More than 350 guests gathered at the Grand Hyatt Seattle Hotel on April 13 for the Edmonds Community College Foundation Gala in celebration of alumni and students and the transformational power of education.
The gala is held annually to raise funds to provide direct support for students through scholarships, emergency funding in times of crisis, and investment in impactful programs and projects. Through the generous support of donors, $355,000 was raised this year.
“We couldn’t ask for a better night of support from our community,” said Brad Thomas, executive director of the Foundation. “Between our guests’ generosity and powerful stories from students and alumni — it was a night dedicated to transforming lives.”
The evening was hosted by Master of Ceremonies Kevin Joyce and featured the 2019 Distinguished Alumni award, alumni spotlights, a keynote student speaker, and a special giving opportunity highlighting students in attire related to their future careers.
The 2019 Distinguished Alumni award was awarded to Kristina Ann Madden, a 2012 graduate of Edmonds CC. She is described by nominator, Edmonds CC Learning Support Center Director Jeremiah Roland as having the “grit and determination that so many of our students possess. It is clear she will not let any roadblock hold her back.”
Despite the challenge of attending school as a working mother of three, Madden excelled at Edmonds CC. She worked as a tutor, was instrumental in opening a lactation room on campus, was awarded a prestigious scholarship twice, and was the 2012 Edmonds CC Commencement Student Speaker. Madden earned an associate’s degree in pre-nursing from Edmonds CC and went on to complete her bachelor’s degree in nursing from University of Washington.
During her time at UW, Madden lead a diversity awareness group, mentored first-generation college students, ran a nursing camp, and spent time in Guatemala learning medical Spanish and volunteering in clinics. She is now a registered nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Multicare Tacoma General Hospital and pursuing her doctorate of nursing practice from Creighton University.
The evening included two alumni spotlights to shine light on the academic and career achievements of Chester Curtis and Kaitlin Ferguson.
Curtis graduated from Edmonds CC in 2013 with an associate’s degree in energy management and a certificate in project management and was the recipient of the 2014 Transforming Lives award from the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges.
He now works as a purchasing manager for Fire Protection at McKinstry. Curtis told the audience about the transformative impact his time at Edmonds CC had on his life and encouraged gala guests to give generously in support of students’ academic goals.
Ferguson graduated in 2019 from Edmonds CC with an associate’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering. She is currently a Washington State University-Everett Student Ambassador, president of the Society of Women Engineers (WSU-Everett chapter), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) chapter secretary, and a Boeing Scholar.
“Edmonds CC is where I learned my work ethic and time management skills and that’s carried over to where I am today,” Ferguson said. “Good grades are important, but it’s also important to show employers that you have the soft skills to do the job, too.”
Ferguson is a recipient of the national Society of Women Engineers 2019 Rising Star award and will be graduating in May from WSU-Everett with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and starting a position with Boeing as a laser and electro optical mechanical design engineer.
The highlight of the gala’s program was the Student Spotlight. Edmonds CC student Mustapha Samateh shared his story of overcoming adversity when he came to the U.S. as a student seeking political asylum from The Gambia.
Samateh is a member of the Associated Students of Edmonds CC (ASEdCC) and serves as Executive Officer for Administrative Liaison, which has provided him with a voice to represent students to faculty, staff, administrators, and legislators.
Samateh also served as a legislative intern to the Washington Community and Technical College Student Association (WACTCSA) representing 370,000 community college students to the state legislature in Olympia and is involved in the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASSAC) where he advocates for access to education.
The event was made possible by generous sponsorships from Title Sponsor: Premera Blue Cross, Spotlight Sponsor: Associated Students of Edmonds Community College, and Impact Maker Sponsors: The Boeing Company, Comprehensive Wealth Management, Fortive, Harbor Square Athletic Club, Kaiser Permanente, and Dean and Carla Nichols.