Dr. Mayra Sánchez González ’10 to Receive 2020 MCC Alumni Achievement Award
Muskegon Community College will present its 2020 Alumni Achievement Award, an honor recognizing extraordinary professional achievement by one of its graduates from the past 15 years, to Dr. Mayra Sánchez González ’10, a clinical psychologist and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation faculty member at the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD.
Sánchez González will be honored on Tuesday, May 5, at the Alumni Awards Dinner on campus and will be formally recognized on Wednesday evening, May 6, at the 2020 MCC Commencement in Mercy Health Arena in downtown Muskegon.
Established in 2017, the Alumni Achievement Award recipient is selected by the MCC Alumni Relations Committee.
Born in Mexico, Sánchez González emigrated with her parents and three siblings to the U.S.
“I did not speak English, nor did I or my family understand the educational system under which this country operates,” she recounted. “See, my father did not attain any formal education and my mother had a fifth grade education, but their commitment to help me achieve my educational goals was unwavering and transcended any financial, emotional and systemic barriers.”
Despite overcoming the language barrier and achieving honor roll status throughout high school, Sánchez González admittedly received little encouragement from counselors to pursue higher education. She applied and was accepted to MCC and to a four-year university.
“I remember sitting down at the dinner table, opening my acceptance letters and realizing that there would be no way we could afford a four-year institution,” Sánchez González recalled. “Unfortunately, my story is not unique to me. Many individuals from historically underrepresented backgrounds are discouraged or not encouraged to pursue higher education. If two-year institutions were not available, individuals like me would not even get a fighting chance to accomplish their educational vision.”
“As an immigrant and a first-generation college student, MCC offered me a pathway towards achieving my goals. MCC not only made college a more affordable option, but it also served as the platform to build my self-efficacy through invaluable experiences that continue to impact my life to this day.”
Her induction into Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society at MCC allowed Sánchez González to achieve a number of firsts: attendance at a professional conference, opportunities to engage in community service, travel to a distant location without her family, and discover the important role a mentor can play in one’s life.
“Kelley Conrad, my PTK advisor at that time, showed me the meaning of that word through her support and investment in my career goals,” said Sánchez González.
“Perhaps for some people, my aforementioned experiences may seem silly or insignificant, but I can assure you that for someone with my background those experiences are life changing,” she continued. “Thanks to MCC’s community and their commitment to MCC’s mission, I gained invaluable experiences and skills that have shaped my academic path.”
After graduating from MCC, Sánchez González earned a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University. She earned both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Texas A&M University.
In September 2018, Sánchez González gained admittance to a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Rehabilitation Psychology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and, last November, joined the faculty as a clinical psychologist working with patients and families to manage physical, cognitive, behavioral and emotional problems related to living with or recovering from an injury or illness.
“Many people have asked me why I continue to keep my community college experience in my Curriculum Vitae to which I always respond, because it tells part of my story, a story that I am deeply proud to share,” concluded Sánchez González.
Alumni Achievement Award at MCC
The Alumni Achievement Award recognizes alumni within 15 years of graduating from MCC for their extraordinary professional accomplishments. Award recipients are selected based on the following criteria:
- MCC college career – The nominee must have earned an associate’s degree or certificate, or completed a minimum of 50 credit hours at Muskegon Community College and have demonstrated a record of excellence in academics and extracurricular participation.
- Professional and Community Achievement – The nominee must have distinguished himself or herself through achievement or advancement in his or her career, earned degrees, professional training, professional recognition and/or outstanding contributions to his or her field. Nominee shall have demonstrated a record of community participation and involvement.
- Availability – In addition to the above criteria, the nominee must be available to attend the Alumni Awards Dinner prior to Commencement.
Do you know an outstanding recent MCC alumnus?
If you would like to nominate for the 2020 Alumni Achievement Award, please use the online form linked below. All fields must be filled out to qualify. Note: it is recommended you have all information on the nominee in hand before filling out the nomination form. Self-nominations are accepted. The form requires all contact information, and additional information as noted above. The deadline for 2021 nominations is December 31, 2020.