GCC alum Hunter Kirschner was honored this past spring in Keene with the Business Journal of Greater Keene Brattleboro & Peterborough Trendsetters Award. He was one of eleven up and coming young professionals who were honored at the event, also attended by GCC Dean of Students Anna Berry and Wellness Center Counselor, Kathleen Keough.
Hunter, a transgender adult, is currently a program support assistant for LGBTQ students at Keene State College where he is also pursuing his bachelor’s degree in women’s and gender studies.
While at GCC, Hunter was a very active member of the college community—he held a work study position in the Advising and Wellness Centers, worked as a Peer Tutor and as an Orientation Leader. He also co-facilitated the Elm Street Think Tank, a group of community members and residents of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office who meet weekly at the House of Corrections to work on collaborative projects for people who are incarcerated. He came to Think Tank through a sociology class offered at the jail through GCC, Crime and Punishment: A Sociological Overview that was taught using the Inside-Out model, which brings college students and incarcerated people together to learn from inside a jail or prison.
Hunter was also selected to receive GCC’s Nelson Mandela Book Award because of his endless energy for supporting GCC students of all backgrounds. He pushed the campus to begin the process of implementing a chosen name policy, something which is now coming to fruition—not just at GCC, but at community colleges statewide. In thinking about Nelson Mandela, the review committee also saw connections to his work off-campus with and on behalf of prisoners at the Franklin County House of Corrections.
Hunter believes that real change will occur as it relates to a more inclusive society only when we change individual relationships. “We can’t understand each other if we can’t even talk to each other,” he says.
Jocelyn Dennett earns Top Military Excellence Award
Seaman Recruit Jocelyn Dennett, Division 091, graduated as the top Sailor from Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois and earned the Military Excellence Award in March of this year.
Jocelyn, of Greenfield, joined the Navy to pursue a career in Navy security forces and selected the rating of Master at Arms. Prior to enlisting in January, she attended UMASS Amherst, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in building and construction technology. She transferred to the University after obtaining two associate degrees at Greenfield Community College—in Liberal Arts in 2012 and in Engineering in 2015, leaving with a 3.82 GPA. She also worked as a construction inspector for the town of Greenfield until leaving for boot camp.
Referring to her time at GCC, Jocelyn said, “My greatest influences at GCC were Ted Johnson and Amy Ehmann in the Engineering Department, and Bill Nordstrom in Chemistry. They were amazing teachers and motivators. I still plan to have a career in the STEM field when I have finished my time in the service.”
Linda Desjardins, GCC’s Director of Financial Aid, met Jocelyn when they were classmates at GCC (learning is a lifelong adventure, Linda will assure you.) “I was in two French classes with Jocelyn,” she said, “and she was not only impressive academically but she was kind and generous toward her fellow classmates. Her quiet intelligence elevated the classroom experience and she often took the time to help guide fellow students through the more difficult topics.” She added that Jocelyn exemplifies and embodies everything for which GCC’s Principles of Education stand.
The Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award (MEA) is the top award presented to the No. 1 recruit of his or her graduating training group. The MEA is awarded to the recruit who best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing, and teamwork. The award placed her at the pinnacle of today’s newest Sailors, and she was awarded a flag letter of commendation.
“I was extremely grateful to receive this; it was very unexpected,” said Dennett. “I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me in everything I do. Additionally, I would like to thank my coaches, mentors, scouts, and instructors for pushing me physically and mentally to prepare me for my pipeline training.”
After graduation, Dennett attended a 7-week school in San Antonio, Texas and is currently stationed in San Diego, California.
Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control, along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. About 30,000-40,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.