Rusty Williams (in photo, right) has a long and amazing history of perseverance in overcoming adversity. A strong supporter of life-long learning, Williams overcame debilitating injuries to achieve educational and career success. The former Northland Pioneer College science student was the recipient of the college’s Fall 2017 Outstanding Alumnus Award.

At the age of 17, Williams was seriously injured in a car accident near his hometown of Heber. He spent six months in a burn center and a lengthy time in physical therapy, enduring more than 40 surgeries. Williams’ right arm and all the fingers on his left hand were amputated. Amazingly, this traumatic series of events was not enough to deter him from moving forward with his life and education.

In 2014, Williams enrolled at NPC as a science student. He thrived in his classes and received a Supporting Educational Endeavors for Degrees in Science scholarship on his way to earning an associate of science degree. 

Williams went on to earn two more degrees, an associate degree in environmental science at Arizona Western College and a bachelor’s degree, with magna cum laude honors, in the same field at Northern Arizona University. He tutored many students at both schools.

“I really enjoy helping students understand and get the help they need with their classes,” Williams says of his devotion to assisting others with their education.

Four NPC faculty and staff members nominated Williams for NPC’s Outstanding Alumnus Award. Patricia Lopez, Hallie Lucas, Sandy Manor and Colleen Readel wrote: “We believe that Rusty has a profound effect on everyone who has the privilege of meeting and getting to know him. He is a walking, breathing example to never give up and to pursue your dreams.”

The NPC graduate now serves as an environmental protection technician at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Yuma. On a part-time basis, he also still tutors math, biology and science students at Arizona Western College.

NPC can help you transform your life. No matter what barriers are in your way, Rusty is living proof that you can accomplish your dreams.