Wallace State names student and teacher of the year

Vianney Verdin Maldonado and Jackie Donaldson were named the Student and Teacher of the Year, respectively, for Wallace State Community College during the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce’s State of Education luncheon held at the college. Picture from left is Vice President for Academic Affair Beth Bownes-Johnson, Donaldson, Maldonado, President Vicki Karolewics and Vice President for Students Kristen Holmes. (Wallace State)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Wallace State Community College is proud to announce that Vianney Verdin Maldonado was named Student of the Year and Jackie Donaldson was named Teacher of the Year recently at the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce’s State of Education luncheon held on the campus of Wallace State.

Vianney Verdin Maldonado was presented with the Student of the Year award for Wallace State Community College during the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce’s State of Education luncheon held at the college. Pictured from left is Vice President for Students Kristen Holmes, Maldonado, and President Vicki Karolewics. (Wallace State)

Maldonado, of Oneonta, will be graduating next month with an associate degree in General Studies. She plans to transfer to Auburn University to pursue dual degrees in Biology and Psychology, with a goal of earning her doctorate and working neuroscience psychology.

“Every once in a while, a student comes along who makes such an impact on campus that we feel both so fortunate that they chose Wallace State and at the same time wonder what we will do without them. Vianney Verdin Maldonado is that student this year,” said Kristen Holmes, Wallace State’s Vice President for Students.

Maldonado is a member of eight student clubs or organizations and serves as an officer in seven of those. Two of those clubs she founded or helped organize – VALOR Latino/Hispanic Club and the Books and Banter Club. Maldonado also helped organize and hosts a student-led podcast called The Mane Topic.

Maldonado is a member of percussion and vocal ensembles with the Wallace State Fine and Performing Arts program and has participated in two international study and performance experiences with the college.

“Away from campus, Vianney spends numerous hours each week volunteering in her community, including tutoring in English. And she raises money to send to sponsor children and families living in poverty in Mexico,” Holmes added “And she does all of this while maintaining a 3.935 grade point average.”

She has been named a member of All-Alabama Academic Team and she is an All-USA Coca Cola Silver Scholar. She will be recognized for these accomplishments Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker on April 19.

“Vianney, we are so pleased and honored to present you as Wallace State’s Student of the Year,” Holmes said. “We know you will continue to achieve and inspire excellence and we can’t wait to see what your future holds.”

Jackie Donaldson was named the Teacher of the Year for Wallace State Community College during the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce’s State of Education luncheon held at the college. Pictured from left is President Vicki Karolewics, Maldonado and Vice President for Academic Affair Beth Bownes-Johnson. (Wallace State)

Donaldson is a member of the Wallace State Natural Science Department, where she has been teaching anatomy for the last seven of her 28 years as a science instructor. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, where she majored in Agriculture Education. She earned her master’s degree in Biology Education from the University of West Alabama.

“Jackie aspires to help students reach their education and occupational goals,” said Beth Bownes-Johnson, Wallace State’s Dean of Academic Affairs. “She enjoys working as a team with her colleagues to discover the best practices for student success. The reward, she said, is watching students gain knowledge and confidence as they move forward.”

Donaldson was chosen as Wallace State’s Teacher of the Year after a nomination and voting process by Wallace State students. Many of those nominating her pointed out that she goes to great lengths to make sure her students are understanding the concepts she teaches, to make sure they don’t get behind in their work and that she genuinely cares for her students.

“Mrs. Donaldson has a great system inside and out of the classroom,” one nominator wrote. “She was very down to earth and made the class easy to manage, while also getting the job done. She showed great respect for everyone in the class and never left anyone behind. She always made sure we were all on track and getting work done. She was very understanding of anyone and any problems that came her way. All around she has been the best instructor I have had!”

“She is always super engaged with her class and really cares about each and every one of her students,” another wrote. “She is always super organized and prepared to teach. Any questions, she’ll answer in a way that is easy for us to understand. She is also extremely accommodating and makes sure we have everything we need to succeed. She is probably the best professor I’ve had at Wallace this far and in my opinion is very deserving for her hard work and dedication to us students!”