Santa Monica College Jim Prickett Memorial Scholarship Winners Named

Sunday, 3 Mar 2013, 9:39:00 AM

Mitch James

Two Santa Monica College students have been awarded the College's Faculty Association's Jim Prickett Memorial Scholarship, named after the late SMC professor and union activist.

Recipients Harrison Wills and Amy Gaskin submitted an essay and a photo montage respectively, to each earn the $1,000 award.

Both Wills and Gaskin are attending the 2013 FACCC Policy and Advocacy conference in Sacramento March 3 and 4 as part of the SMC Faculty Association delegation.

Faculty Association vice president, Sandi Burnett, judged the applicants along with a group of other faculty leaders.

“I’m really proud of the students we selected," Burnett said.

"Moreover, I also think Jim would think these students are exceptional.

He would be proud.”

Wills, a transfer student, submitted an essay entitled “Muckrackers, Whistle Blowers, Community Organizers and Policy Changers,” arguing persuasively for increased appreciation of public education as an essential element in a democracy.

Wills has numerous credits for community service.

Following participation in the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) Policy and Advocacy conference in Sacramento two years ago, Wills successfully sought election as the SMC Associated Student Body President.

His tenure included numerous statewide and national advocacy actions for higher education and student equity.

He interned in Washington DC as a Dale Ride scholar in 2012, and at Open Secrets, investigating the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Gaskin is a returning student, majoring in Photography to develop a second career.

A community service opportunity took her to Appalachia and other states photographing miners and other workers.

At SMC, her photos of events have been published in the Corsair newspaper.

One submission was accepted by the Associated Press and picked up by the Washington Post last year. She is currently a finalist for the Press Photographers Association Student Photojournalist of the Year Award to be decided in March.

The award was conceived as a way to honor long-time activist and beloved SMC professor, Jim Prickett.

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