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College of Arts & Letters Global Studies Professor and Political Science Alumnae Receive JRM Foundation Hometown Hero Awards


The JRM Foundation honored Idaho State University Professor Cathleen Tarp, and alumna Holly Kartchner on Sept. 17 with an Idaho’s Hometown Hero Medal. The Idaho Hometown Hero Award was created to celebrate individuals who have made an important impact within their state, community or local organization. These impacts range from acts of heroism to impacting the community or state in a way that influences the lives of those around them.

“Tarp and Kartchner have proved to be Idaho Hometown Heroes through their work bettering their surrounding communities,” said Dean Kandi Turley-Ames. “Their dedication to creating programs and mentoring students will leave lasting impressions on this community, and many people will benefit for years to come.”  

Tarp, a professor of global studies and Spanish, was nominated for her vision to bring a Spanish for the Health Professions program (SHP) to ISU. Due to the creation of this program, both health professions and language students now have a unique program to study. This program is not only an asset to local learning opportunities but it is also a global resource that will offer continued education for years to come.

Tarp’s dedication to the Latino communities in southeastern Idaho is also one of a kind. Tarp and her colleagues received a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant that allows bilingual and bicultural Latinos in Idaho high schools to study Spanish for the Health Professions. Students who pass the Spanish and culture dual-enrollment classes can take a Spanish proficiency exam at ISU, and if they pass they can enroll at a university with 22 credits already under their belt. Because of the funding provided by Tarp’s grant, students pay nothing out of pocket. The SHP program and HRSA funded grant were the first of its kind in the United States, showing Tarp’s vision and dedication to the field.

“I was so honored to be nominated,” said Tarp. “I am very grateful, but very humbled. I have received so much support, from the community, the university and from friends and family. I may be getting this award, but I did not get it alone.”

Kartchner, a government and history teacher at Blackfoot High School, has lead students in the dual-enrollment course “We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution” to nine years of victories at the state level. The competition takes place locally, regionally and nationally, and teaches high school students about the formation and application of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to the creation of our laws in their daily lives. Kartchner has also taken students to the national competition in Washington D.C, and in 2015 the team received the Region Award for the Western States which ranked them in the top 15 in the nation. This was the highest award ever achieved by an Idaho school.

Kartchner is the recipient of the American Civic Education Teacher Award, Boise Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching, Idaho Teacher of the Year Award from the American Legion, and the American Lawyers Alliance Teacher of the Year Award.

“Kartchner is a proven hometown hero in southeastern Idaho,” Turley-Ames said. “As a graduate of ISU, she chose to stay in southeastern Idaho and share her knowledge to the benefit of local students and her community. First and foremost, she prepares her students to succeed in their next level of education, and more importantly to be good citizens.”

Other recipients of this year’s Hometown Hero award come from Twin Falls, Meridian, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Fort Hall and Pocatello. This year’s theme, “Strengthening Community Ties,” is about honoring men, women and youth who play an active role in creating better and safer communities across the state.

The JRM Foundation states that the Idaho Hometown Hero Medal was established in 2011 to pay tribute to those who show unique characteristics and achievements while displaying remarkable commitment to creating better and safer communities across the state of Idaho. The honorees illustrate outstanding qualities in both their personal and professional lives and continue to preserve and promote the richness of Idaho, ultimately creating a stronger community for the future of Idaho.

Written by Nicholas Tarbet, College of Arts and Letters Intern


 Cathleen TarpHolly Kartchner


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