Kari Warne, a Tri-City prep and YC Honors College graduate who became one of only 20 community college students selected for the All-USA Academic Team was named Yavapai College’s Prescott Campus 2021 Alumni of the Year yesterday, at the College’s Recognition Ceremony.
“I would not be where I am today without the support of the Yavapai College Foundation,” Warne said. “The scholarships I received from you are the reason I was able to pursue my passions. What you do makes a real impact on people’s lives.”
The honor caps a prestigious academic career for Warne, a 20-year-old Justice Studies graduate who is also a President’s Award recipient and a member of the All-Arizona Academic Team. But her awards, though substantial, merely reflect the surface of a talented student whose commitment to social justice has led her from the classroom to the courtroom to the center of criminal justice issues in the post-pandemic United States.
“My grandpa was a police officer, who was killed in the line of duty,” she explained. “We had a framed photo of him in our living all while I was growing up.” Officer Dennis Altfeltis died as a result of an unresolved hit-and-run. “When I was young, it didn’t mean much. But the concept of justice began to matter more and more.”
She enrolled in Yavapai College’s Honors Program and quickly earned an internship with Campus Public Safety. Former Prescott and YC Police Chief Jerald Monahan recognized Warne’s talent, hiring her full-time. “They couldn’t get rid of me,” she said of the Campus Police, “so they just hired me.”
Her affiliation with law enforcement led her to work on national initiatives with the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence (NCPCV). She researched and contributed to anti-bullying programs; she helped create a therapist database for an app called “Lighthouse Health & Wellness,” that directs First Responders to qualified counseling resources. In the midst of the national furor over the George Floyd’s death, Warne helped the NCPCV develop police training presentations called “Actively Caring for People in Policing” that helped better equip law enforcement officers. “This [training] is a solution.” She said. “De-funding the police is not a solution, because the first thing that goes is training.”
Warne graduated from Yavapai College in Spring 2021 and is currently enrolled with the University of Arizona’s Intelligence & Information Operations School, a prestigious training program for the Intelligence Community. “My dream career, at least right now, is to be an Intelligence Analyst,” she said.
Wherever she goes, Kari Warne is certain to work with the zeal of one following her passion, and she encourages others to do the same. “Success is extremely subjective.” She advised. “Enjoy the life you have right now. Make sure you’re absorbing the skills you’re learning. If there’s something out there you want, you’ll get there one day.”
Yavapai College’s Alumni of the Year Award is bestowed annually to Prescott and Verde Valley Campus graduates whose careers exemplify scholarship, character and public service. For additional information on YC’s Alumni of the Year Awards, please visit: www.yc.edu/alumni.