Carla Stephany (left) receives Moraine Park’s Student Veteran of the Year award from Dr. Stanley Cram, Vice President of Student Affairs.

Carla Stephany, an engineering student and veteran of the United States Air Force, has earned Moraine Park Technical College’s first-ever “Student Veteran of the Year” award. Stephany is a Calumetville, Wis., native, and a graduate of New Holstein High School.

This award helps close out a special time for the College, which chose its 2016-17 academic year as its “Year of the Student Veteran” and hosted numerous veteran-related events since August to celebrate, honor and remember those who have served.

Stephany received the College’s inaugural “Student Veteran of the Year” award at Moraine Park’s student awards banquet on May 12. Though she felt honored by this recognition, Stephany said simply having served her country in the first place is her greatest honor.

“One of the Air Force core values is service before self. Sometimes this translates and, honestly, I don’t feel like I’m much different than any other veteran, community-involved student. I tell folks it was an honor to serve, for those who wanted to, but couldn’t,” Stephany said.

Still, it was clear that Stephany was an exemplary student worthy of such recognition, according to Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Pepper, U.S. Army (Ret), and Moraine Park’s Student Veteran Specialist.

“Carla has amazed me with how quickly she’s committed herself to Moraine Park and how naturally she has fallen into a role of mentor, assisting students even though she has a full schedule of her own. As a single parent of three children, Carla continues to be an active contributing member of the community and the College,” Pepper said, noting her strength of character and compassion for others is known around Moraine Park, by faculty and fellow students alike.

Stephany’s career goals include building and growing Riveter Construction and Engineering, a veteran- and woman-owned construction contracting business she helped form. She is also passionate about helping women to get more involved in the trades like the Rosie’s did In World War II and is hopeful to partner with a nationwide, nonprofit in these efforts.

Getting Moraine Park’s “Student Veteran of the Year” honor is a special way to hopefully draw attention to this goal.

“To blaze a trail in helping increase the number of women serving honorably, to be part of something greater than yourself [is my focus], so receiving this honor is humbling. I’m never in this to get recognized for any of it … but being nominated and voted for doing good things and being recognized as a patriot who served is just an unbelievable compliment,” Stephany said.

For more information on Moraine Park’s veterans services, visit morainepark.edu/veterans.