Rockland Community College Student and Mentor Receive National Recognition

Rockland Community College student, Christopher Raetz, and faculty member, Amanda Feeney, have been named winners of the 2023 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Student Essay Contest. Christophers essay titled “Amanda Feeney’s Mentorship on My Personal and Professional Growth” was chosen as one of the top three essays out of more than 140 outstanding contest entries nationwide.

Raetz is a non-traditional student who recently completed his Graphic Design Associate’s degree at Rockland Community College. After spending 16 years in the restaurant industry, Raetz decided to follow his dream of becoming a graphic artist and applied to RCC. Since then, he has joined the Street Team, a student-led marketing group, and has been responsible for several projects across campus. Largely due to this mentorship, Raetz will be transferring to SUNY Purchase, a distinguished liberal arts school, in the fall of 2023 to major in Graphic Design and minor in Arts Management.

“I am honored as a graphic design student to have been awarded the NISOD Excellence Award. When I
saw what the theme of the essay was, I knew I had to articulate how much I have grown from the
mentorship I received from Professor Amanda Feeney. She opened doors to large scale projects, gave
me creative freedom, and believed in and trusted me, which motivates me every day” said Raetz.
Amanda Feeney is an employee at Rockland Community College who manages the Street Team and teaches Digital Art. She has been instrumental in guiding and mentoring Raetz throughout his academic journey. Raetz’s winning essay highlights Feeney’s positive impact on his personal and professional growth. The most notable being her encouragement to develop his talent and skills in Graphic design, providing him with scholarship and grant opportunities that allowed him to continue his schooling, and
inspiring him to mentor other students.

As winners of the NISOD Student Essay Contest, Raetz and Feeney each received $1,000 and a trip to the International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Austin, Texas in May.
“We are thrilled to see Christopher and Amanda recognized nationally for their outstanding
collaboration” said Dr. Susan Deer, Officer in Charge at RCC. "This is a testament to the talent and
dedication of our students and faculty, and we are proud to have them represent our College at the

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