News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: September 2, 2004 (04-73) 

NOTE TO EDITORS: A high-resolution image to accompany this story is available at /news/highresolutionimages/04/graves.jpg

 Montgomery College’s Denise Simmons Graves
Named Md. Outstanding Educator
Rockville Campus Counselor Honored as Advisor/Mentor
by Md. Association for Higher Education 

            Professor Denise Simmons Graves, a counselor at Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus, has been named the 2004 Maryland Outstanding Educator in the adviser/mentor category by the Maryland Association for Higher Education, a professional organization for postsecondary educators in the state.  Graves will receive her award at the MAHE fall conference on October 22 at Bowie State University.

            “Denise Simmons Graves is truly an outstanding educator, advisor and mentor,” said Dr. Charlene Nunley, president of Montgomery College.  “This award is a perfect acknowledgement of all that she has done in her years at Montgomery College to help our students succeed personally and academically.  We are lucky to have her at Montgomery College.”

            Graves, a Baltimore resident, became a Montgomery College faculty member in 1990.  Since then, she has counseled and advised countless students about their academic, personal, and career concerns, helping them achieve their educational goals. 

“About three and a half years ago, my brother was killed and Mrs. Graves was just a phone call away,” said Montgomery College student Tiffane Sanders.  “While she was on summer vacation with her family thousands of miles away from me, she called every day, a few times a day, to see if I was all right and if there was anything that she could do for my family and me.  This selfless act of kindness showed me that she is a genuine, sincere and authentic person.” 

For the past three years, Graves has served as one of the two counselors assigned to work with Montgomery College’s Montgomery Scholars program, an academically rigorous two-year honors program for a select group of Montgomery College students who wish to transfer to the nation’s top universities. 

Working with transfer students and helping them win scholarships is one of Graves’ special areas of interest.  She currently serves on the collegewide transfer scholarship coordinating committee.  In 2000, she coordinated the Montgomery College student applications for the Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship program.  There were 26 Montgomery College students awarded scholarships, more than any institution of higher learning in the state of Maryland, to cover all their expenses at their transfer institutions of choice.  Last year, Graves created the Maryland Community College Transfer Scholarship program effort with Morgan State University.  A total of 14 Montgomery College students have earned full scholarships to MSU.  Graves also chairs Montgomery College’s committee which nominates students for Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships, a national undergraduate scholarship program for transfer students.  In two years, three Montgomery College students have received the prestigious scholarships.

In addition to counseling, Graves teaches courses in basic reading, study skills, college survival, and career development.  She also leads seminars for Montgomery College’s international students.  For her commitment to students, Graves was a recipient of Montgomery College’s 2004 Outstanding Faculty Service Award. 

Graves has a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from the University of Louisville, and a master’s degree in student affairs administration from Indiana University.  She earned her master’s degree in reading education from Towson State University in 1997. 

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development and continuing education centers in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and  Silver Spring. The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and non-credit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.