Two Clark College students have been named to the 2021 All Washington Academic Team, which recognizes students in Washington State for their academic excellence and community service.
Clark students Erin Lysne and Natalie Worthy were honored at a virtual ceremony hosted by South Puget Sound Community College. The All Washington Academic Team is a program of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the International Honor Society for Two-Year Colleges. Each year they recognize roughly 60 to 70 students from over 33 community and technical colleges across Washington State. Each student is awarded a $250 scholarship from program sponsor KeyBank.
Worthy was also the recipient of a $750 scholarship from program sponsor Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU), which is awarded to the top 16 team members. Worthy, a Running Start student from Prairie High School, said she’s grateful for the honor, and for the opportunity to study at Clark through the Running Start program.
“It’s just a wonderful program; It’s easier for me than high school classes and it allows me to get a degree at such a young age,” Worthy said. “And that comes with so many financial benefits as well.”
In 2017, Worthy began working toward earning the Congressional Award, the US Congress’ award for young Americans. Participants earn bronze, silver, and gold Congressional Award Medals. Each level involves achieving goals in four program areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration. Worthy recently earned a silver medal and has completed over 250 hours of community service.
Worthy said her passion for volunteering stems from her family, who had her start at just 8 years old. As of late, Worthy volunteers with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and a local food distribution site based in Battleground, WA.
Spring will be Worthy’s last quarter at Clark. After graduating with her AA, she hopes to transfer to the University of Puget Sound and double major in Vocal Performance and Journalism. Worthy said she will miss Clark College, especially choir director Jacob Funk.
“(Funk) is such a fun guy and he makes all my learning fun,” Worthy said. “He’s really helped launch my vocal career as well. It’s weird doing choir over zoom, but he makes the group singing environment online really, really great.”
Erin Lysne has been taking classes on and off at Clark College for about 6 years. During that time, she’s developed a passion for geology. Lysne is the founder of the first ever geosciences club at Clark and regularly volunteers with the geology department as a tutor.
As a tutor, Lysne enjoys getting to connect to students and helping them relate to the material on a personal level. For example, Lysne said she loves helping students identify rocks they’ve had since they were children.
“Often these were small rocks they found out walking with childhood friends or family, or maybe a gift from a cherished grandparent,” Lysne said. “Years have gone by, and they can finally find out what kind of rock it is. It always seems to spark reliving some precious memories.”
Lysne also volunteers with various environmental organizations, such as Friends of Trees, the Vancouver Water Education Resource Center and the Cascade Volcano Observatory. She is currently approaching nearly 500 total hours of volunteer time.
Lysne said it was an honor to receive the award and thanked her advisor Michelle Stoklosa, from Clark’s geology department. Following her time at Clark, Lysne is planning on continuing her education to earn a doctorate in volcanology.
“Rocks are awesome,” Lysne said. “Each one will tell a different story, whether it be sentimental history or local geologic history. We all live on Earth, and geology impacts almost every single thing you do in some way or another. Geology is life.”