Capital Community College: Capital Community College to recognize four alumni at Virtual Changing Lives celebration on Friday, October 22
10 October 2021
Four inductees at the Capital Community College Alumni Wall of Fame will be recognized in a virtual life-changing celebration on Friday, October 22, 2021, continuing an annual event that has supported Hartford’s two-year public college scholarships and programs since 2004 .
The Changing Lives celebration, which will take place on the downtown campus from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will focus on the new work-study programs of the School of Workforce and Education. Permanent College studies that lead to “a first job, a better job and a career” as students gain specialist knowledge and referrals for immediate jobs and opportunities to pursue higher education. The alumni winners will share their stories in a program that will feature Island Reflections Dance Company and singer from Hartford Nidayah Bolling. The net proceeds will benefit the College’s work-study programs and scholarships.
Support the celebration of changing lives
The 2021 inductees, who come from the fields of nursing, education and literacy, cybersecurity and insurance, include:
Carol V. Johnson (’71), EdD, is director and co-founder of the Hartford-based Center for Urban Education & Training (CURET), a community organization founded in 1991. CURET, partner of Hartford Public Schools, Capital Community College and other institutions, has provided adult literacy, parenting, health and civic literacy for residents and immigrants over its 30-year history. An Associate’s Degree from Greater Hartford Community College, Carol received her BA in Psychology and an MA in Evaluation and Statistics from Andrews University. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Hartford. Along with her husband, Dr Edgar Johnson, Carol edited and published the West Indian American newspaper, a voice for the greater West Indian community of Hartford.
Stephanie Knutson, (’95) RN, EdD is a Senior Training and Technical Assistance Associate for the Education Development Center (EDC). Retired from the CT Education Department as a School Health Administrator, Knutson is an accomplished educator and nursing leader in the areas of school nursing, health education and early childhood education. Knutson develops evidence-based tools, techniques and training for EDC’s National Center on Health, Behavioral Health and Safety. According to EDC, all of its work is focused on reducing health disparities, preventing chronic disease, and advancing knowledge about the central role of health in bridging the gap in opportunity. Prior to joining EDC, Knutson was a School Health Administrator and Nursing and Health Education Consultant for the Connecticut State Department of Education. She is the past president of the Connecticut Nurses Association (CNA) and is currently the membership assembly representative for the CNA executive committee. Knutson holds MSN and EdD degrees from the University of Hartford and a BS in Accounting from the University of Connecticut. After her undergraduate studies at UCONN, Stephanie enrolled in Capital Community College and obtained the Associate’s Degree in Nursing in 1995.
Rupesh Parajuli (’11) graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems (CIS) from Capital in 2011, then obtained a BS in Industrial Technology Networking and an MBA while working at Travelers. Rupesh was selected as an intern for Travelers EDGE as an undergraduate in capital and CCSU and now mentors and encourages others to pursue careers in insurance. Recently he was promoted to Director, Head of Business Information Security at Travelers where he began his career as a Network Engineer in 2013. Born in Nepal, Rupesh came to Hartford for his post-secondary education at Capital, balancing work. and full-time studies. led him to become an IT security professional with increasing responsibilities with his employer. A freelance translator, Rupesh is fluent in Hindi and Nepali. He resides in West Hartford with his wife and two young children.
BlÃ©rina (Bela) Pina (’12) is a Territory Manager and Contract Surety Specialist at Nationwide Insurance. She began her career at Travelers Insurance as an underwriter and financial analyst after obtaining her associate degree in management. At Capital Blerina, she was also selected as a Travelers EDGE intern under the Career Advancement Program (formerly Crossroads to Careers (C3)). She then obtained her accounting degree from Central CT State University (CCSU). In 2019, Blerina was elected to the Board of Directors of the CT Section of Professional Women in Construction (PWC). With her family, Blerina emigrated from Albania at a young age and attended Hartford Public Schools.
Parajuli and Pina are among Capital alumni over the past 12 years to be recruited for their high academic results into the Travelers EDGE program, a multi-college internship and mentorship initiative launched by the insurer at Capital in 2008.
Changing lives Registration and information
Individual contributions at the supporter ($ 100), friend ($ 50) and alumni ($ 25) levels and sponsorships are invited in support of the Changing Lives Celebration which will include the online silent auction. Best of Capital from October 18 to 22. Contributors will receive a Capital Changing Lives Backpack with special freebies. Supporting Changing Lives 2021 are corporate sponsors Liberty Bank and Travelers Insurance and patrons American Eagle Financial Credit Union, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Garcia and G. Duncan Harris, John Perkins, Lana and Surendra Bridglall.
The Capital Alumni Wall of Fame, launched at the 2019 Changing Lives Gala, is located in the Visitor Center on the 2nd floor of the College, near the Main Street windows and the Walter J. Markiewicz Community Hall. Photos and biographies of inductees are featured alongside a permanent Wall of Fame plaque recognizing a class of alumni each year.
This press release was produced by Capital Community College. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.