Approximately 500 of MiraCosta College’s estimated 1,700 graduates will celebrate at the college’s 82nd commencement ceremony, to be held Friday, May 26, at 5 p.m. in front of the Administration Building on the Oceanside Campus, 1 Barnard Drive. Admission is free, and parking permits are not required.
Graduate Vanessa “Van” Reynolds will deliver this year’s commencement address. Reynolds is also one of this year’s Medal of Honor recipients. The Medal of Honor is MiraCosta College’s highest academic honor. Reynolds, first in her family to graduate high school and attend college, was attracted to MiraCosta College in 2014 for the “prestige of the campus. MiraCosta is known as one of best community colleges in the country.” However, proximity to her home and the ocean didn’t hurt either.
Reynolds excels not only in the classroom earning academic distinctions like being on the President’s Permanent Honor Roll and a 4.0 grade point average, but is active with community organizations like North County LGBTQ Resource Center, California Coastal Commission and Habitat for Humanity International. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Reynolds has received these MiraCosta scholarships: The Mort and Agatha Winski (renewable) Scholarships, the Osher Initiative for California Community College Students (renewable) Scholarships, the GSA Scholarship, the California Coast Credit Union Service Learning Scholarship. Reynolds also received the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, a $40,000 per year scholarship renewable for up to three years to pay for tuition, textbooks and other living expenses while in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree.
In August 2016, Reynolds was selected to participate in a college fellowship focusing on ways to increase access for LGBTQIA+ students in the STEM majors. First, creating a problem statement, she conducted a root cause analysis, implemented surveys, identified best practices and presented a project proposal.
“I received so much support from the GSA Club,” said Reynolds. “The GSA Club allowed me to grow and explore my identity as a queer woman, provided a platform for me to help and inspire others, and for me to get other members of the LGBTQIA+ community involved in leadership positions.”
Reynolds plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree in international business followed by a dual degree in Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor from Stanford University. Upon the completion of her education, she aspires to work in international corporate law between the United States and France as well as other French speaking countries.