66 Phi Theta Kappa Members are 2016 Jack Kent Cooke Scholars

Jackson, Mississippi - Sixty-six Phi Theta Kappa members have been selected to receive a 2016 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. In all, 75 two-year college students were selected as scholars by the nation's largest private scholarship program.

The investment the Cooke Foundation is making in these 66 Phi Theta Kappa members has the potential to top $14.5 million. Each student will receive a scholarship worth up to $40,000 a year for up to three years — up to $120,000 total — to complete his or her undergraduate degree.

In addition, the Cooke Foundation offers an internal graduate scholarship for which scholars may apply that awards up to $50,000 each per year.

This year 88 percent of Jack Kent Cooke Scholars are Phi Theta Kappa members; and, many Jack Kent Cooke Scholars have received various other Society awards, said Christin Grissom, Phi Theta Kappa's Director of Scholarship Operations.

"For many of our members, receiving this scholarship not only alleviates the financial burden associated with pursuing higher credentials, but it also provides hope for a brighter future, encouragement and opportunities that extend far beyond the classroom," she said, noting that Jack Kent Cooke Scholars receive mentorship guidance and become part of an extended family of scholars. "Highly selective scholarships are within reach, so put forth the energy and time necessary to apply."

The 2016 Jack Kent Scholars who are Phi Theta Kappa members include:

Derek Fermaint, Mesa Community College
Rodrigo Salcido, Pima Community College
Jacob Sorenson, Mesa Community College

Alejandra Carranza, Cerritos College
Katya Echazarreta, San Diego City College
Pontus Goeransson, Saddleback College
Joseph Heide, San Diego City College
Kristin Ho, Mt. San Antonio College
Wendy Huerta, San Diego City College
Thaimae Le, San Diego Miramar College
Dalton Leftwich, Saddleback College
Jeremy Neill, Orange Coast College
Tynan Perez, Sacramento City College
Thorstein Roe, Fullerton College

Russell Derrickson, Front Range Community College

Miranda Wheeler, Northwestern Connecticut Community College

Andrew Aide, Daytona State College
Juan Joel Albrecht, Miami Dade College
Ihsane Benkhadra, Broward College
Maria Yuliza Calvo, Seminole State College
Valentina d'Empaire, Miami Dade College
Latifah Maasarani, Seminole State College
Yessica Maltes, Miami Dade College (The Honors College)
Flavio Pacheco, Seminole State College of Florida
Garion Rivera, Indian River State College
Sergey Sterlyadev, Broward College
Shahriar Zamani, Hillsborough Community College

Ann Marie Hormeku, Georgia Permimeter College

Roxana Berinde, Oakton Community College
Amanda Drexler, Harper College
Eri Svenson, Harper College

Caleb Sedam, Ivy Tech Community College

Luis Rosales, Montgomery College

Dalena Nguyen, Massasoit Community College
Stacy Okada, Massachusetts Bay Community College
Viet Phan, Bunker Hill Community College
Nicolas Trent, Massasoit Community College-Brockton Campus

Thaer Arafat, Henry Ford College
Daniel Gebrezgiabhier, Grand Rapids Community College

Angela Garagiola, Century College
Tara Wilson, Century College

Cory Kiper, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

New Jersey:
Ernest Dimbo, Essex County College
Theande Jashari, Bergen Community College

New York:
Arela Dragoni, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Katarzyna Maziarz, Kingsborough Community College
Anam Rabbani, Suffolk County Community College

North Carolina:
Andrew Wishon, Cape Fear Community College

Dallas Elleman, Tulsa Community College

Isla Martinez-Iglesias, Manor College
Lavinia Soliman, Montgomery County Community College

Tiffany Avalos-Lopez, Lone Star College System
Elijah Evans, Southwest Texas Junior College
Angelica Fuentes, Northeast Texas Community College
Ojaswee Giri, North Lake College
Maria Gonzalez-Trevino, Lone Star College System
Rey Laurencio, Lone Star College-CyFair
Muaz Mohammed, Richland College
Itzel Tejada, El Paso Community College
Edwin Umanzor, Lone Star College
Jessica Velazquez, Northeast Texas Community College

Derrick Arthur-Cudjoe, Northern Virginia Community College
Nooshin Bashiri, Northern Virginia Community College
Shahrozia Imtiaz, Northern Virginia Community College
Ayesha Malika Khan, Piedmont Virginia Community College
Manisha Khatri, Northern Virginia Community College

Scholars are selected based on high academic ability and achievements, persistence, leadership and financial need. The average GPA of the 2016 Scholars is 3.9, and their average adjusted gross income is approximately $27,585.

“Many elite colleges and universities are reluctant to admit large numbers of transfer students from community colleges, even when these students have excellent grades and other qualifications,” said Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy. “This is unfair and unwise. The Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholars have a long record of success at the most selective colleges and graduate schools, such as the Ivy League in the United States and the University of Oxford in Great Britain. These extraordinary young people have proven repeatedly and conclusively that top community college students have the ability to thrive in top four-year colleges. They deserve equal educational opportunity.”

Past Undergraduate Transfer Scholars have attended such prestigious colleges as Amherst College, Columbia University, Cornell University, Georgetown University, Stanford University, Wellesley College and Yale University.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will begin accepting applications for the 2017 Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship on August 25 and the application process will close October 25.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. The Foundation supports exceptional students from elementary school to graduate school through scholarships, grants, direct service, and knowledge creation and dissemination.

Phi Theta Kappa is the oldest, largest and most prestigious honor society recognizing students pursuing two-year degrees. Phi Theta Kappa is made up of more than 3 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations.


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