GCC student from Northampton honored as a part of ‘29 Who Shine’

  • Contributed Photo—Soulful life Photography 2016

  • The Greenfield Community College main campus building. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

For the Gazette
Published: 5/9/2018 11:11:20 PM

GREENFIELD — Receiving a mailer at her home in Northampton about an open enrollment day, Carrie Hale thought, “What do I have to lose?”

Never one who saw herself as succeeding at school, Hale tried her hand at Greenfield Community College. She thought maybe she could study something in the liberal arts, but definitely not math or science.

Enter Ian Winokur’s developmental math class and soon Hale, with some assistance from her professor, realized maybe this was in fact a strength of hers. Fast-forward a year later and Hale’s 3.97 GPA, along with a long list of honors and scholarships, she was tapped by President Bob Pura as GCC’s honoree for the annual “29 Who Shine” award.

Hale traveled to the Statehouse in Boston with Pura, Winokur, and her mother and brother last Friday to receive the award from Gov. Charlie Baker and the state Department of Higher Education. She was in the company of 28 other awardees from the state’s public campuses.

“I’ve never seen myself as a person who was ever going to be successful or achieve anything on really a basic level, and being in the room with these people, and the governor,” and others from the state, Hale said, “encouraged me to continue doing what I’m doing and to keep reaching that much higher.”

The annual 29 Who Shine award recognizes one student graduate at each of the 29 public campuses across the state for their academic, community service and student leadership achievements.

Hale plans on transferring her credits from GCC to a university so she can pursue a degree, likely in engineering, with a minor in math. The opportunity to go to Boston fueled her passion to keep learning and striving.

At first Hale didn’t realize the extent of the award, and when she was first told about the honor she thought, “Oh, sweet,” but then found out she was going to head to Beacon Hill. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is really cool.’ ”

Learning from her fellow honorees, Hale realized many who were there also had their own personal hurdles before they got to this day in Boston, like “people who are really pushing themselves so hard and doing these really innovative things and creative things, people working at the same time or raising kids.”

Hale is the recipient of this year’s Edwin C. Peck Mathematics Faculty Award, the Mario Rambissoon Engineering Faculty Scholarship and the E2S5 Scholarship, 2018. She is a peer tutor in math and Latin and a Phi Theta Kappa officer in the Honor Society. She also serves on GCC’s board of trustees as a student representative and is a member of the Student Senate.

“Carrie has integrated her ability to be innovative, creative and communicative with her ability to apply a fine critical and analytical eye,” Pura said in a statement. “This ability to bring engineering precision to the open canvas of what could be is rare. The integration of left brain and right brain is, for me, the integration of the arts and sciences.”

Deciding to go to that day of open enrollment last year was the “best whimsical choice I’ve ever made,” Hale said, and now she just hopes to keep moving forward like the others in the 29 Who Shine. “I felt very much like I belonged in the room, but I don’t want any doubt about that,” Hale said.

“I want to feel like I earned my spot in the room and I want to keep working hard, continuing to surround myself with people who want to make me better.”

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