Graduation Is Just the Beginning

Gabi Amistani sitting on road and smiling surrounded by forest.
Jared Libby

Gabi Amistani is this year’s Sam Lieberman Regents’ Award for Student Scholarship winner, representing one of our best and brightest at TMCC. As an outstanding undergraduate scholar, Amistani has distinguished herself through academic achievements, leadership ability, and service contributions at the College.

Amistani will be one of the many proud individuals graduating, with both an Associate of Science and Associate of Arts degree, during TMCC’s Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 12, 2023, at Lawlor Events Center, 1664 N. Virginia Street. A fervent admirer of all devices capable of flying, she has worked tirelessly to lift up off the ground with her own successes in a short amount of time, and begin to soar in the realm of aerospace engineering. Her next goal is graduating with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno. Amistani is one ace student who has no intention of flying too close to the sun.

Let Your Dreams Take Flight

Amistani is a Reno native and was homeschooled for the majority of her life. It was a serious transition to TMCC High School her sophomore year, and the anxiety felt overwhelming at first. Note taking? What was that? All of her resources had been available online before! She had to get organized, and quickly. We’ve all been there: An instructor clicks a remote to switch slides, and you’re stuck writing halfway through a sentence that is doomed to remain incomplete. Nobody wants to be the person who asks them to go back either, right?

Amistani would sharpen her organizational skills with earnestness, adapting to a new educational system that wanted her to thrive fluidly in her studies. Deadlines were a concept she was sorely unfamiliar with, but learned the value of turning in assignments in a prompt manner.

With welcoming spirits and determination to see her succeed, professors showed their support for Amistani, and instilled in her the motivation she needed to chart her own career path. She was going to undertake our Engineering Program, and become an expert in aerospace technology. For her, it is rocket science.

Amistani has always enjoyed building, designing, and working with her hands. Planes, rockets, and drones have evolved tremendously over the years, and as we look towards the future, we’ll require capable engineers like Amistani to facilitate their safety and progress. There’s a reason why she’s accomplished so much at such a young age: She is devoted to her field! She couldn’t have arrived here without some help along the way, of course.

Dan Loranz, Professor of Physical Sciences, Kurt Ehlers, Professor of Mathematics, and Casey Machen, Professor of Mathematics, are three instructors who have played a tremendous role in Amistani’s growth in her educational endeavors.

“They are extremely good professors. Loranz teaches physics as well as engineering. He tries to help you understand the subject matter, and welcomes office hours, keeping in touch with students who pursue areas that he enjoys,” said Amistani.

“Kurt is also an amazing teacher. You can always ask him questions. He has so many connections, and he’ll find what you’re looking for. He tells you stories, and I love it!” continued Amistani.

“For Casey, I would say that he has helped me tremendously! He has been an amazing mentor and assisted me wherever he could. He worked closely with me while I applied for the Honors College at UNR. He also nominated me for the scholarship and always challenged me. He continues supporting me throughout school, even though I am not his student anymore.”

That’s no surprise. Our students share many diverse stories with us about their academic experience at TMCC, but almost all of them universally applaud our treasured faculty for the invaluable encouragement they’ve provided over the course of their college careers. Amistani has certainly felt appreciative of how close she’s become with her teachers, and those connections will transcend far beyond the classroom.

Sam Lieberman Regents’ Award for Student Scholarship Winner

When asked what she thinks about being the winner of this year’s prestigious Regents’ Award, Amistani is humble and grateful.

“It means so much to me. I never thought I would win it! When Casey told me he needed some of my information because he nominated me, I almost started crying. I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ It surprised me,” said Amistani.

Amistani has been crushing her goals since high school, completing nearly 90 credits in an incredibly short amount of time. All-nighters and hardly a wink of sleep became routine, but her dedication has rewarded her restless evenings at last!

“It was worth it, and I don’t regret anything, but I wish I took more breaks. By the time I got to college, I felt burnt out. I was so tired! In my senior semester, I averaged about three hours of sleep, with two all-nighters every week. If I could give advice to my past self, I would say to have a little more fun,” said Amistani.

That’s when she’s not assisting 50–100 students each day as a Supplemental Instructor at the Tutoring and Learning Center (TLC), offering guidance on fundamental problem-solving that she’s also endured throughout her curriculum. Amistani mirrors the goodwill shown to her throughout her higher education journey, making the rounds at every table and fostering a collaborative environment where the variables are greater than or equal to personal growth.

“It was funny. I didn’t know I had received the award at first! It was sent to all the faculty, including me. My boss came up and said, ‘You won this award and didn’t tell us?!’ I was thrilled! The first thing I did, cause everybody in the TLC already knew, was run to my physics teacher Dan Loranz and said, ‘I won! I did it!’” recalled Amistani.

The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It

Amistani has tremendous aspirations for her future, and she’s already cemented her abilities as an industrious and determined soon-to-be engineer. There are just a few road markers along the highway to professional affluence that she would like to cross off her list. So, what’s next?

After attaining her bachelor’s, Amistani has her sights set on earning a master’s degree at UNR. The ultimate dream: Acquiring a position at NASA or SpaceX, applying her engineering talent to the ever-advancing space technology arena. After she’s polished her aerospace expertise, Amistani intends to try her hand at constructing satellites and rocket ships for cosmic exploration. It’s no joke saying that she is shooting for the stars!

In the meantime, she’ll keep on thriving to her fullest. Enjoying the serene air of nature, actively playing softball or baseball with friends and family, traversing rugged mountain sides on hikes, wading through cascades in rivers while kayaking, and staying peacefully elevated above the cerulean surface of the water when paddleboarding. She plans to obtain her private pilot’s license, too, fulfilling her yearning to take to the seemingly boundless skies.

“What I love about TMCC is that you’re on a first name basis with your professors, so you feel more comfortable and are able to ask them more questions. You get to know them more as people. They try to guide you. Even in high school, I’ve known some kids who wanted to get ahead. If you do, you should go to TMCC. The teachers are great, and I’ve never had a complaint about them. That applies to all of the college instructors as well!” said Amistani.

Congratulations, Gabi! We wish you nothing but the best.

For more information about our Engineering Program, please visit our website.