Stefan Apperson honored with Sherrie & Daryl Parker Faculty Award

Yakima Valley College announces the selection of Information Technology Instructor Stefan Apperson as the 2024 recipient of the Sherrie & Daryl Parker Faculty Award. The award provides recognition to a full-time faculty member who, through extraordinary interactions and personal influence, motivates students toward greater academic and personal achievement. The selection is made by a committee from nominations submitted by students.

“I’m the product of a community college education,” says Apperson, who took courses at Clark College and Portland Community College before transferring and earning a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University. While working on a master’s degree in business administration from Oregon State University (OSU), Apperson was invited to serve as a graduate teaching assistant for OSU’s information systems program — something that changed the trajectory of his career.

“While I was in graduate school, I spent a lot of time in the computer lab. Eventually my instructor said, ‘You’re always here and seem to have a passion for this work. Maybe you should be a teaching assistant.’ I ended up running the student computer lab and helping students one-on-one and in small groups with web development and computer applications.”

After graduating, Apperson was working in the college’s alumni relations office and began teaching part-time at Linn-Benton Community College to help pay off his student loans more quickly.

“I realized what I really wanted to do was teach,” said Apperson, who started looking for opportunities to transition from an adjunct instructor to full-time teaching.  He ultimately secured a position with YVC’s Information Technology program in the fall of 2000.

Now he teaches courses in Java programming, C++ (an object-oriented programming language), networking fundamentals, and operating systems. He primarily teaches for YVC’s associate of applied science and computer science track. He also has taught upper division courses for the bachelor of applied science in information technology system administration and previously served as the IT program chair for six years.

“I’m passionate about technology and I really like turning other people onto technology and the things that you can do with it,” says Apperson. “Technology can be a challenge to everyone, and I think because I struggle with it sometimes that I can relate to students who also struggle. Sometimes I’m learning right alongside my students within a field that is constantly evolving. I really like the dynamic aspect of what I teach. I’m always learning.”

Apperson is a flexible instructor who ensures no matter what a student’s situation is, they can be successful in his courses and receive the assistance needed to master the course material.

“He is very straight forward with his expectations and students will know what they need to do right from the very first day,” says student Jason Taylor, who took several courses from Apperson in the computer science sequence. “Whenever I had questions on what to do, he would waste no time in making a video and sending it to students to clear up any misconceptions about assignments. He has brought my knowledge of another ‘language’ from nothing to a strong foundation of the essentials, and I’m sure many other students can say the same.”

Taylor is confident that, thanks to Apperson, he has a strong foundation for the next step in his career.

“What I have got out of the class doesn’t stay in the class, because now I have a new skill that can be applied to the real world, whether it’s within computers or not,” he said.

For student Samuel Donily, Apperson’s interest in his students sets him apart and helps encourage them to reach academic and personal goals.

“He constantly shows great care for the teaching environment, as well as the learning environment,” said Donily. “He shows this by reaching out to students during classes, offering extra time to meet outside class and scheduled days, as well as reminding us weekly that his hours are available for anyone struggling or just seeking advice and help.”

Apperson also regularly works with colleagues to enhance the student learning experience and provide new opportunities for engagement.

“He engages other faculty, as well as referring to them when students have particular questions. Through this, he shows humility where others would have better knowledge, and shows positive competitivity and teamwork skills regarding his fellow faculty to allow them to also have opportunities to encourage their students,” continued Donily.

Outside the classroom, Apperson volunteers for St. Paul Cathedral in Yakima and the Vintiques Car Club, and has served on the board of the latter. Through his involvement with the club, Apperson has helped build connections with YVC’s Automotive Service Technology program and established scholarships benefitting YVC students.

“I’m really touched that students would take the time and effort to nominate me for this honor,” said Apperson. “It’s great to know that I have made that kind of a difference in somebody’s life.”

Established by longtime supporters of the college, Sherrie and Daryl Parker, this is a $2,500 unrestricted monetary award.

The Sherrie & Daryl Parker Faculty Award will be presented during YVC’s Commencement ceremony on June 14.

Press Release Contacts:
Dustin Wunderlich / 509.574.6870 /
Stefanie Menard / 509.574.4646 /