Several Northeastern Junior College students have recently been recognized for their academic achievements and commitment to making their campus a better place. NJC Rising Stars, Phi Theta Kappa All Colorado Scholars and NJC Inclusive Excellence Champion were honored at the Colorado Community College System Student Excellence Awards Banquet on Wednesday, April 13 in Denver.
The Rising Star Award is given to community college students who demonstrate a high level of leadership and involvement in student activities, while maintaining a 3.0 grade point average. This year’s winners are Brandon Lee Melnikoff and Noelle Meagher.
Melnikoff is a Colorado native from the town of Collbran on the West Slope. He is a double major at Northeastern, studying agricultural education and agricultural business. His campus involvement includes serving as Associate Student Government President and member of the Collegiate Farm Bureau, Young Farmers and Ranchers, and the NJC Aggies Club.
Melnikoff is interested in politics, history, agriculture (especially cows and horses), working outdoors, especially in the mountains, and basketball. Her future plans include transferring to and graduating from West Texas A&M University with a degree in agricultural education. He would then like to return to Colorado to teach and hopefully have the opportunity to run for a fashionable political office.
“Brandon is a phenomenal student leader on the Northeastern campus. He continually raises the bar for student leadership. Brandon wrote open letters to the editor of our local newspaper discussing issues and praising others for their accomplishments, often writing well beyond his age,” said his award nominee, Celeste Delgado-Pelton.
Melnikoff enjoys watching his favorite TV shows and movies including; The Office, Yellowstone and Lonesome Dove. He also enjoys attending local and state FFA events to show his support for the organization. Melnikoff was a former Colorado State FFA officer. He enjoys road trips, exploring the mountains and polishing his role as a macaroni and cheese connoisseur.
Meagher grew up in Eaton and studied communications at Northeastern. She is a very successful dual-sport athlete, serving on both the volleyball team and the golf team, and is also a resident counselor on campus and works for the athletic department taking all the photos on campus. team, media day photos, game/event photos and manage social media accounts. She is also the Chair of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on Campus and will be responsible for leading and facilitating the Petey Event Year-End Ceremony.
Meagher has her own photography business, which includes shooting photos for a salon she works at, couple shots, sports shots and more. She also coaches a club volleyball team in northern Colorado.
Her goals for the future are to establish herself as a photographer and continue to grow her business. She would like to focus on sports photography, but also continue to photograph fashion, weddings, seniors and other projects.
Meagher likes to spend a lot of time training her pup. She also likes to go on road trips and visit new places.
“Noelle is a person who will go out of her way to make sure others are taken care of. She puts others before herself and is truly one of a kind,” her award nominee said.
Phi Theta Kappa Scholars
The Phi Theta Kappa Fellows this year are Kathleen Marty and Paige Finegan. The All-Colorado Academic Team recognizes a select few PTK students not only for their academic achievements, but also for their commitment to bettering their college and community by giving back.
Marty grew up in Strasbourg and studied agricultural business and soil science. She is interested in many different organizations; she is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and has served on the policy committee of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and the National Farmers Union. She is also a leader in her local 4-H club where she helps members with their projects.
Outside of the classroom, Marty participates in many clubs and councils. She is currently the First Vice President of Associate Student Government at Northeastern and is also the President of the Student Senate. Additionally, she is the Northeast representative on the State Student Advisory Council for CCCS.
On campus, she is a member of NJC’s Aggies Club, the Math and Science Club, and the Collegiate Farm Bureau. Recently, Marty was also elected to the student council of Premier Farm Credit.
After graduating in May, her goals are to attend the University of Kentucky to earn a bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture and community food systems. When she graduates, she would like to move to Washington DC to work as a congressional agricultural liaison.
In her spare time, Kat enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Marty spends most of his time at home on the family farm, playing with kids and his Border Collie Kenai. During the summer, she enjoys rock climbing, hiking and rafting.
Finegan is originally from Orchard, where she grew up on a farm and ranch. At Wiggins High School, she participated in many activities such as volleyball, basketball, track and field, FFA, Honors Society, and student council. Outside of school, she was very involved in 4-H where she showed dairy products, market goats and horses.
Currently, Finegan is on the NJC Ranch Horse team where she serves as Vice President. She is also preparing her diploma in equine sciences. After her journey with Northeastern, Finegan plans to transfer to West Texas A&M University where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Equine Industry and Commerce. His main goal is to become a physiotherapist and equine re-educator.
In her spare time, she enjoys riding her horses, Ike and Riata, and working on the ranch where she grew up tending to herding cattle. Finegan also enjoys working with his local 4-H to be a volunteer instructor for the equestrian program in Brush, Colorado.
Champion of Inclusive Excellence
The Inclusive Excellence Award recognizes students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion on their campus. This year’s recipient of the award is Stevins (Steve) Spurgeon.
Spurgeon comes northeast of Bellevue, Neb. He is a left-handed pitcher for the Northeast baseball team, resident counselor, admissions ambassador, and studies elementary education. His interests include watching sports and eating food.
He is involved in the Associated Student Government Senate and spends a lot of time on the baseball field. His future plans include playing baseball at Jackson State University and continuing his education to receive his bachelor’s degree, and eventually his master’s and potentially his doctorate. Her long-term career goals are to become an elementary school teacher, particularly in third grade. He could also see himself becoming a principal or leader within his respective school district.
Spurgeon also enjoys spending time with friends and family. At home, he participates in a youth group and helps with church children’s programming.
“Steve is one of the best-known students on campus for many reasons. Mainly, unknowingly, Steve built and developed a culture of positivity and acceptance. Her cheerful and positive attitude is contagious. Steve broke down silos among student groups, built peer-to-peer connections, and instilled a sense of happiness and excitement among faculty and staff. Steve has single-handedly improved morale across campus just by being himself,” his award nominator said.