Four WCC students receive Breaking Traditions Award from Michigan Department of Education

May 20, 2021 Rich Rezler

Four Washtenaw Community College students are among the 75 high school and college students statewide to receive a 2021 Breaking Traditions Award from the Michigan Department of Education.

Timothy Guttman, Justin Hunt, Sam Keim and Scott Stewart are among the “recognition level” award winners for “overcoming obstacles and stereotypes to succeed in career and technical education (CTE) programs considered non-traditional for their gender.”

Each of the four WCC winners was nominated by a representatives of their department.



Program: Nursing

Nominated by: Karolyn Lehn, Health Sciences Student Advisor

Reason for nomination: “When I first met Tim back in 2017, he had a transcript that seemed to be filled with a bunch of wrong turns. … Since our Nursing program has very competitive admissions based on grades, we discussed how he would need to go about taking classes so he could be competitive. Since that conversation, Tim has earned straight As, has gotten in the Nursing program and continues to excel. … He is always willing to help others and is very personal with his communications. I can definitely see these assets serving him well once he is working as a nurse.”



Program: Nursing

Nominated by: Karolyn Lehn, Health Sciences Student Advisor

Reason for nomination: “(Justin) previously had a career in IT, but did not find fulfillment. … He has done an amazing job being able to work at his previous job while taking courses that would allow him to change career directions entirely. … While trying to juggle all of this could certainly make someone stressed and grouchy, Justin is always kind and courteous and one would never know how much he has on his plate.”



Program: Computer Science

Nominated by: Jing Bai, Computer Science faculty

Reason for nomination: “Sam’s enthusiasm and passion about programming is remarkable. They have a very warm heart and never hesitates to offer help and support to fellow students. As an underrepresented minority in the tech field myself, I admire the courage and openness Sam has. I believe students like Sam should be recognized. They are a great example of not letting gender or other people’s opinion influence who you are. Do what you love and excel in what you do.”



Program: Child Development

Nominated by: Beth Marshall, Early Childhood Education program coordinator and faculty

 Reason for nomination: “There is a shortage of males working in the childcare programs across the country and Scott embodies the spirit of the Breaking Traditions Award. … Scott consistently excels in all areas of coursework. … He is patient, caring and playful as he teaches our youngest learners. It is invaluable for children to have outstanding male role models. Children, families and our college is fortunate to have such a role model.”


According to a Department of Education release, the honored students are “breaking traditions” by pursuing careers in which fewer than 25 percent of persons working in that field are their gender. The full list of winners is available online.

“These 75 students overcame perceived barriers to achieve success in career and technical education programs that are nontraditional to their gender, which makes them role models for their peers who may be considering similar career paths,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice.

Dr. Brian Pyles, director of CTE at the Michigan Department of Education, applauded the schools that the winning students attend.

“The Breaking Traditions Awards extend beyond individual students. These awards also represent the quality of the school culture,” he said. “Clearly, these schools embrace an inclusive student focused instructional environment supported by staff, students and community.”

Tags: Awards, CTE, Computer Science, Early Childhood Education, Men in Nursing, Nursing, ousearch_News_2021

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