The Augusta-based Maine Community College System Board of Trustees has recognized the achievements of seven students selected as the 2022 students of the year. The following students were selected for their academic success and campus and community involvement, according to a news release from Maine’s comprehensive two-year college system.

Ryan Ashby, Northern Maine Community College

Ashby, of Mapleton, is enrolled in NMCC’s business administration program. When a serious motor vehicle accident nearly sidelined his education, he said the faculty and staff at NMCC worked with him to make sure he could finish his course work as he recovered, earning his degree online.

Ashby is a volunteer at his local church and uses his wellness journey to motivate others. His commitment has paid off, and he plans to graduate this spring.

He plans to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree, with the goal of eventually earning his Master of Business Administration degree, and work in the area of employee development or operations and management.

Suzanne Hanvey, Southern Maine Community College


Hanvey, of Saco, is enrolled in SMCC’s liberal studies program with a concentration in science. She is president of both the Community Service Club and the Hiking and Foraging Club, and serves on the Student Senate and SMCC’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society while maintaining a near-perfect GPA.

Hanvey is also a certified behavioral health professional and spends 20-40 hours a week working with children who have behavioral health challenges. She plans to graduate from SMCC next spring and continue her education with the goal of embarking on a career preserving natural habitats for animals that live in threatened areas.

Graca Muzela Submitted photo

Graca Muzela, Washington County Community College

Muzela, of Auburn, is enrolled in WCCC’s residential and commercial electricity program. Muzela, originally from Angola, is an active volunteer, providing public agencies with guidance on culturally and linguistically appropriate messaging around COVID-19 for immigrants, refugees and BIPOC communities, and delivering food and providing transportation to school-aged children.

At WCCC, he works as a resident assistant. He plans to obtain his journeyman electrician license and eventually transfer to the University of Maine to pursue a degree in electrical engineering.

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Julia Noel, Central Maine Community College


Noel, of Sabattus, is enrolled in CMCC’s early childhood education program. She is a member of the college’s women’s soccer team and volunteers with Andro United, an indoor youth soccer program in Lewiston.

When not playing soccer, Noel is a resident assistant and committed to improving the residential experience for students at CMCC. She is an academic mentor to younger players on the soccer team and helps organize team involvement in the community.

She plans to graduate in May and have a career in education with pre-k children.

Rebecca Peters, Eastern Maine Community College

Peters, of Lincoln, is enrolled in EMCC’s criminal justice program. She completed the Maine Criminal Justice Academy Phase I and II programs, while taking courses at EMCC. She became certified to be a police officer in Maine two months before graduating from EMCC, and was sworn in as a full-time police officer with the Lincoln Police Department in February.

She is completing field officer training and will eventually complete basic law enforcement training at MCJA.


Tyler Sar, York County Community College

Sar, of Sanford, is enrolled in YCCC’s criminal justice program. A first-generation college student, he was named top of his class in the Maine Criminal Justice Corrections Academy.

With his degree in criminal justice in YCCC, and successful completion of academy training, Sar has been hired as a corrections officer at the York County Sheriff’s Department. He said he wants to make a different in peoples’ lives and hopes to work with offenders to reduce recidivism and the negative impact that incarceration can have on a person’s life.

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Kristin Wallaker, Kennebec Valley Community College

Wallaker, of New Portland, is enrolled in KVCC’s electrical technology program. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and last year was on the All-Maine Academic Team and honored as Maine’s New Century Scholar.

Wallaker said she’s learning the skills to pursue many possibilities in a high-demand, good-paying field, from opening her own business or joining a company. She is employed by RLC Engineering as a protection and control designer and plans to return to KVCC part time to pursue her business degree.

The students were selected by faculty and staff at their college for their academic success and their campus and community involvement. In addition to being named student of the year, each student received a $1,000 John and Jana Lapoint Leadership Award.

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