Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) presented three alumni awards to graduates who demonstrated remarkable achievements in their careers with exceptional dedication to the populations they serve. The Outstanding Alumni Award, Transitions Alumni Award and John C. “Jay” Barker Community Service Alumni Award were announced at the college’s annual alumni reception on Dec. 8.
Outstanding Alumni Award
Garrett Martin (2009, digital media design technology) was named this year’s Outstanding Alumni Award recipient. Martin started his own photography company, Martin Digital, in 2005. From 2013-2016, Martin and three fellow COTC alumni operated Stand Alone Media House, a branding and advertising company. In 2018, Martin joined the team at Explore Licking County. As creative director, he established a new brand identity for the tourism bureau with in-house photography, web development and magazine production.
Explore Licking County Executive Director Dan Moder wrote, “It’s one thing to create beautiful, compelling marketing, but it’s quite another to have the technical ability to back up creative vision with trackable and quantifiable metrics that prove concepts are working. In this respect, Garrett is the total package, possessing skills I can only assume he began honing at COTC.”
Martin also spent many years as a part-time faculty member for COTC’s digital media design technology program, where he was instrumental in rewriting the curriculum in preparation for the quarter-to-semester conversion. He also developed two new courses for the program, Portrait Photography and Commercial Photography.
In addition to his professional achievements, Garrett is a founding board member of the Newark Organization for the Creative Arts (NOCA). The non-profit promotes and inspires creative arts in and around Newark and central Ohio. From hosting national touring musicians to being a home for young artists who wish to improve their crafts, he and his fellow board members work to provide the education, experience and resources necessary to foster innovative artistic endeavors that enrich our lives and are accessible and affordable to all community members.
Transitions Alumni Award
Vorley Taylor’s (1996, business management technology) work as the program manager of multicultural affairs at COTC and The Ohio State University at Newark earned her this year’s Transitions Alumni Award. She has been employed at the shared campus for more than 24 years, including 19 years within the Office of Student Life.
“Vorley is very passionate about her work and serves as a strong advocate for our students. She is willing to meet students where they are, helping them to realize their potential and mentoring them toward their personal growth and development,” wrote Holly Mason, associate dean of students/assistant director of student life. “Her one-on-one work with students is where she shines, and this can be seen in the intentional work she places into developing her student employees.”
Taylor has tirelessly developed relationships with internal and external partners to facilitate and grow educational and awareness opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members. By working with these fellow champions, she has been able to reaffirm the college’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.
One such example includes the annual Community Intercultural Relations Conference, which explores trending social and cultural topics with nationally known speakers to raise awareness and build an inclusive community. Another example is Diversity Through Artistry, a partnership between COTC, Ohio State Newark and Legend Elementary. The program encourages youth to use their imagination to express the meaning of diversity through various artistic mediums. As a result of the creativity and outreach involved with the program, Taylor received a state award from the Ohio College Personnel Association and a national award from the American College Personnel Association.
In addition to her professional achievements, Taylor takes pride in being involved in the community and helping others. She serves in a leadership role with the United Way of Licking County, advocates and provides services to military families through various outreach programs and participates in events with the Buffalo Soldiers organization.
John C. “Jay” Barker Community Service Alumni Award
As a student, Bryanna Stigger (2010, business management technology) traveled overseas for the first time as part of the college’s inaugural Italian Immersion cultural exchange program. In many ways, that experience began a transformational journey of personal and professional growth that inspired her to dream bigger than she could have ever imagined. Today, she is a program manager of inclusive excellence at Ohio State’s College of Engineering and a doctoral candidate in Ohio State’s higher education and student affairs program.
“Bryanna is a trailblazer, advocate and activist for the underserved and underrepresented,” wrote her nominator. “Bryanna is an industrious, inspirational and energetic leader who possesses over a decade of diversity, equity and inclusion expertise. She works diligently to dismantle systemic racism and oppression while increasing cultural awareness and cultural responsiveness. She recognizes the importance of creating initiatives, support services and resources to educate, inform, empower and promote inclusive excellence.”
In her professional career, Stigger manages diversity education programs and professional development workshops to advance the diversity and inclusion mission and vision of Ohio State’s College of Engineering and Knowlton School of Architecture. She serves as the education specialist for inclusive excellence and diversity, equity and inclusion, diligently cultivating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all faculty, staff, and students alike.
In 2020, Stigger resurrected the Licking County NAACP, spearheading several inclusive programs and initiatives to support, educate and empower Licking County residents. Working with the Licking County Foundation, she helped establish the first-ever Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) scholarship in Licking County. She currently serves as an ex-officio board member of A Call to College and is an active volunteer with Par Excellence Academy, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross.
COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.