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Shi Wen Wong, Crystal Garriga recognized as high-achieving, two-year college students

COURTESY PHOTO: MT. HOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE - Shi Wen WongTwo students from Mt. Hood Community College earned a spot on the prestigious All-Oregon Community College Academic Team.

Shi Wen Wong and Crystal Garriga were selected for the program that recognizes high-achieving two-year college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor.

Wong is focusing on mathematics and would like to teach math one day. Garriga is a student in Mt. Hood Community College's Mental Health, Social Service and Addiction Counseling program.

As a kindergartener growing up in Malaysia, Wong remembers fondly watching her teacher write out arithmetic problems on a whiteboard.

"One of the biggest reasons that I love math is the satisfaction that comes when I get stuck on a question for a while, then do a bunch of math to find the right answer," Wong said. "Ultimately, my career goal is to become a professor of mathematics and a person who teaches math while radiating positive energy."

Wong also is an officer on MHCC's Student Activities Board and previously was an officer for Rho Theta, MHCC's Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter. Wong speaks several languages fluently, including mandarin, Cantonese and Malay.

This spring, Wong will earn her Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree before pursuing a bachelor's degree in math.

Wong also hopes to establish a nonprofit that offers financial assistance to college-bound students. She herself received the TRIO Student Support Services Scholarship and the Walt Morey Memorial Endowed Scholarship, both from the MHCC Foundation, and the Fred Fields Scholarship from the Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC).

"If I had not received scholarships, I would be incapable of continuing my education and someday becoming an instructor," Wong noted.

Garriga was drawn to the Mental Health, Social Service and Addiction Counseling program's career choices and industry fields, including counseling and community corrections.

COURTESY  PHOTO: MT. HOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE - Crystal GarrigaAn older student, Garriga said, "I thought it was too late in life to have options like these open to me. Honestly, college was not even on my radar until three years ago."

Shortly after beginning her degree program, Garriga's instructor began discussing with her the possibility of earning a bachelor's degree.

"It was a little intimidating considering it took almost 20 years to begin my associate degree," she said. "But now I'm ready to apply to PSU's School of Social Work and take that next step."

Garriga has donated her time as a family community health volunteer with Clackamas County and secretary of the Mental Health Club at MHCC.

She is also got the MHCC Foundation's Oregon Community Foundation Joseph E. Weston Scholarship and the Gresham Club of Rotary's Radak and P.E.O. scholarships.

The Oregon Academic Team program is part of the national All-State Community College Academic Team program, in which students from 38 states participate. Program sponsors include the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, community college presidents and community college state associations.

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