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CVCC students receive incentive funding awards

CVCC students receive incentive funding awards

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HICKORY — Catawba Valley Community College students Jeffrey Alejandro Sarmiento Guardado and Jerry Nicole Keener became the latest recipients of the CVCC School of Workforce Development and the Arts (WDA) and the CVCC Foundation’s student incentive funding on Dec. 15.

“Both Jeffrey and Nicole left a positive impression on me from the moment I first met them,” said CVCC School of WDA Senior Professor and Student Advocate Jeffrey Penley. “Jeffrey is an outstanding musician, and I am confident he will have a successful career in that field. Nicole is ‘knocking down’ gender barriers in machining, just as her mother (a machinist) did before her. Aside from her mother, Rosie the Riveter is Nicole’s role model, and I would say with confidence that Rosie the Riveter is ‘alive and well’ in Catawba County.”

The awards will cover spring semester 2021 tuition, fees and books for Guardado and Keener as they pursue degrees in music and computer-integrated machining, respectively, in the School of WDA.

“I am so excited that the CVCC Foundation is providing strong support for Nicole and Jeffrey,” said Gary Muller, dean, CVCC School of WDA. “Both of these individuals are truly committed to their chosen career paths and we know they are going to make us very proud when they graduate from CVCC.”

Guardado was nominated for the award by CVCC Music Director Caroline Simyon and Keener was nominated by CVCC Director of Machining Steven Rhodes.

“It was a delight presenting these two outstanding students their well-deserved School of WDA incentive scholarship awards,” said David Sain, CVCC Foundation Board of Trustees chairman. “They were so wonderful, and I really enjoyed discussing their academic and career objectives with them. We honor Jeffrey and Nicole with these awards, and we look forward to following them as they become successful and achieve their dreams.”

For more information regarding this initiative and the CVCC School of Workforce Development and the Arts and its programs, contact Muller at or Penley at

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