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Montgomery College to Award Degrees and Certificates to 3,073 Students in Celebration of the 77th Graduating Class Friday, May 17

Dr. Jermaine F. Williams, Montgomery College President, to Deliver Commencement Address

Montgomery College will recognize the class of 2024 at the 77th Annual Commencement Exercises this Friday, May 17 at 10:30 a.m. on the Rockville Campus Athletic Field. The College will recognize students from the Germantown, Rockville and Takoma Park/Silver Spring campuses, Workforce Development and Continuing Education programs, the Board of Trustees Academic Excellence honorees, and the four honorary degree recipients. 

For the class of 2024 there will be 3,073 awardees, with 1,155 grads processing Friday. Representing at least 118 countries, the graduates mirror the vast diversity of Montgomery County. Specifically, graduating students identify themselves as: Asian (16%), Black/African American (23%), foreign students (10%), Hispanic (26%), White (21%), and Multiracial (4%).

Sixty eight percent of these students graduated from an MCPS high school. The graduating class is also diverse in ages: 3% are under 18 years of age, 11% are between 18-19 years old, 46% are between 20-24 years of age, and 30% are over the age of 35.

For more information about Friday’s ceremony including options for viewing at home, visit

The 2024 Board of Trustees Academic Excellence Award Honorees:

Charles David Thompson
Applied Technologies, Gudelsky Institute for Technical Education, and Workforce Development and Continuing Education

Mr. Charles David Thompson, an environmental horticulture major, is graduating with a 3.9 grade point average. He received the David M. Rubenstein Economic Club of Washington, D.C. and the Charles and Estelle Feigenbaum Scholarships for academic achievement.

He interned at the Washington National Cathedral’s historic Bishop’s Garden last summer, where he was mentored by industry leaders, and designed and maintained intricate landscapes. He also was an apprentice at McKnight Gardens. He volunteered with environmental restoration projects around Washington, specifically at Soapstone Creek. He tutored children at Unique Learning Center, in Washington, D.C. He also earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

When He transferred to York College, where he majors in environmental horticulture. He participates on Ultimate Frisbee team and in Young Life. He is also active in his church and community, leading service projects and mission trips. This week, he started an internship with the National Park Service as a field leader. He is a native Washingtonian and member of the Permaculture Club. Ultimately, he hopes to have a career in horticulture.

Jenifer Tatiana Navas Morales
Arts, Business, Education, English, and Social Sciences

Ms. Jenifer Tatiana Navas Morales, an early childhood education/special education major and member of Phi Theta Kappa, is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. 

Born in El Salvador, she came to the United States with her family at the age of four. A DACA recipient with limited funds, she entered the workforce after graduating from Magruder High School. Working at Bright Eyes Early Learning Center, she found her passion. She began taking certification courses - and wanted to pursue an associate’s degree. She has worked full time while attending classes. She made the Dean’s List every semester. In November 2023, she earned induction to Phi Theta Kappa.

Outside school and work, she directs her church’s food bank program, packing, transporting, and distributing essential goods to designated communities. She also directs the youth program and assists with teaching children. 

She will transfer to Towson University’s early childhood education program at the Universities at Shady Grove. Her goal is to become a first grade teacher. 

Joanee C. Dias
Communications, Health Sciences, Health and Physical Education, and Humanities

Ms. Joanee C. Dias, a criminal justice major and member of Phi Theta Kappa, is graduating with a 3.9 grade point average. She was a member of the Montgomery Scholars honors program. She served as a senator at large for one semester at the Rockville Campus. She received the Robert Gruenberg Memorial Endowed Scholarship and the Honors Scholar award.

While she attended school, she interned for Salvado Law, a defense firm. She helped minimize the language barrier many clients encountered when attempting to comprehend legal processes.

Last summer, she was an investigative intern at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. She worked on investigative tasks to provide the best defense for indigent community members.

She wants to be the voice for marginalized members of society. She hopes to obtain a juris doctorate and focus on public advocacy work. She believes equality and reform is an uphill battle, but if efforts are not persistent then progress will be stagnant. 

Monica Selene Escalante Escobar
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Ms. Monica Selena Escalante Escobar, an electrical engineering major and member of Phi Theta Kappa, is graduating with a 3.86 grade point average. Born and raised in El Salvador, she moved to the United States in 2012.

She is a member of Montgomery Scholars and the Southern Management Leadership Program. She was president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Club and treasurer of the Academic Development Club. She earned the Honors Scholars Award, the Excellence in Engineering Physics Award, the Dr. Harry Harden Jr. Student Academic Excellence Award, and was a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship.

Last summer, she led her team in the Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering Summer Program. She also interned at Farias Electrical Contractors. She volunteers for the First Aid Team at the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad. She will pursue certification for an Emergency Medical Technician this summer.

She will transfer to University of Maryland for a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. She hopes to inspire other first-generation students and be a leader in Engineers Without Borders. 

Robert Donald Walsh
Workforce Development and Continuing Education Apprenticeship Program

Mr. Robert Donald Walsh is completing a two-year apprenticeship program as an automotive technician. He is graduating with a 3.8 grade point average. He is enrolled in the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association apprentice-related instruction program. A two-year employee of Jim Coleman Cadillac, he will assume the role of automotive technician upon graduation.

A racing enthusiast, especially Formula Drift Car racing, he hopes to compete in the sport. He earned the rank of Black Belt in Budo Taijitsu martial arts and Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America. 

Having a sister with Down Syndrome, he regularly participates in charitable events and activities to raise awareness and social acceptance for people with disabilities. He currently volunteers as an assistant scoutmaster in his scout troop, helping younger scouts work toward the rank of Eagle Scout. 

He wants to continue his education and become one of the youngest Automotive Service Excellence certified master technicians in the area. Ultimately, he would like to own his own business. He resides in New Market.