Mid-East Names 2017 Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees


This year the Mid-East Career and Technology Centers Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame recognized six outstanding alumni as truly exceptional examples of success in their chosen career paths. This marks the 15th year for the hall of fame and a total of 61 inductees. Each year the community submits nominees for the award and nominees are asked to complete an application. The applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of community members. Inductees are selected based on career success, community involvement, accomplishments and recognition, and answers to a series of reflective questions regarding their personal experiences. The 2017 Hall of Fame inductees are as follows:

Penny Evans

Penny graduated in 2007 from the Digital Media Program and Zanesville High School. Upon her graduation, she went on in Electronic Media at Ohio University, Zanesville and eventually pursued more education in graphic design and then in photography at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. With the completion of some marketing training she opened Penny Claire Photography in 2014. She continues to be the sole proprietor of the company handling all aspects of the business from photography, to marketing and advertising.

Penny’s photography has appeared on blogs such as Seniorology, The Twelfth Year, and The Senior Style Guide. She was featured as a 2016 Top 25 Up & Coming Senior Photographer in the Twelfth Year’s special edition printed magazine which is sold all over the nation. Penny also gives back to Mid-East as a member of the Digital Media Program’s Advisory Committee. 

Penny says, “The best part about career and technical education is the overall atmosphere. There are events, assemblies, trips, hands-on experiences, instructors who are there to prepare you for your future in the real world, and classmates who are also team mates.”

Cathy Learn

Cathy graduated in 1981 from the Adult Practical Nursing Program. After graduating from the program, she was encouraged by her instructors to go to Ohio University where she completed her RN Degree. She worked at Bethesda Hospital on the medical/surgical floor and then the OB unit. A then Mid-East Board Member who was also a nurse at Bethesda Hospital encouraged her to apply for a teaching position. She was hired and has been employed here since 1985 in various positions in the high school and adult nursing programs. She currently serves as the Health Occupations Coordinator. Cathy holds a Masters Degree in both Nursing and Education.

Cathy is a recipient of the YWCA Women of Achievement Award, past president of the Zanesville Downtown Association, past board member of the Muskingum Valley Red Cross and Muskingum Valley Family Y, a Christ Table Food Pantry Volunteer, a life member at Chandlersville United Methodist Church, and an advisor and judge for Muskingum Valley Extension 4-H. She is a member of the American and Ohio Nurses’ Associations, the National League for Nursing, the Genesis Cancer Coalition Council and the Ohio Organization of Practical Nurse Educators.

Cathy says she would recommend Mid-East to others because, “it prepares the graduate for their field of work and inspires the individual to achieve more.”



Cheyenne Matz

Cheyenne graduated in 2010 from the Cosmetology Program and Zansville High School. After graduating from the program she started her career at Brenwood Salon where she was a stylist for seven years. During her time there, she became a Master Stylist which enabled her to teach classes in the salon and to other teammates. In 2017 Cheyenne became employed at Studio Blu in Zanesville where she is currently employed. Cheyenne has also earned her Managing Cosmetology License, certification with Dream Catchers Hair Extensions, and worked with BaByliss Pro backstage at the Columbus Hair Show.

Cheyenne is actively involved in our community. She participates in career days at Maysville Local School and giving complimentary haircuts for Foxfire Community School students and nursing home residents. She also gives back to Mid-East presenting at Employability Expos, judging hair competitions, and serving on the Cosmetology Program’s Advisory Committee. 

Cheyenne says, “The staff at Mid-East go above and beyond to make sure each student is headed in the right direction in life. If it weren’t for my education at Mid-East, I wouldn’t be where I’m at in life.”

Erick Sharp

Erick graduated in 2001 from the first Mid-East Residential Commercial Electricity Program and Cambridge High School. After graduating from the high school he attended MATC where he earned his Associate of Technical Studies Degree in Industrial Engineering. His career started with Edgetech (now Quanex) as an engineering technician. Through Edgetech he learned about rubber and silicone technology. After earning rubber and silicone certification classes through the University of Akron, he accepted a 14-month assignment in the United Kingdom where he launched new silicone operations to support Edgetech’s European growth. In 2011 he left Quanex to become the Director of Operations for Portage Precision Polymers where he launched a silicone compounding plant in Mogadore, Ohio allowing Portage to become the first compounder offering rubber and silicone compounds to the industry. In 2014 when Portage sold to Hexpol, Erick began his own company, ACE Products & Consulting, LLC. ACE expanded in December of 2016 with the opening of a rubber development lab located in Akron, Ohio.

Erick has presented at the 2016 International Silicone Conference, 2014 and 2016 International Elastomer Conferences. He has had three technical articles published in Rubber World Magazine and was one of the founding members of the Portage County Manufacturing Collation, which works to promote skilled trade opportunities within local high schools, technical schools and colleges. He is a member of the ACS Rubber Division, the Ohio Rubber Group, and the Association of Rubber Product Manufacturers. In his community, Erick has worked with his wife to develop a special needs ministry at their church, Compass North Church, called iFit Ministries. He also leads the church Finance and Growth team. He volunteers as a parent collaborator for Kent State’s parent collaboration and actively supports and sponsors several autism-related research studies and charities. 

Erick says, “The staff at Mid-East helped me realize I was capable of doing bigger things. Choosing to go to Mid-East has been the best career decision I have made in my life.”

Christofer T. Smith

Christofer graduated from the Digital Media Program and Caldwell High School in 2005. After graduating from high school he earned a Bachelor’s degree in communication specializing in Media Arts Studies from Ohio University. From 2007 to 2011 he served as the director and producer at WHIZ Media Group. From 2011-2013 he was a content and production intern for the Cleveland Browns. He went on to become the assistant producer of in-game entertainment at Bowling Green State from 2012-2014 and the Coordinator of New Media at Miami University from 2014-2016. He is presently a video producer at Ohio University where he is also currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Education.

Christofer was a 2013 Bowling Green State University Athletics Roll on Award Winner, 2013 Silver and Bronze award winner at the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators for a promotional video and t-shirt design, and he directed, shot and edited a promotional video for Bowling Green State University that had over 50,000 views and was played on ESPN. He has also mentored students who now work at NFL Films, Penn State Athletics, Liberty University Athletics and other production companies.

Christofer says, “The skills I learned while at Mid-East helped prepare me not only to work in my field, but also made the transition to college easier. Mid-East helped me get hands-on training that I wouldn’t have received at my high school.”

Sandra Y. Walker

Sandra graduated from the Adult Practical Nursing Program in 1975. After graduating from the program, she earned her Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing and Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from OUZ and her Masters of Science in Nursing from Wright State. She received post-graduate certifications as a Life Care Planner from Capital University Law School; in Nursing Education from Mount Carmel College of Nursing, and in Legal Nurse Consulting, She also earned her Executive Juris Doctor from Concord Law School. For 30 years she worked in area hospitals in direct patient care up through senior executive positions. Since 2004 she has worked in academia as faculty, program director and now dean. She is also involved in local, state and national initiatives.

Sandra regularly publishes a column on legal issues in Nursing Education for the journal: Teaching and Learning in Nursing. She is on the steering committee for the Ohio Action Coalition, the Education Advisory Group for the Ohio Board of Nursing, the Board of Directors for the Ohio League for Nursing, the Board of Directors for the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing, and the Board of Directors for Muskingum County Adult and Child Protective Services. She also gives back to Mid-East by serving on the Advisory Committee for the Health Occupations Programs.

Sandra says, “Mid-East helped me to build a career pathway that I otherwise may never have been able to travel. The skills I learned there built a strong basis for my nursing career- these skills are still a part of my life today.”  


Pictured are inductees (l to r) Erick Sharp, Cheyenne Matz, Penny Evans, Christofer Smith, Sandra Walker and Superintendent Dr. Richard Hall. 

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