Wallace State announces Presidential Award of Excellence winners  

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Wallace State Community College announced the winners of the Class of 2020 Presidential Awards of Excellence. From left are Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Beth Bownes-Johnson, Dean of Students Dr. Ryan Smith, President Dr. Vicki Karolewics, Presidential Award of Academic Excellence winner Emily Dyer of Vinemont, Presidential Award of Technical Excellence winner Haley Self-Tumlin of Warrior, Dean of Health Science Lisa German, and Dean of Applied Technologies Wes Rakestraw. Not pictured is Presidential Award of Health Excellence winner Carl Davis of Leggtown.  

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State Community College is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Presidential Awards of Excellence in the Academic, Applied Technologies and Health Science divisions. These awards are given to students who exhibit a strong work ethic, the ability to overcome personal obstacles, leadership and other outstanding qualities. Nominations are provided by faculty from each division.  

The winners are Emily Dyer for the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence, Haley Self-Tumlin for the Presidential Award for Technical Excellence, and Carl Davis for the Presidential Award for Health Excellence. 

Dyer, of Vinemont, graduated from Wallace State with an Associate in Science in General Studies. As a Fast Track Academy student, she was also able to graduate a semester early from Vinemont High School. 

“She is an outstanding young lady who is wise beyond her years,” said Dr. Ryan Smith, Dean of Students, reading from the nomination form turned in for Dyer. While at Wallace State, Dyer was a member of Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa officer, student peer tutor and a member of the Wallace State Jazz Band. She was also able to be a part of the Vinemont High School band as a majorette.  

Dyer is now attending the University of Alabama studying mechanical engineering.  

Self-Tumlin of Warrior earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology, along with a number of short-term certificates and NC3 certifications. She is continuing her education at Wallace State to earn a degree in Building Construction.  

“Haley has been a true asset to our program” said Dean of Applied Technologies Wes Rakestraw. “She helps others around her. We have called on her multiple times to meet with potential students visiting our program.” 

She’s worked for her family’s construction business throughout her education at Wallace State and recently was hired at 5R Design, an architectural firm in Cullman.  

Dr. Carl Davis of Leggtown in Lauderdale County earned his Associate in Applied Science in Nursing, beginning a new career after almost 30 years in education as a music teacher, including 22 years as the choral director at Decatur High School.  

Davis “is an informal leader of the class who strives to help shape professionalism in the group. He is always looking for an opportunity to be helpful whether it involves an agency recruitment luncheon or general calming influence on fellow classmates,” read his nomination. 

Davis, who has a doctorate in music education, began his journey into nursing after his mother was diagnosed with brain cancer 20 years ago. “Over the course of about 18 months she had a couple of surgeries and she was in and out of the hospital a lot,” Davis said. “We had hospice care at home for the last six months. It was during that period I decided that when I retired, that’s what I’m going to do.” 

Davis said seeing those nurses care for his mother was life-altering. “I remember when a hospice nurse would come to the house or the bathers, that just changed the atmosphere of the day,” he said. “I thought, ‘I really want to do that for somebody.’” 

The award winners were appreciative of those who nominated them and grateful to receive the awards. 

“I was very shocked,” Dyer said of the award, thanking her nominator, Dr. Stacey Sivley. “Dr. Sivley’s class was my first here and she helped me so much.” 

“It’s a huge honor,” Self-Tumlin said. “I was surprised and honored. I did not expect that at all. Mr. (Todd) Hardman helped me the entire way. I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted to do when I came here so if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have learned anything near as much as I did.” 

Davis said he appreciates being nominated. “I don’t consider that I have done anything out of the ordinary,” he said. “I just attempted to give my full attention and dedication to the pursuit of the degree. I give God the credit for enabling me to enjoy this new career opportunity and am so appreciative for this recognition.” 

“We are very proud of all of you, of all of our students who strive so hard to do so well academically,” said Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics. “You’re the top of the class and we want to congratulate you and tell you how proud we are of you and how much we wish you the very best on the next level of your journey. 

“We’re grateful that you chose Wallace State and that you’ll represent us in your new journey.”  

Wallace State Community College President Dr. Vicki Karolewics, left, with Presidential Award of Excellence winners Emily Dyer and Haley Tumlin. Dyer, of Vinemont, received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence. Self-Tumlin, of Warrior, received the Presidential Award for Technical Excellence. Not pictured is Carl Davis of Leggtown, winner of the Presidential Award for Health Excellence.  
Wallace State Community College graduate Emily Dyer, center, of Vinemont, received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence for the Class of 2020. The award was presented by Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics, left, and Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Beth Bownes-Johnson.  
Wallace State Community College student Haley Self-Tumlin, center, of Warrior, received the Presidential Award for Technical Excellence for the Class of 2020. The award was presented by Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics, left, and Dean of Applied Technologies Wes Rakestraw.  
Carl Davis, seen in this May 27, 2020, file photo from Wallace State Community College’s drive-through graduation with Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics, was named the winner of the Class of 2020’s Presidential Award of Health Excellence.  
Haley Self-Tumlin
Emily Dyer