Six alumni recognized with Legacy Awards at Celebration of Giving
Monday, September 18, 2023
Written by: Michael Raptis
Photo: (L-R) Chair of the Alumni Leadership Team Sheryl Mays, Pedro Armona, Cate Kandle, Shelly Allen, Amber Clore Morales, Dr. Molly Kostenbauder, Tim Smith, President Dr. Georgia Lorenz.
The Seminole State College Alumni Association proudly announced the recipients of the 2023 Alumni Legacy Awards at the annual Celebration of Giving Event held on Sept. 12. The six recipients were recognized during the event, held in conjunction with the Foundation for Seminole State College, for their significant contributions to the community, their leadership and the lives they have transformed.
Distinguished Alumni Award
In 1984, Tim Smith joined Wharton-Smith Construction when he was 16 years old, working his way up the ladder through college, earning full-time employment in 1991. During nearly 40 years of growth and change, Smith has served the company in many roles including cleaning crew, field engineer, estimator, project engineer, project executive, quality control director, vice president and president.
Smith took classes at Seminole State as a dual enrollment student prior to receiving his bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University and used Seminole State classes to bolster his second bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Central Florida (UCF).
On top of being a professional engineer and a licensed general contractor, Smith is committed to the Central Florida community. He actively supports Kids House, Leadership Seminole, Habitat for Humanity, Seminole State College, UCF and the Central Florida Zoo. UCF recognized Smith as well with a Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering achievement award.
Alumni Excellence Honorees
Starting her college education in her thirties, Shelly Allen obtained her associates degree in public relations and advertising at the College in 2018 before going on to obtain her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida (UF), graduating Magna Cum Laude both times. Now, as the director of public affairs for a locally owned solar company, Allen is responsible for supporting the organization’s advocacy and community outreach efforts.
In 2017, Allen co-founded the Sanford Porchfest Corporation and serves as the communications officer and vice president. This volunteer-based corporation donates 100% of its proceeds from the annual music festival to fund youth art programming and fine art scholarships through various beneficiaries, including Seminole State. To date, the organization has given $131,000 back to the community to support the arts. In 2022, Allen was named an Orlando 40 Under 40 Honoree and was awarded Solcium’s Illuminated Individual Award in 2023. In her free time she enjoys traveling with her husband, going to concerts and paddleboarding.
Amber Clore Morales
A.Clore Interior’s CEO Amber Clore Morales is a licensed interior designer who has been practicing for over 15 years. After attending Seminole State for her associates degree in 2004, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and grew her passion for interior design into a prominent business. Clore Morales’s work has been featured on several design shows and media outlets like HGTV, Houzz, Fox35 Good Day Orlando, CBS and others. She has spoken at conferences and events including the Sanford Home and Garden Show, American Society of Interior Designers Florida North and more.
She is a member of the Rotary Club of Avalon Park and on the executive council for Leadership Seminole as well as the advisory council for the interior design program at Seminole State. She has previously served on the Alumni Leadership Team and is a community representative for the Dream Gala Events Committee.
Dr. Molly Kostenbauder
Dr. Molly Kostenbauder received her Associate in Arts degree from Seminole Community College in 1998. She went on to graduate from the UF with a focus in animal science and worked as a 4-H agent, educating the youth of Highlands County, before she returned to UF for a master’s degree in animal science. Shortly after graduating in 2001, she had the opportunity to return to Seminole State as a retention specialist for healthcare students. While working as the coordinator of healthcare programs, her desire to continue learning took her to UCF to complete a doctorate in higher education and policy studies and a graduate certificate in public health in 2016.
During her 20 years at Seminole State, she has had the unique opportunity to work in both student and academic affairs, which provided her with an understanding of College processes and a strong network of experts to help students. She became the associate vice president for the School of Business, Health and Public Safety at Seminole State in 2022.
Honors Alumni Award
Catheryn “Cate” Kandle graduated from the College in 2017, receiving the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship and continuing her education at Unity College in Maine to receive her bachelor's degree in sustainable agriculture. After graduating, Cate interned for Fleet Farming in Orlando and took her first full-time farm job managing 20 acres of fruit and vegetable production in Fort Myers.
Kandle is now the owner and operator of Open Hands Farm in Longwood. She sells her produce at farmer’s markets and shares a portion of the produce at no cost with the Longwood Hills Congregational Church Food Pantry. The food pantry serves approximately 40 families per week and Kandle is starting to offer low-cost gardening workshops for community members.
Outstanding Graduate Award
Pedro Armona graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2023 with his Associate in Arts. As an active student and ambassador for the Grindle Honors Institute, he fiercely advocated for students to join the honors program and worked to hold events that helped build a tight-knit community. Armona also served as the student affairs committee chair for the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus Student Government Association, where he highlighted the resources of the College to students and connected new students with faculty members. During his time at the College, he attended multiple conferences and presented research on the effectiveness of the College’s First Year Experience class.
Armona is currently a student at UCF in the Burnett Honors College and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After completing his degree, he aspires to work as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. intelligence community, motivated by a desire to help defend national security.
The Seminole State College Alumni Association and the Foundation for Seminole State College extend their heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors and partners. Their unwavering support has continuously transformed the lives of our students. We proudly recognize our incredible alumni and their accomplishments and eagerly anticipate their continued success in the coming years.
The Foundation for Seminole State College, founded in 1968, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that enhances the College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. For more information, visit www.seminolestate.edu/foundation or email the Foundation directly at email@example.com.About the Seminole State College Alumni Association
Since 1966, Seminole State College of Florida has awarded more than 100,000 degrees and certificates. The Alumni Association provides benefits and services for all alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida. It also provides opportunities for alumni to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College.
Whether you've earned a degree or a certificate, or enrolled in just one course, you're a Seminole State alumnus, and we want you to enjoy the benefits of maintaining a relationship with the College. The Alumni Association is here to help you stay connected to Seminole State through various platforms and initiatives.
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