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LCCC Celebrates 2022 Stalcup Student Excellence Award Winner

May 15 – CHEYENNE – Dariia Kasymova did more than just graduate from Laramie County Community College and win an award on Saturday.

While at LCCC, she found her passion.

The 2022 Stalcup Student Excellence Award recipient left Kyrgyzstan for Cheyenne three years ago and participated in the High School and English as a Second Language (ESL) Equivalency Program. She said that without her teachers and peers, she would never have discovered that she wanted to pursue a career in education.

Kasymova will attend the University of Wyoming this fall to begin earning a bachelor’s degree in English, after which she hopes to return to community college to become an instructor for students like her.

“I didn’t speak perfect English and got so much help,” she told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. “And that’s when I realized I wanted to give back to students who were just trying to achieve their goals.”

Her drive to help others is one of the many reasons she was nominated by Mary Martin, Director of LCCC’s Career and Adult Education System, and Thomas Lear, Senior ESL Instructor. The award is designed to recognize a student who has demonstrated dedication and commitment to the college community, as well as a commitment to service.

Both described her as an outstanding student, community member and classmate. They said she constantly went above and beyond to support those around her.

“She’s what you call an outlier in terms of accomplishments,” Martin said. “It’s easy to name her not just because of what she does in class, but also what she does outside of class.”

The recipient holds a 3.8 GPA and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She also joined the Student Alliance for Equality organization, the Rotary Club, and the e-gaming club because she said she likes to socialize as much as possible. She never thought she would make so many friends and be as open with students on campus as she has.

“I can still spend all day here, and I still talk to people and everyone knows me,” she said. “That’s why it feels like home here.”

In addition to being heavily involved on campus, she has three part-time jobs. One of those positions is with Synergy HomeCare, which was her first job when she moved to Cheyenne. She serves as caregiver to community members and helps prepare meals, or takes them to the pharmacy and doctor’s appointments on Saturdays and Sundays. Kasymova said it was an experience that helped her become a kinder, more empathetic person.

Lear said he was impressed that she had such a positive attitude, while overcoming so many obstacles. He saw her handle a lot of responsibilities to earn an associate degree, and even joked that she would now be able to take on her role as a teacher.

“She’s just one of those students who stands out from her peers,” he said. “And it doesn’t matter if she comes from Kyrgyzstan or from the United States. She will be successful in whatever she decides to do with her life.”

Jasmine Hall is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle state government reporter. She can be reached by email at jhall@wyomingnews.com or by phone at 307-633-3167. Follow her on Twitter @jasminerhphotos and on Instagram @jhrose25.

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