SWAN Scholarship Recipients

2015 Scholarship recipients

Sarah Mickelson attended Skagit Valley College and Western Washington University and is pursuing a Masters in Speech – Language Pathology at Western.  She also volunteers for Skagit Special Olympics, theater camps for children and is a founding member of Shakespeare Northwest.  Her goal is to become a licensed clinical speech language pathologist and help children in educational settings, bringing her love of theater to the learning environment.

Austyn Hine attended Skagit Valley College and Western Washington University and is pursuing a Masters in Teaching at Western.  Her focus is history and she also volunteers with Junior Achievement.  Her dream is to become a high school history teacher and to become ESL and AP certified, blending her love of helping people with her passion for history.

Corrin Hamburg attended Skagit Valley College as a running start student and Shoreline Community College for her transfer degree and Washington State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science.  She is pursuing a Masters in Water Resource and Professional Science at the University of Idaho.

She volunteers with Skagit Valley Dike District 17, Skagit Valley Hospital and the Celtic Arts Foundation.  She is currently working as the Environmental Laboratory Manager at Skagit Valley College.  Her goal is to become a water resource instructor at a two- or four year institution – to continue to grow as a scientist and also inspire others in the field the way her instructors inspired her.

Sindie Howland attended Bellingham Technical College, Skagit Valley College and Washington State University.  She is completing her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Management and Operations at WSU and hopes to complete the Master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership.  

 Sindie is a mother of three and volunteers with her sons’ youth sports and has worked for Skagit Valley College for over 17 years. 

 Her dream is to have a leadership role in the field of education and transform educational systems to assist students in realizing their educational goals.

Daisy Padilla-Torres attended Skagit Valley College and Western Washington University and is pursuing a Masters in Adult and Higher Education from WWU’s Woodward College of Education.  She volunteers as an ESL teacher, for Skagit Literacy, Community Action and as a Youth Soccer Coach for the YMCA.  She is a first generation college graduate and a recipient of the Champions of Diversity program at SVC.   

One of her goals is to become an academic advisor for diverse students in a higher education setting to support Latino students and families in achieving access to equitable resources and achieving their educational goals. 

She noted that her husband is her number one cheerleader and that her daughter is one of her biggest motivations to continue with her goals and dreams. 


Elizabeth Reese, 2009 SWAN Scholarship Recipient
Field of Study: Master's Degree in Speech Language Pathology at Western Washington University

Elizabeth began her post secondary college studies at SVC transferring to WWU to earn a BA in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2008. Since 1999 she has worked variously at North Fork Farms as Sales Manage, Designs by Arlene in sales and customer services and as a Speech language Pathologist Assistant with the Mount Vernon School District Special Services. Elizabeth's civic/volunteer activities include: canter at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, food bank/migrant ministry project, Vacation Bible School Instructor, WWU Habitat for Humanity, and Nat'l Student Speech Language and Hearing Association membership. Liz is a wife and the mother of two young sons and she is a student of the guitar. Liz is described by her recommendation as "analytical and accurate", positive and cheerful" "Possessing the qualities and intellectual capabilities of therapists that are recommended for hire" and a kind and caring person.

Shelley Johnson, 2009 SWAN Scholarship Recipient
Field of Study: Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy Program at Eastern Washington University

Shelley hopes to find professional employment in this field, eventually opening her own business offering Occupational Therapy services locally. Shelley began her post secondary education at Skagit Valley College and Whatcom Community College, transferring to Western Washington University in Bellingham where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 1999. An interesting side note is that she studied for a semester at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Prior to returning to the Skagit Valley where she grew up, Shelley worked for six years for non-profits and foundations in Alaska. She has demonstrated interest and initiative in her field of study by going back to SVC and WVV for a year and a half to take perquisite courses laying a foundation for the OT Masters' Program. To familiarize herself with the medical setting, Shelley has worked as a paraprofessional at Northwest Orthopedic Surgery and also at Sedro-Woolley Physical Therapy. Shelley also finds time to put here business acumen to good use working for Integrity Sales, In Alaska Shelley volunteered with United Way, Volunteers of America, a community based conservation group and has worked serving in a soup kitchen. This summer Shelley is working at a Pediatric Occupational organization in Bothell. "Thanks to the SWAN board for the scholarship that has made my Masters Program easier to afford, I truly appreciate the support of the Board".

Claudia Avendano Palomera, 2008 SWAN Scholarship Recipient
Field of Study: Masters of Social Work Program (CWTAP) Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program at Eastern Washington University

I am a new employee with the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in the Child and Family Welfare-Child Protective Services unit in Mount Vernon. Although my employment h history with DCFS is short, I have found the job very rewarding and that I have performing the duties of a Social Worker for many years, I dedicated 13 years to the Juvenile Justice System and found the many ways to comply with community safety but also the ways to engage with clients. I've been able to help families find resources that help reduce and/or eliminate destructive habits and deficiencies. Finding the balance between both roles isn't easy, yet I feel that it's essential for the ultimate safety of our community.

Through the years, I have been very involved with many community organizations and agencies (Mount Vernon School District, Skagit Valley Community College, Skagit County Community Action Agency Board of Directors Member and Latino Advisory Committee, Skagit Immigrant Rights, SVC Paralegal Program, Skagit County Law Day and many other organizations."

Claudia is the single mother of a studious and talented 16 year old girl who understands her mother has returned to school and who has supported her Mom with preparation of meals during the journey. Claudia has raised her daughter without child support or governmental assistance, obtaining her undergraduate degree while working full time and during her elementary years. They both know how much work is involved!

"My interest is set in a career in Public Child Welfare because I want the opportunity to work with families like the one I grew up with. Although child abuse and/or neglect were not a challenge for us, poverty was and that's where it begins for many families.

Erin Nicole, 2007 SWAN Scholarship Recipient
Field of Study: English Language Learner's Endorsement at City University, Seattle

Erin currently holds a K-12 Visual Art Endorsement and feels that an ELL Endorsement will complement the art endorsement well. "Many ELL students take my art classes at Burlington-Edison High School. Because art speaks to people across the world, these students frequently excel in my course. I am looking forward to meeting the needs of more ELL students with my additional endorsement. I find so much inspiration from my students, the constant art conversation and art making that happens in my classroom has greatly influence me as an artist."

Amy McMoran, 2007 SWAN Scholarship Recipient
Field of Study: Masters of Education in Literacy at Lesley University

Working in the schools with many Hispanic students will help them complete their education and become productive citizens in our community

As a child, it was my goal to become an elementary teacher. I would play school every day after school. Now that I have fulfilled that goal, I am pursuing my current goal of becoming a better teacher. I am working on my Master's program in the area of literacy. Receiving this degree and new found knowledge will propel me to the next level in my career." Currently I serve as a building representative for our local teacher's union. I am also on the executive board. I am part of the Take the Lead team and Legislative Action Team for the Washington Education Association. I also serve as a delegate for the 4th Corner portion of WEA. I teach a fitness program for children at the Mount Baker Crossfit gym."

Amy teaches in Skagit Valley and is interested in advancing her leadership skills with the students and fellow teachers. Amy is now the mother of twin daughters.

Janet Skone Hitt, 2006 SWAN Scholarship Recipient
Field of Study: Master of Music Degree Choral Conducting at the University of Washington

My legal name is Janet Colleen Hitt. I use Janet Skone when involved with choirs as my father, Dr Maurice Skone, directed choirs at PLU for 20 years. The Skone's name brings my musical background out. As a result, I have been fortunate enough to have many of his students join the Skagit Valley Choral. Thank you again for the generous contribution to my continued education."
Janet works with the Skagit Valley Choral.

Sally Schroeder, 2005 SWAN Scholarship Recipient
Field of Study: Masters in School Administration at Western Washington University

Sally works in the LaConner School District both in English Department and in administration. Sally teaches English at LaConner High School. Sally works part time as an assistant administrator for the LaConner School District. Sally teaches the AVID program at LaConner, involved in the sports program, and was the assistant volleyball coach for several years. Sally is totally supportive of the activities of her two sons, 12 and 15, which doesn't allow much personal time.
"I am grateful for the scholarship that allowed me to continue my work toward my goal of working in the administration in education."