As part of its ongoing effort to recognize and acknowledge the hard work of its employees, Northern Marianas College recently named the recipients of its 2021 Annual PROA Employee Awards. The awards were presented at NMC’s Labor Day picnic held last Sept. 4, 2021, at Micro Beach.
The awards recognize employees’ outstanding performance, contribution to NMC, and their commitment to student learning.
The Faculty, Non-Instructional Faculty, Staff, Supervisor, and Counselor of the Year each received a certificate of recognition along with $100 in cash. The Employee of the Year received a plaque and $300. Selection of the awards were made by a committee composed of staff and faculty.
Employee of the Year and Non-Instructional Faculty of the Year
William Hunter, the Distance Learning coordinator at NMC, was recognized as the overall Employee of the Year and as the Non-Instructional Faculty of the Year.
“I am extremely humbled and consider myself very blessed to have been acknowledged by my NMC family members,” Hunter said. “My work is a reflection of the hard work and teamwork exemplified by every NMC employee. I see the dedication and hard work by everyone on our NMC team every day and it motivates me to keep working hard.”
Since 2017, Hunter has made significant changes and improvements to NMC’s Learning Management System or LMS. Previously, the system housed under 50 courses, which included primarily online and hybrid courses.
For NMC’s fall 2021 semester, the system is now home to over 260 courses, including web-enhanced, virtual, virtual-hybrid, hybrid, and online courses. With NMC students using NMC’s LMS prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the majority of faculty trained to use the LMS, the pivot to online learning was smooth and encountered very few speed bumps.
Hunter said that he is very proud of the NMC students and staff for their flexibility and being able to adapt to disasters like Super Typhoon Yutu and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He is also grateful for his wife, Bobbie, his kids—Brianna, Brandee, and Brissa—and his mom.
“I am very grateful for our leadership at NMC, from our former interim president Frankie Eliptico, to our current president Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero, dean Charlotte Cepeda, dean Randy Yates, and our dedicated board of regents at NMC. These folks have really done amazing work to keep our Proa sailing forward,” Hunter said. “NMC is truly blessed to have dedicated and hardworking employees who go above and beyond to make things happen.”
Counselor of the Year
Also awarded was NMC Early Intervention counselor Kaelani Demapan as the college’s Counselor of the Year. This is the second time Demapan has received the award.
“I am truly honored to be recognized as Counselor of the Year once again,” Demapan said. “I’d like to thank my NMC family for this recognition but more importantly, my fellow counselors for their commitment to guiding our students and supporting each other during our most challenging time yet. Let this be a reminder to stay the course and keep going.”
Demapan has been with NMC for about five years and is also a counselor for early admitted students and the advisor for the school’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
Staff Member of the Year
In addition to Demapan, Geraldine “Geri” Rodgers, an assessment specialist for NMC’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, was recognized as NMC’s Staff Member of the Year.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to be recognized for this award,” Rodgers said. “I want to express gratitude to my fellow Proas whom I’ve had the privilege of working with. Special thanks to my team at the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Leadership Team for the many opportunities to serve. I work with wonderful people who use their talent and skills for the benefit of the college and the community. Dankulu na si yu’us ma’ase!”
Supervisor of the Year
Recognized as NMC’s Supervisor of the Year was Barnaby Lizama, the interim facilities director for the college.
“An award is a virtue and is given by an organization. My organization consists of the best team players and I am glad to be with NMC,” Lizama said. “I thank the college for recognizing me.”
Lizama has been with NMC for more than 10 years now.
“I give so much respect and thanks to my kids, my parents, siblings, coworkers, friends and acquaintances,” Lizama added.
Faculty of the Year
Barbara “Bobbie” Hunter, an assistant professor for NMC’s School of Business, was recognized as NMC’s Faculty of the Year.
“I feel so blessed and honored to have been chosen as Faculty of the Year at NMC—but I don’t think I could have done it without the help and support of my family, the team at the School of Business, and everyone at NMC who has made it possible for students to enroll and take courses,” Hunter said. “I know how challenging this past year was, but at the same time, I know we all share the joy of helping students grow to become contributing members of society, which makes it all worth it.”
Hunter joined the School of Business in 2012 and has assisted with the development of the Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree. Prior to joining the school of Business, she was with the Human Resources office and has been serving the college since 1997.
For Hunter, her greatest joy is helping students succeed in enrolling and taking courses at NMC because she believes that even if a person took one or two classes, that person is on their way in helping this community be a better place to live in. (NMC)