The annual All-Washington Recognition Ceremony celebrates two outstanding students from each of the state’s 34 community and technical colleges. This year’s event will be held March 21 at South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Rd. S.W., Olympia, at noon in the Student Union Building (#27).
Tacoma Community College is proud to be represented by All-Washington students Brandon Carlson-Clarke and Sharon Jang.
Aspiring neurosurgeon Brandon Carlson-Clarke is just starting on the long road to professional certification, but he has already had an opportunity granted to few pre-medical students. After successfully competing for one of twelve highly coveted spots, he was invited to spend part of the summer of 2018 as a neurological surgery intern at the University of Washington Medical Center – an experience that solidified his determination to enter the medical field.
Carlson-Clarke credits a Tacoma Community College biology class for sparking the interest that would lead to his ambitious career choice.
“My passion for neurology stems initially from a biology class I took at TCC which embodied in-depth analysis and the study of human and organismal nerves and nervous systems,” said Carlson-Clarke.
After graduating in June 2019, Carlson-Clarke plans to transfer immediately to one of the several schools he is considering. He may transfer as a Jack Kent Cooke scholar; Carlson-Clarke was selected as one of Washington State’s eight semifinalists for the prestigious national scholarship. The finalists will be announced in April.
At TCC, Carlson-Clarke is known as an outstanding scholar and as someone who is constantly seeking to expand opportunity, both for himself and for his fellow science students. When the college’s MESA program opened during the 2017-18 school year, he was the first student to apply.
Dr. Maricris R. Eleno Orama, P.E., faculty sponsor of TCC’s MESA program, said that Carlson-Clarke’s reliability has been welcome.
“He is consistently the first to be willing to help with MESA events, including weekly workshops, demonstrations, and volunteering as a speaker at our Summer Research Student Panel and student tour guide for our Open House. Also, his warmth and confidence emboldens other MESA students to push their skills and abilities through their rigorous programs and allows Brandon to stand out as a leader.”
A bilingual Korean-American, Sharon Jang was inspired to study dentistry after a job-shadow experience in the Dominican Republic. At TCC, Jang began an educational journey she hopes will lead to a bachelor of science in community health, and then to a dental science doctorate. Through her work with the college’s award-winning Phi ThetaKappa (PTK) chapter, Jang also began a journey of personal and social transformation.
Jang became involved with PTK’s 2017-18 Honors in Action project, which involved hosting a symposium titled “Detained in Tacoma,” about the Northwest Detention Center. Midway through the complex, high-pressure project, the PTK president and treasurer resigned.
“Ms. Jang, along with a fellow officer became co-presidents of the chapter and had to pick up the pieces to carry and finish the research and action component of the project,” wrote PTK advisor Dr. Tomas Ramos in a letter of recommendation for Jang. “I can assure you I have observed, experienced and benefitted from her ability to be organized, easygoing, and always open minded.”
The symposium went on to win accolades at the international PTK conference in Utah that spring. Jang says she was inspired to take the lead on the project partly because of the contradiction she saw between the welcoming, multicultural Tacoma of her childhood and the Tacoma that is home to the nation’s fourth largest immigrant detention center.
“My drive for wanting to share my work surrounding detainees led me to take the co-lead on the project, said Jang. “The event ended with positive feedback from faculty, students, and the community. Although opportunities for change remain for the future, this particular endeavor was one step closer in fulfilling Tacoma’s title as the ‘Welcoming City.’”
Jang also holds a regional position within PTK, as vice president regional officer of District II. In that role, she provides scholarship information for PTK members and resources for PTK international students. Learn more about the 2019 All-Washington Academic Team Recognition Ceremony at https://spscc.edu/allwa.