2023 Academic Excellence Award-Estrella Cardona Santin
Gaston College has selected Estrella Cardona Santin as its recipient of the 2023 Academic Excellence Award. The Gaston College Dean’s Council nominated Estrella due to her leadership skills serving as a peer mentor, her work with undergraduate research, and her overall passion for learning.
Each of the 58 schools in the North Carolina Community College System nominates a student for the award, which recognizes and encourages scholarship and honors students who have “set the highest possible goals and attained the pinnacle of academic success.”
Estrella will graduate in May 2023 with an Associate in Science degree. She didn’t enroll in Gaston College until a year after she graduated from high school because she did not feel confident that she could succeed in college. When she started attending the College, she began getting excellent grades and compliments from her instructors on the work she was doing. This made her realize that she had unlimited potential and gave her the confidence to allay her self-doubts and fears.
At Gaston College, Estrella benefited from programs like TRiO, a federally funded program designed to help students meet their educational goals, and the SPARC Scholars Program, a scholarship initiative for students interested in STEM-related studies. “I began to enjoy learning new things in my classes and getting to know a lot of amazing people on campus,” she said. “Now I am almost ready to graduate, and I know this is a huge accomplishment.”
Attending Gaston College is just Estrella’s first step toward achieving her goal of becoming a dental hygienist. If she does decide to attend a four-year university, she will continue to study something in the field of science.
Estrella will be recognized at the Gaston College annual student awards event in spring 2023, and she will be highlighted on the NCCCS website as one of the 58 students who were selected by their community colleges to be honored with the Academic Achievement Award.