Haywood Community College Cosmetic Arts student Kristen Mashburn is the recipient of the 2011-2012 Academic Excellence Award. The Academic Excellence Award is an opportunity for the North Carolina Community College System to showcase its students and their academic achievements and to highlight the work that the colleges do every day. One student is selected from each community college in the system. Recipients of the award must be currently enrolled, have completed at least 12 semester hours, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25.

Mashburn started her journey at HCC while still a sophomore at Tuscola High School. She was enrolled in Criminal Justice classes through the Huskins Program. “Being able to take these classes made it possible to still attend my high school classes but also to start my degree in Criminal Justice,” she explains. “I was able to continue in the Huskins Program until I was a senior in high school.”

Mashburn was elected by the cosmetology students to serve as Vice President of the Future Cosmetologist of America. She already has a diploma in Cosmetic Arts and will finish the Associate program this May. In the fall, she will continue her education in HCC’s Criminal Justice program.

By combining these two degrees, Mashburn hopes to be able to work as a paralegal in an office setting and eventually own her own salon which will allow her to show her creative and artistic spirit.

Mashburn says she enjoys coming to HCC for several reasons. “The instructors are all very helpful. I also like being able to take a combination of traditional and online classes. Another plus is learning entrepreneurship skills which have shown me how to put a whole business plan together.”

The Waynesville resident works full-time at Regis Salon in the Asheville Mall. She enjoys walking her dog in the park when time allows.

Mashburn was recognized as recipient of the Academic Excellence Award at a celebration in Raleigh recently. The NC Community College System enrolls more than 800,000 students each year and is at the forefront of education in the state.