Student Spotlight - Azrael Howell

Why did you choose EvCC? 
I chose Everett Community College because of the beautiful campus, the variety of classes, the closeness to home and the way that EvCC cares about and supports their students. 

When I lost my job after working retail for 15 years, my wife encouraged me to pursue a new career in naturopathy. Over the years, I had done a lot of research into natural remedies to help friends and co-workers who were dealing with terminal diseases and other medical conditions. Now I have a passion for wanting people to think about their overall health in a holistic manner. I also want to be a philanthropist and provide help for those less fortunate than I am.

Losing my job turned out to be an amazing experience because it opened the door for me to come to EvCC. I knew people who attended that had a great experience. When I visited, I loved the energy and aesthetics of this campus and ultimately decided to become a student because of the strong science program.

What are you studying at EvCC? 
I’m earning my Associate in Arts and Sciences – Direct Transfer Agreement in medicine and dentistry and plan to graduate in Spring 2016.

What do you plan to do after EvCC? 
I’ll transfer to Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash., and plan to earn my bachelor’s degree in herbal science and master’s degree in naturopathic medicine and acupuncture. 

What leadership roles have you held at EvCC?
First I was a student senator. While serving in that role, I was part of the Achieving the Dream committee, which focuses on student success. I brought up the idea of forming a mentorship program for experienced students to coach new students, and the idea was accepted and later funded. The faculty and staff on that committee encouraged me to apply for the position as the mentorship program coordinator job, and I was hired. I started and now manage the PROPELS Mentoring program. 

I was elected ASB president in 2014-15 and reelected for the 2015-16 school year. I’ve served on college committees, volunteered at student events, worked with college administrators and the Board of Trustees, attended community events, and met with legislators in Olympia.

I’ve also helped facilitate the Diversity & Equity Center’s Real Talk, which is an open forum for students, staff and faculty to talk about social justice issues, current events and other topics. 

Why did you decide to get involved in student leadership? 
I wasn’t involved in any activities during high school, so this time around I wanted to completely embrace this experience in college. I had been in management for many years, and wanted to put what I learned to use in a different setting. Also, my name means “God is my help or aid,” so it was natural that I would do something that would help others succeed.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned as a student leader?
It is better to be a servant leader than an assertive leader. A leader gets more accomplished when the people they lead know they are on the same level. It’s humbling, and it inspires others to want to be at their best.

Who has helped you succeed at EvCC? 
Ever since I was a student senator, Jennifer Rhodes (Associate Dean of Student LIFE) has always supported me and encouraged me to do more. She supported my outside-the-box ideas, encouraged me to apply for ASB president and has always been very open and honest with me. 

A number of faculty and staff have helped me succeed: Allison Cohen, Jerod Grant, Abraham Rodriguez-Hernandez, Esther Moss, Linda Summers, Greg Hammond, John Olson, Pat Sisneros, David Beyer, Chris Quarles, Alyson Indrunas, Dennis Ryan, Jeff Iannone, Alanna Yang, Katherine Schiffner, Jenny Marin, Jo-Ann Sickles, Margaret Riordan, Mark Murphy, Fayla Schwartz, Melissa Geraghty, Ariana Stafford, Dan Murphy, Carrie Wyatt, Leslie Kikuchi, Sue Snow, Randy Jenny, Kerri Schwab, Heather Bennett, Lisa Marone, Chayuda Overby, Anisha Khatri, Marie Boyd, Krizia Cruz, Louis Harris, Flora Salto, Charles Gaines, Trisha Davies, Christine Wilson, Katie Jensen, Alison Stevens, Megan Moore, Visakan Ganeson, the advisors in Student LIFE, Deborah Newbury, Gina Myers, Mike Nevins and many more... 

Describe the best experience you had at EvCC. 
I attended a personal development training in L.A. recommended by my supervisor, called Momentum Education. Though not directly associated with the college, many staff and faculty have also attended this training.  The reason why it was the best experience is because my supervisor at the time (Allison Cohen) believed in my potential. This training helped me to identify the things that stood in the way of doing greater things in my life, and it also provided tools for me to overcome obstacles that I create. 

Another great experience was speaking at last year’s opening week breakfast to faculty and staff. I got a chance to meet many of the new faculty and staff, and speaking in front of a crowd that big was an exciting new experience. My biggest speaking audience would later come at the 2015-16 graduation.

What advice do you have for new students? 
In order to succeed you have to get involved. It gives you the ability to network and find resources to help you. Remember that your voice matters here at EvCC and anywhere you may go. 

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be undecided about your educational goals. It’s more important to be open and grow from your experiences in the classroom. Participation is another key. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially from your instructors. 

Understand who you are being as a student and how that reflects on your success. Are you giving 110 percent, or are you waiting till the last minute? (I admit I sometimes do that). 

And remember if you ever get stuck, we’ve got your back! Come find me and other student mentors at the PROPELS Mentoring program.