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Two Edmonds College students honored with Transforming Lives awards


The Edmonds College Board of Trustees recognizes Jessica Davila as the 2022 Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT) Transforming Lives award recipient, and Jeanett Quintanilla as the Edmonds College Board of Trustees 2022 Transforming Lives award recipient.


Jessica Davila and EC Board of Trustees Chair Wally Webster pose with award outside
Above: Jessica Davila and EC Board of Trustees Chair Wally Webster (Photo credit: EC, Arutyun Sargsyan)

Chair Wally Webster states, “The Board of Edmonds College is deeply committed to and inspired by the success of our students, many of whom overcome significant obstacles in order to achieve their educational goals. Jessica’s story demonstrates the many challenges our students face. We are so proud of her and her accomplishments. We are honored to recognize Jessica as this year’s ACT Transforming Lives award recipient.”

Jessica felt the pain of addiction first hand. She was a teen mom, which prevented her from  completing high school, although she later went on to receive her GED through a community college. Her parents both struggled with addiction, and she eventually followed their path, becoming addicted to alcohol, and later prescription narcotics and heroin. Jessica’s addiction landed her in prison, during which time she lost custody of her children.

While incarcerated, Jessica had the opportunity to take college classes, where she received the help and support she needed to apply for financial aid, and admissions to local colleges.

In the intervening six years since her release, Jessica has been clean and regained custody of her children. Jessica adds, “College was a big part of what helped me stay clean. People in early recovery need to stay busy, and college did that for me. It also allowed me to pursue a degree that means something, and that I’m passionate about. I used all the resources the college had to help me prepare academically for college. I learned quickly that colleges have patient, compassionate people wanting to help.”

Jessica is currently in her last quarter at EC and is now a certified substance use disorder professional in training. Jessica is looking forward to graduation and shortly afterwards will sit for her state certification exam. Upon successfully passing the exam, Jessica will be a fully certified substance use disorder professional.

Jessica adds, “The best advice I would give other students is to not let your history predict your future. It doesn’t matter where you came from, or how you were raised, you can control the outcome of your own success.”

Chair Webster adds, “The Board of Trustees of Edmonds College would like to recognize and honor Jeannett Quintanilla as the 2022 Edmonds College Board of Trustees Transforming Lives award recipient. Jeanett’s story of grit and determination serves as an inspiration to us all. We’re very proud of Jeanett, her accomplishments, and her commitment to serving her local community.”


Above: Jeanett Quintanilla and EC Board Chair Wally Webster pose outside with award
Above: Jeanett Quintanilla and EC Board Chair Wally Webster (Photo credit: EC Arutyun Sargsyan)

Jeanett states, “With determination and a never-give-up attitude, I was able to continue to study the paralegal program at Edmonds College with different scholarships that I received from the Edmonds College Foundation. Since that time, I have made a life in Washington. I have channeled extensive energy into ‘giving back’ to my Latino community as a volunteer interpreter at a free legal clinic at the Latino/a Bar association of WA. I believe that any student can succeed in this world with determination, discipline, and motivation, and then see the results as I did it at Edmonds College.”

Dr. Amit Singh, president of Edmonds College adds, “The stories Jessica and Jeanett shared with us about their lives remind us of the power of education to change lives. It is a humbling experience to have helped them along their journeys, and we look forward to hearing where their paths lead.”

The Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT) created the Transforming Lives Awards program in 2012 to recognize current or former students whose lives have been transformed by pursuing higher education at a community or technical college.

Davila was one of 34 Transforming Lives awardees from across the state who were selected by each college’s respective board of trustees and received a $500 award from the ACT. To view this year’s nominees and their stories, go to

The Edmonds College Board of Trustees Transforming Lives Awards program was established in 2021 and serves to augment the ACT award. 

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Karen Magarelli