to assist with the Miss Wallace State pageant, or to provide apprenticeship opportunities for Wallace State graduates.
Joseph graduated Cum Laude in 2009 from the Auto Manufacturing Technology program and began working at Cullman Automation. Joseph Nabors soon progressed to performing design-level engineering and programming and has travelled extensively, installing equipment and training clients. Joseph recently became employed with Cash Acme and works in the manufacturing engineering area. He also assists the College by collaborating with professors to ensure that instruction is current with industry standards and volunteers evenings to familiarize faculty and students with new equipment and methods.
Academic Division Outstanding Alumni Nominees
Carol Leighanne Hart-Soden
Outstanding Alumni Allied Health and Nursing Division Nominees
Crystal Hyatt Gersh
Workforce and Applied Technologies Outstanding Alumni Nominees
Promising Alumni Nominees
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