Kelly Chiffer Selected as 2011 Outstanding Graduate of the Year

Marc S. Posner
Monday, May 23, 2011
Kelly Chiffer, a Psychology major with a 4.0 grade-point average, is Cypress College's 2011 Outstanding Graduate of the Year. A goal-oriented student and member of the two-time conference champion women's volleyball team, she will continue both her studies and athletic participation at Texas Tech in the fall.

Chiffer says that she became interested by and curious about the criminal mind -- especially those of serial killers -- when she was a young girl. The fascination continued with TV shows such as Unsolved Mysteries and various documentaries. Although her interest in the criminal psyche remained, Chiffer says that in high school she also wanted to learn more about disorders such as anorexia nervosa and depression.

"Her performance has been at one of the highest levels I have seen over the past few years in the course," said Randy Martinez, Chair of the Psychology Department. "As a student, she displays the characteristics of a dedicated learner. Ms. Chiffer is inquisitive, objective and has a passion for acquiring knowledge."

Likewise, volleyball has also shaped Chiffer's life. During the past decade, she has traveled to cities across the nation and spent countless hours in the gym practicing drills to perfection. Head volleyball coach Nancy Welliver played a key role in bringing Chiffer to Cypress College. During her time here, the team recorded its first two conference titles and participated in the California state championship tournament -- finishing second in the 2010 season.

In September 2010, Chiffer was recognized with selection to the San Diego Mesa All-Tournament Team. During her freshman season in 2009, Chiffer was honored with 2009 All-State Tournament Team and All-League Second Team selections.

"Kelly is one of the hardest working players that I have had the pleasure of coaching," said Welliver. "She not only works hard in the gym, but works equally, if not harder, in her courses. She is always determined to give her very best and willing to help her teammates when they need it."

Outside of school, Chiffer volunteers with the non-profit Brain Rehabilitation and Injury Network. Through B.R.A.I.N., she interacts with individuals ranging in age from 18-65 with acquired brain injuries.

After receiving her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Texas Tech, Chiffer plans to earn both a master's and PhD in hopes of becoming either a forensic or clinical psychologist. "My goal for the future is to become an independent, successful woman and to help others overcome obstacles and attain goals of their own."