Cierra DePottey


Cierra DePottey smiling

Cierra DePottey - 2020 Outstanding Graduate for the Math Science Division at Bay College.

Each year, Bay College selects an Outstanding Graduate from each of the six divisions at the college. The graduate is selected by their instructors for their academic excellence, leadership, and community service.

Cierra DePottey was selected as the 2020 Outstanding Graduate for the Math Science Division, with the award being sponsored by Engineered Machined Products (EMP), the Bay College Faculty Association, and the Bay College Foundation.

A graduate of A.D. Johnston High School in Bessemer, Cierra received an Associate in Science Degree from Bay College in May. She plans on transferring to Central Michigan University to pursue a Bachelor Degree in Biology with a concentration in Biomedical, Cellular and Molecular Biology. In addition, Cierra aspires to continue her education to earn a Doctorate Degree with a career goal of becoming a Biology Professor.

The instructors at Bay College describe Cierra as a great student that is prepared for class and willing to help others learn. Chemistry Instructor, Hillary Beeckman stated, “Cierra is a generous, hardworking student who brought an exceptional level of preparedness to her chemistry class. Every week before quizzes and exams, Cierra had the entire whiteboard filled with notes and was helping other students master the material.”  Brian Black, Biology Instructor at Bay College added, “Cierra was one of the most engaged and successful biology students that I have taught in many years.”

In addition to pursing a degree, Cierra has held a variety of science related positions including Civil Engineer Intern, Math-Science Tutor and Supplemental Instruction Leader. She was also employed as a DNR Wildlife Assistant last fall working in the area of surveillance of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the U.P. deer population. 

Cierra is a first-generation college student, and she had a desire to attend a community college to experience more personal, one-on-one communications with instructors. She selected Bay College because of its location. Being from Ironwood, Cierra was able to leave her hometown, but stay close enough to home for regular contact with family and friends. When asked what Bay College has done to help her succeed, Cierra stated, “Being a member of various Bay College student organizations (TRiO, STEM Club, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Society of Health and Medicine) helped me succeed as a first-generation college student. My advisors and peers provided me with a surplus of essential academic, social, and emotional support. In addition, Bay provided me with on-campus employment opportunities to become a Math-Science Tutor and Supplemental Instruction Leader for Biology. These employment opportunities made my career goal of becoming a Biology Professor more obvious as I realized my love for sharing scientific information with others. The experiences and connections that I have made at Bay have helped me to develop into a well-rounded student and functional member of society. I am profoundly grateful for all that Bay has provided to me thus far and I’m eager to find out where it takes me from here.”

In her free time, Cierra enjoys taxidermy, painting, sculpting and outdoor recreation.

Visit to watch a short video of Instructor Brian Black presenting the Outstanding Graduate Award for the Math Science Division to Cierra along with her acceptance speech for this great honor.