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The 7th Annual Harford County Champions for Children and Youth Awards ceremony took place on Friday, June 21, at Harford Community College’s Chesapeake Center. HCC employees Kim Ashman, Coordinator for Student Conduct and Intervention; Rhonda Davis, Transition Specialist; Austin Hill, Ed.D., Academy of Finance Coordinator at Edgewood High School and adjunct faculty at the College; and Caitlin White, Student Leadership and Orientation Specialist, received Harford County Champions for Children and Youth awards. Presented by the Harford County Department of Community Services Local Management Board, the award honors those who have made a major contribution in Harford County to help improve the lives of children and young adults through the age of 21.

Kim Ashman has made a strong impact In her 11 years at the College. Prior to her time at Harford, she was a special education teacher and progressed into an assistant principal role. While many associate student conduct officers with a harsh disciplinarian, Ashman puts fairness, equity, and compassion at the heart of her work. She views student conduct as a critical component of student learning, and works with students on ways to positively change their behaviors in order to ensure they are meeting the goals they set for themselves. Ashman serves on the College's CARE Team, where student concerning behavior cases are reviewed, and offers solutions and resources to assist students who are in distress. Kim said, "It is an honor to be nominated for the Champions for Children and Youth Award. Over my 20 plus years as an educator, I have had the pleasure of working with students in different facets of their educational journey. From being a teacher, coach and administrator in K-12 to now working in higher education, my ultimate goal has always been to make a difference in my students' lives and provide them with a positive educational experience. To be recognized for doing something I love is truly amazing."

Rhonda Davis has served children and youth as a professional, volunteer, and adoptive parent. As Transition Specialist at the College, she provides case management and support for youth and adults enrolled in GED preparation classes to help them earn a high school diploma and transition to postsecondary education and employment. Davis had previously served as an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor for youth and adults in the adult literacy program at HCC. Prior to coming to Harford, Davis served children, youth, and families as Director of Partnerships in Christ International for Word of Faith International Outreach in Aberdeen and was employed as a Youth Specialist with the Community Preservation and Development Corporation in Washington, DC. In that position, she provided homework support as well as career development, enrichment activities, and field trips for 100 elementary, middle and high students living in housing developments for low to moderate income families.

Dr. Austin Hill is an academy coordinator for Harford County Public Schools and an adjunct lecturer and student navigator at the College in business and cybersecurity. He is a career educator with a proven track record of assisting students in becoming gainfully employed. He works with youth to try to bridge the gap between schools and the business community, thereby addressing potential workforce gaps. Hill describes his efforts as "Leading the reshaping of the K-14 workforce that is both college and career-ready, one student at a time." He has been instrumental in streamlining the dual enrollment business program between HCPS and HCC for the students at Edgewood High School, where students can earn college credit while completing their high school requirements.

Caitlin White is responsible for developing programs that enhance students' leadership skills, civic engagement and their transition into college through the Emerging Leaders, Student Orientation, and Alternative Break programs. She also serves as a campus ally for LGBTQ+ students and colleagues, and serves as the SGA advisor where she hopes to improve the college experience for every student. Her dedication to students far exceeds her position, which is apparent through her detailed work in planning and executing outstanding programs and events that enhance the students’ global and civic experience.

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