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PVCC Student Earns Puma Pin

PVCC Student Earns Puma Pin

Paradise Valley Community College has a long history of awarding the Puma Pin to faculty and staff who go above and beyond in representing the school’s Puma spirit. In recent years, PVCC President Dr. Paul Dale has extended that recognition to students who are observed exemplifying the college’s mission, vision and values.

Wesley Winter is one of these students whose act of kindness did not go unnoticed.

According to CliftonStrengths research, we are all born with 34 innate strengths; one of them being empathy. Winter exudes this characteristic with perfection. “It’s not a thought, I just do it instinctually,” he said.

A self-described outsider growing up, the Arizona native said he remembers struggling in school. He grew up with a learning disability, dyslexia, and found asking for help difficult himself.

So when he saw a fellow student in his math class struggling with the technological-side of college, he didn’t hesitate to offer assistance.

“Two rows ahead of me, an older gentleman was struggling with his MEID, Canvas, and using the MOER,” Winter explained. “I could tell he felt he was putting people out asking questions, so when the instructor suggested he go to the computer commons for support, I offered to walk with him and stayed with him while they figured out his technology.”

Winter understood that as a student from an older generation, working with technology has a bit of a learning curve. “There is a lot to learn online and I remember feeling overwhelmed when I started college,” he said. “If I have the opportunity to help someone out it’s a no brainer. Going the extra mile is really just an extra millimeter in most cases.”

“Wes went out of his way, above and beyond any expectation, and provided much needed support to a fellow student,” said Math Professor Jennifer Henderson, whose class they were in. “I was so impressed with Wes’ willingness to show kindness and compassion. He made that student feel comfortable and valued. PVCC is a community and Wes embodied that in his actions.”

Winter is working towards his associate’s degree in science with an emphasis on physics. He would like to continue on to an engineering physics program, focused on optics. In his free time, Winter enjoys hiking and connecting with people.

Winter also volunteered this Fall to be part of PVCC’s Peer Mentorship Program in which students reach out and help others adjust to college life and guide them through the hurdles a first-term student faces. It’s a great, organic way to facilitate connections amongst the students and presents a less threatening and more accessible avenue for those looking for support.

“The most efficient way to do something is through cooperation. Sometimes you have to give a little more than you receive,” he said.

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