Geovana Batres Ardon Claims Top Prize in Inaugural Apex Showcase

Seniors Finish PDEV with Capstone Presentations

Geovana Batres Ardon (center) joins Cristian Bonilla Cruz (left) and Shelby Lopez for a winners photo following the Apex Showcase.

Drawing on her own experience, Spartanburg Methodist College (SMC) senior Geovana Batres Ardon’s desire to help other LatinX students see a path to college led her to victory and a $1,000 prize in the college’s first Apex Showcase on April 20. Batres Ardon’s “A College Path Para Todos” topped 31 seniors who presented their Capstone projects to show their academic and professional development growth.

“The senior Capstone projects test our students on everything they’ve learned and challenges them to put it into action on a project they are passionate about,” said Courtney Shelton, vice president of student & professional development at SMC. “Geovana’s desire to help other LatinX students is inspiring. We’re proud of her and all of our seniors for the incredible work they put into these projects.”

SMC implemented the senior Capstone as part of its degree-intergrated professional development program when it launched its bachelor’s degrees in 2019. The Apex Showcase allows students to highlight those skills and compete for cash prizes.

Batres Ardon’s project provided LatinX high school students with information and resources to help show them a path to higher education. Shelby Lopez and Cristian Bonilla Cruz were the other finalists presenting their Capstone projects to a panel of judges from the Spartanburg community. Lopez finished second with “Art by Shelby Allisun,” showcasing her art and her desire to use her business degree to start an art business rather than doing art as a hobby. Bonilla Cruz claimed third with “ESL with English Crossing,” which helped show Hispanics the resources provided by English Crossing to help them learn English and break down language barriers.

Judges for the Showcase were Marcos Gomez, founder and owner of Dellfrio, LLC, and an SMC Trustee; Paige Stephenson, president & CEO of the United Way of the Piedmont; Cierra Kelly, executive project director for ReGenesis Health Care; and Josh Ridings, owner of Carpet One Floor & Home. Approximately 150 Spartanburg area community and business leaders and SMC faculty, staff, and students filled the Gibbs Auditorium for the inaugural event.

All 31 Capstone students participated in the Apex Showcase, networking with guests and presenting their own projects in a reception prior to the main competition.

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