Alumni Award Winners

Alumni Award Winners

EMCC is proud to recognize alumni who are making a difference in our local and global community. Our alumni winners consistently demonstrate the College's Core Values – Integrity, Diversity, Collaboration, and Sustainability

We have two awards, given annually:

  • The Outstanding Alumni Award is for alumni who took classes more than five years ago.
  • The Rising Star Award is for alumni who have taken classes within the past five years.

All award winners are accomplished in one or more of the following areas:

  • Professional Achievement and Career Distinction
  • Service to Society
  • Contributions to Estrella Mountain Community College

Award Winners

Memo is currently the Assistant Chief of Police with the City of Avondale and has been deeply involved with fundraising and other volunteer opportunities at the college along with being a member of EMCC's Alumni Community Advisory Group.  Memo, along with his police officers, assisted EMCC's Student Life department with the St. Mary's food distribution where food boxes were distributed to the community members in need. He also recorded a WELCOME message to induct all new 2021 graduates into the EMCC Alumni Association.  His involvement with EMCC is much appreciated.

Dr. Monica Lopez graduated from EMCC with an AAS in 2003, and transferred to ASU Main, where she majored in Biomedical Engineering. She was later accepted into University of Arizona Downtown Phoenix Medical School Pathways Program, where she earned her MD degree in 2020.  As a non-citizen she could not obtain loans and worked many jobs to put herself through school.  Dr. Lopez is currently an Emergency Resident but continues to mentor EMCC students who aspire to be a doctor one day.  In fact, one of her mentees was just accepted into the same ASU Medical School program that Monica graduated from.  She has definitely overcome obstacles to achieve success and accomplish her goal of becoming a doctor.

Myra began her Maricopa Community Colleges career in 1990 as the assistant to David Wessell, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Gateway Community College. In 1991, she was the successful candidate to become the assistant to Dr. Anna Solley, Assistant Provost of Instruction for Estrella Mountain Community College Center.

For 12 years, Myra worked for Dr. Solley at EMCC. When Dr. Solley accepted the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs position at the Maricopa Community College District Office, Myra transferred and continued to work as her Admin Assistant for an additional 4 years.

Myra earned her Associate of Arts from EMCC and her Bachelor’s degree from Grand Canyon University. In 2005, Myra continued on her educational path to graduate magna cum laude with a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Northern Arizona University, accomplishing all of this as a single mother of two. Myra has taught online and in person classes at EMCC for the past nine years. Myra was a huge supporter of the annual EMCC/Rotary Car Raffle, the proceeds of which went to an endowment to support student scholarships. In fact, during the inaugural raffle in 2000, she sold 201 of the 1000 tickets including the winning ticket. In appreciation for her dedication to this cause, she was honored to select the very first scholarship recipient from this fundraiser.

June moved from Ohio to Litchfield Park in 2013. She received her Associate of Arts degree in Organizational Management at Estrella Mountain Community College in 2016 then traveled to Newport, Australia to become trained and certified by the SuperYacht Crew Academy. She then worked as a Deckhand, Stewardess and Yoga Instructor in the Yachting industry.

June self-published her first novel, The Girl and the Golden Leaf. The storyline addresses major social issues that include extreme poverty and human trafficking. She co-wrote the screenplay and it has been optioned for screen production with Metro Entertainment. She opened a retail online store called YachtInspired ( where 10% of profits go directly to non-profit organizations she is involved with, and she is in partnership with a non-profit organization where she will be co-authoring and publishing a children's book in direct support of this organization (currently under contract). She is heavily involved in Conservation Efforts and has created a new design line that focuses on this concept.

June is involved with and donates money and goods to Comfort Cases, The Conservation Project International (T-CPI), and Helvetas Group USA. She is a freelance writer that writes articles on conservation initiatives. June spent 2 months as an Assistant Researcher for The Dolphin Project in Ischia, Italy.

To read more about June and her accomplishments, click on the image above to read the article published in the May 2020 publication of Life at Mcdowell Mountain.

June has made significant contributions to our community and has shown that she shines as an EMCC Rising Star Alum.

Becky Baranowski has a Bachelor’s of Science in Math Education (NAU 1998), a Master’s of Arts in Mathematics (U of A 2002), and is currently working on her EdD in Community College Leadership through Ferris State University (Michigan). She was an EMCC student from 1993-1996 and was actively engaged with MECHA during that time. Becky has been employed with EMCC since 2002 and was a Division Chair for 6 years. She is currently an Assessment Co-Coordinator and an HLC tri-chair for Criterion 4. Her passion at EMCC is engaging with Engineering, Physics, and Math majors through teaching the Calculus sequence (Calculus I, II, III and Differential Equations). She loves to teach with her physics faculty in calculus/physics learning communities.  

Nomination Statement:

Becky is truly a Master Teacher! She inspires students to learn and to enjoy math and become lifelong learners. She also strives to be an educational leader and works tremendously hard to learn her craft.  Becky is a tremendous advocate of EMCC in our community and has a strong voice to support student learning and the value of education.

As the Outstanding Alumni award winner, Becky received a custom "Heart of a Lion" award created by our very own Makerspace. Since the EMCC Alumni Association was founded in Dr. Ernest A. Lara's presidency, the award has been named in honor of Dr. Lara. The heart is made from purple heart wood. This wood is unique, as it is purple in its natural state.