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MOHAVE COUNTY – Justin Begay is described as genuine, compassionate, inquisitive, honorable, dependable, and those are just a few of the words Mohave Community College staff, faculty and administration used to describe the 2022 Kathy Hodel Most Outstanding Student Award recipient.
Along with the honor of being this year’s recipient, Begay will also receive $10,000 cash to put toward anything he wants.
“Being the 2022 Kathy Hodel Outstanding award winner is an amazing feeling, it’s a huge help for me to realize my long-term educational goals,” Begay said.
He said he will put the funds toward his education to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and he is certain this award will enhance his future success, especially with his postgraduate education.
Begay is graduating from MCC with an Associate of Arts in Social and Behavioral Science. He attended the college’s Lake Havasu City campus, and after graduation will transfer to Arizona State University at Lake Havasu where he will work to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
At MCC he was President of the Veterans Club, President of the Psyched Out Club, Treasurer of Phi Theta Kappa and Student Activities Council Vice President.
“It’s hard to bottle up Justin up in one word because he is such a great human being,” said Dr. Maria Ayon, Lake Havasu City Campus Dean of Student and Community Engagement. “He is community, he is curious, he is taking risks, he is courage, he is committed and he is excellence.”
Dr. Cole Stewart, lead faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, described Begay as a man of “tremendously high character.”
Kathy Hodel was known for her community service efforts and that’s one of the criteria students who apply for the award need to meet. Begay put in countless hours of community service while attending MCC.
“I was able to give back to the community by joining the various clubs and through that we were not only able to connect with the students at MCC but also the community of Lake Havasu by participating in special activities, like MCC Pumpkinfest and MCC Shines, London Bridge Days Parade, organizing blood drives and much more,” he said.
Begay was also named an All Arizona Academic Team member, which means he will receive a full tuition scholarship to any public university in Arizona after he graduates MCC. The scholarship covers resident tuition for 10 consecutive undergraduate semesters, or 60 credits for the fall and spring semesters.
“I was excited, I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without the excellent faculty at MCC, who not only gave me my academic foundation but also provided essential resources on site, such as time management and study skills through various workshops throughout the semester,” he said.
Begay is wanting to focus on research in the psychology field while working on his education. His long-term career goal is to work as a school psychologist. He was born in Kingman and was raised in Lake Havasu City and graduated from Lake Havasu High School. Begay is a U.S. Navy veteran and was honorably discharged after nine years of service. On his free time, he enjoys watching documentaries, reading historical publications, and traveling and learning about different cultures.
About the Kathy Hodel Most Outstanding Student Award:
The Kathy Hodel Most Outstanding Student Award was established through an endowment gift to the MCC Foundation. It was provided by Dr. James H. Childe to honor the memory of his friend Kathy Hodel. She passed away in 2018, after a long battle with bone cancer. Dr. Childe, a retired attorney and MCC instructor, gave nearly a quarter million dollars to establish the endowment. He chose to use this gift as a way to honor outstanding graduating MCC students, and Kathy for her countless hours and efforts working to help MCC and our local communities. Kathy requested everyone remember the importance of service before self, and do what you can to help worthy causes in your own community.