In the Spotlight: Sept 24 Campus Connections

Student Profile
Daniel Gatchell, academic excellence

Daniel Gatchell will complete his Liberal Studies-History degree this semester with high honors and the distinction of serving as president of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society for most of the past year. But he’ll be back next fall to earn a second degree, this time in nursing.

Daniel arrived at SMCC in the summer of 2015 as part of the My Success program. He has excelled academically, taking as many honors courses as he could while compiling a 3.93 GPA. (His only blemish on an otherwise perfect academic record came in Algebra).

Beyond academics, Daniel honed his leadership skills while leading PTK and its Honors in Action project. That project, called “A Mile in Our Shoes,” involved sharing the stories of people from under- and misrepresented communities — immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, women — about the challenges they face.

When he’s not at school, Daniel enjoys interacting with the elderly, both at an assisted living facility in Portland where he works and with those who live in his neighborhood.

He plans to enter SMCC’s nursing program next fall, and upon completion work with the elderly, perhaps at a nursing home.

“I’ve gained an appreciation for hard work at SMCC. It’s also made me realize that there are so many people to turn to for help — both teachers and friends.”

Alumni Profile
Carly Cooke, jewelry maker

Taking classes at SMCC proved to be an important steppingstone in Carly Cooke’s career to the jewelry business she now owns.

After graduating high school, Carly left Maine and wandered around Australia, New Zealand, Central America and Mexico before landing in northern California, where she lived for four years making pottery that she sold at a local farmer’s market.

When she moved back to Maine, she focused on jewelry (rather than pottery) and took classes at SMCC, earning a Liberal Studies degree with a focus in Art. SMCC was the first place she ever took an intensive metalsmithing class; for the Fine Arts program’s Senior Exhibition in the fall of 2012, she showcased her jewelry during an exhibit at a Portland art gallery.

Carly continued to learn about the jewelry business while working at Folia, a jewelry store in Portland. In January of this year, she set out on her own, launching a business called Flux Jewelry Studio.

Working from a small studio in Westbrook, she specializes in custom jewelry while also selling lines of rings and necklaces through her website, at Folia and at another jewelry studio in the town of Deer Isle.

In looking back, she says the metalsmithing courses she took at and through SMCC were important steps to where she is now.

“I went to community college for some classes when I lived in California. So when I moved back to Maine, going to school was part of my lifestyle. SMCC was so affordable, and the campus is so beautiful.”