Riverton, WY — Tenacity and a heart for service made Myriah Deckard the right choice for Central Wyoming College’s Student of the Year, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Coralina Daly. Deckard, a second-year nursing student, has a disease that makes school especially difficult since symptoms worsen under stress but has made such an impact that three of her faculty put her forward for recognition.
“She has been an excellent student, a role model for her classmates, and has played an instrumental role in team building between the sophomore and freshman students,” says nursing instructor Melissa Sperry.
Deckard was surprised by the honor. She is in nursing school because she wants to help others the way key nurses helped her in the early days of her diagnosis, but she almost gave up on that goal. After finishing her prerequisite courses Deckard took a break from school and debated whether her body could handle the demands of the rigorous nursing program.
Ultimately, her friends tipped the scales. “They said, ‘You were built for this,” said Deckard. Now in her third semester, her days are not easy, but she has maintained a 4.0 GPA and found time to create a mentor program for new nursing students and provide feedback to faculty which has led to program improvements.
“When asked by faculty to create a video about a personal medical experience she has, Myriah hesitated, thought about it and then chose to create the video because she had such an enlightening experience to share with the students that they cannot appreciate just from the lab that we complete,” wrote Nursing Professor Amy Hernandez in her nomination. Her peers reported that her story made it “the best lab ever.”
A critical element supporting Deckard’s success is using approved accommodations. “I had to advocate for myself,” she said. They made it possible for her to maintain her academic progress while she managed her disease. As a nurse, “I want to empower others and educate people to manage their health carefully.”
The runner-up was Jonas Calvert, a second-year student in art and chemistry who works as a tutor and makes a positive impression on everyone he works with, according to nominators. Semi-finalists were Oliver Bartel and Marcus Moore. Michael Sturgill, Kamille Stahle, and Hadyn Collie were also nominated.
“I am so impressed with the whole slate of students and grateful to them for bringing their positivity and work ethic to our CWC community,” said Daly.
With a mission to transform lives and strengthen communities through learning, leadership and connection, Central Wyoming College offers two bachelor’s degrees, 58 associate degrees and 10 certificates. The college includes the main campus in Riverton, an outreach center and the Alpine Science Institute in Lander, and outreach centers in Jackson and Dubois. Central Wyoming College is a designated Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution (NASNTI) and serves the largest American Indian student population in Wyoming.