JSCC Staff wins Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition Award

Mar 29th, 2024

Jackson State Community College (JSCC) Work-based Learning Coordinator Catherine Roberts has been announced as the winner of the Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition (SOAR) Staff Excellence Award. She represented the Western Region in the 6th Annual SOAR Awards hosted by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), receiving the award on Thursday, March 28th.

Roberts has served Jackson State with dedication for more than a decade as a Perkins IV Retention Specialist, Completion Coach, and most recently a Work-based Learning Coordinator along with being an adjunct professor. During her time at the college, she has proved to be an invaluable asset to the college and the Jackson community.

“I’m thrilled that Cathi’s hard work at Jackson State and dedication to her students been recognized through earning this award,” said Dr. Carol Rothstein, JSCC President. “This award further reinforces the great people we have here at Jackson State, working to change the lives of students that walk through our doors. Cathi’s dedication to her students and to our college exemplifies the excellence in education we constantly strive to provide in West Tennessee.”

Through her recruitment and retention efforts, Roberts has helped drastically raise the AMT programs enrollment and retention rates. In one year, she raised enrollment from 3 students to 21 students, and retention also increased, and has held steady, at an 88% retention rate. Roberts has also established a working committee and served as a liaison with over 30 manufacturers to ensure the success of the AMT Co-op and its students. The AMT Co-op offers students the opportunity to earn a wage and valuable work experience while earning their degree through a blend of classroom instruction and on-site manufacturing experience at various West Tennessee industry consortium partners.

Through her promotion of community service within her program, students in JSCC’s Engineering Systems Technology (ENST), the academic program in which the AMT Co-op is housed, were the first students at JSCC to earn a Service-Learning endorsement.

Roberts and students in her program have volunteered and assisted in several community events such as the RIFA Canstruction, Black Tie and Boxing, Jackson Area Dog Fancier Association, local high school events, and the Toyota Boshoku Hub City Robo Rumble, which hosted its inaugural competition at JSCC in October of 2023.

Roberts has also created other valuable resources and community partnerships for the program and JSCC. She has served as a resource for the national organization, Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) and was most recently appointed to the National Technical Board for FAME USA, which addresses topics like recruitment, success coaching, and chapter management.

The SOAR Awards are hosted annually and given to a single student, faculty, and staff member from higher education institutions across Tennessee. Each year, institutions submit letters of recommendations for those that they feel best represent their respective institution to compete at the regional level. Following interviews at the regional level, finalists compete for the award in Nashville. The 2024 SOAR Awards took place March 27th-28th.

For more information on the SOAR Awards, visit www.tbr.edu/external-affairs/soar.tbr.edu/external-affairs/soar.

To learn more about JSCC’s AMT programs or to apply, visit jscc.edu/amt.   


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