All-USA and New Century Transfer Scholars Honored at AACC

The All-USA Academic Team recognizes high achieving college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society. Twenty team members are named annually with each receiving a $5,000 scholarship, a total of $100,000 in scholarship awards.

The program is sponsored by Cengage with additional support provided by the American Association of Community Colleges and Phi Theta Kappa.

Nominees to the All-USA Academic Team were also considered for the New Century Scholars Programs.

Each year, the student receiving the highest All-USA Academic Team application score in each state is named a New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar or a New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar. Students nominated for the Transfer Pathway should be planning to transfer to the four-year college after graduation. Students nominated for the Workforce Pathway should be planning to enter the workforce after completing a certificate or associate degree..

The New Century Pathways Program annually recognizes 104 Scholars and awards a $2,250 to each scholar. Each New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar and All-USA Academic Team Member receives special recognition at the American Association of Community Colleges Convention. Each New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar receives special recognition at the Association of Community College Trustees Congress. 

The New Century Pathway Scholarship program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges, and Phi Theta Kappa.

We celebrate the the 20 All-USA Academic Team Scholars and the 49 New Century Transfer Scholars here and look forward to seeing what comes next for them. We recognize the many two-year colleges that are critical to educating students and helping them reach their goals whether that be transfer to a four-year university or workforce entry. Two-year colleges make immeasurable contributions that increase the standard of living for entire communities. Thank you to all the college trustees and administrators who dedicate their time to ensure student success.

Below, the 2024 All-USA Academic Team followed by the 2024 New Century Transfer Scholars with additional information about each scholar. Congratulations, again to the All-USA Academic Team Scholars and the New Century Transfer Scholars!

2024 All-USA Academic Team

Marie was born in Haiti, and education was a privilege few afforded. Her mother never achieved more than a third-grade education, and she gave most of her children away in hopes they would be able to go to school. At the age of five, Marie was placed as a slave in a family who mistreated her, but she ran away to an orphanage where she learned to read and write. As a former child slave, she wants to receive a degree in psychology to help rescue and treat children who are victims of slavery and trafficking. Marie did not begin attending school until 11-years-old. However, Marie was determined to receive her education. After being attacked by armed men in Haiti, Marie immigrated to the United States to heal and pursue her education. Despite her late start to education and being a non-native English speaker, Marie was accepted into the Bucknell University Summer Scholar Program, a competitive summer program. At the end of the program, she received an award from the Bucknell staff for going the extra mile. Once she earns her associate degree, Marie wants to transfer to Bucknell University to get her bachelor’s degree. In addition to her education, Marie is a student leader in several organizations on her campus. She founded a group called SEED for Success, Engagement, Education, and Determination, which helps students with disabilities earn a degree or certificate.  

Gabriel’s family has lived in the same city in the same country for seven generations. In his home country, education was not a guarantee. Determined to receive an education and explore the world, Gabriel received several scholarship offers for his promising soccer skills, but then he contracted a rare bacterial disease that left him paralyzed for a year. However, he didn’t give up, and instead, he taught himself English with the internet and earned money flipping furniture to move to California his senior year of high school. Gabriel is attending school for environmental analysis and EEP (economics, environment, and politics). His goal is to create harmony with nature and develop alternative ways to deal with waste and repurpose unused resources. On campus, Gabriel is the sustainability club president, founder of the International Club, Vice President of Service for PTK, and Clothing Drive Project Leader. 

Kinley has always been a self-motivated, academically driven individual. Kinley works on her family’s farm where they grow specialty watermelons, Bratcher Farms, and her love for agriculture developed there. During her sophomore year of high school, Kinley attended the Oklahoma Future Farmers of America Alumni Leadership Camp for the first time, and in her senior year, she served on the Oklahoma Agriculture Youth Council. She was able to shadow two women who worked in agricultural communications, and it inspired her to use her passion for agriculture, photography, and writing to pursue her own career in the field. While in college, Kinley has begun celebrating and learning about her Native American heritage. She was nominated to the Choctaw Nation Chief’s College Advisory Council, and she is now assisting Chief Gary Batton in making decisions that impact higher education for Choctaw students.  

Mariangel was born in a third-world country. Her parents had never attended community college, and her father died when she was seven. Mariangel knew she wanted more opportunity, so she immigrated to the United States where she has faced hurdles as she pursues her education. She currently lives off-grid on a mountain road that is not plowed in the winter, cutting her off from emergency services. She is often forced not to attend school or to walk the road in deep snow, and she is sometimes forced to abandon her house and move into a camper. Mariangel also noticed that many students drop out during the snow season due to lacking essential winter clothing, so she took action and created a store where students could find donated winter clothes and shoes.  Despite being a non-traditional student, Mariangel is a dedicated student leader. She is the president of the Student Government Association, College Peer Mentor, volunteer at the Students for Recovery Club, and PTK Orientation leader. Mariangel also serves the Department of Higher Education in the state as the Vice Chair of the Student Advisory Council of Massachusetts. 

In 2019, Emily had achieved her dream career. She had become a full-time firefighter, her city’s only female firefighter. However, her dream was cut short when she was injured in the line of duty, leaving her with PTSD and the need to find a new dream. Despite the challenges, Emily is determined to create her own comeback story. Emily grew up on a farm, so pursuing a degree in horticulture felt like returning home. Her goal is to work in high-end residential landscape design and project management after getting her associate degree in horticulture technology and her bachelor’s in business administration. Emily was the only student from an associate degree program selected to be a Student Ambassador for the National Association of Landscape Professionals Elevate Conference. At the conference, she was critical to her college’s Landscape Plant Installation Team, and with her help, her college ranked fifth out of 45 teams and beat several larger state universities.  

Raised by a single mother in a low-income, immigrant family, Bilal always saw life as an uphill battle, and his struggles were often exacerbated by his OCD, Tourette’s, anxiety, and speech disorder. However, Bilal worked hard and managed these challenges. He sought help and explored different coping methods and saw a significant shift in his academic and personal life. His interest in law developed one night while watching the news. On the screen, a photo of his friend Jefe appeared with a headline indicating that he had been indicted for carjacking. His friend was faced with risking a 15-year sentence in a trial with a public defender or taking a plea deal and serving seven years. His friend, like many in Bilal’s community, did not have the money for a lawyer, and Bilal was struck by the inequality of the criminal justice system. Bilal decided he would fight the battle by going into law in order to work in politics and draft criminal justice reform bills. At PCCC, Bilal is a member of the Judicial Affairs Committee and Election Review Committee and the president of his PTK chapter.   

Joseph’s family lived together in a basement apartment, surviving on a taxi driver’s wage. Eventually, his father died of pneumonia, and his mother died of a drug overdose. The Marine Corps offered him a chance to reshape his destiny. During his two deployments in Iraq, Joseph witnessed the destruction of irreplaceable historic structures, and he felt a responsibility to commit to the preservation of the past. After a traumatic brain injury forced him into medical retirement, Joseph decided to enroll in college with the goal of becoming a history professor. He believes his passion for history and his unique background as a Marine gives him the opportunity to make a meaningful impact as a history professor. As a member of his college’s honors program, Joseph participated in a research project for the college’s 50th anniversary that delved into the campus’s unique history as the historically significant Pilgrim State Mental Hospital. Joseph has already been accepted into Columbia University where he intends to study history and education.  

Joseph was also named the Pierce Scholar from among the 20 students named to the All-USA Academic Team. The Pierce Scholar is named for the late Dr. David Pierce, former AACC President and CEO, and a former member of the Phi Theta Kappa Board of Directors. Dr. Pierce helped create the All-USA Academic Team Program; and upon his death in 2014, the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation established this scholarship in his memory.

To focus on her academic and musical education, Hillary was homeschooled her last three years of high school. She is passionate about music and marketing, so when she enrolled in NACC, she obtained special permission from the Dean of Student Services to double major in music and business. At NACC, Hillary joined her college’s bluegrass band, The Mustang String Band. She performs as a drummer and singer. Hillary was honored to perform the national anthem at Governor Kay Ivey’s State of the State Address at the Alabama State Capitol. Hillary also directs her church’s children choir of 49 children between the ages of three and 12. In her spare time, she writes “Golden Nugget Tunes,” songs for the children to sing that contain “golden nuggets of scripture in each song.”  

Maya is a dual-enrolled student pursuing a degree in engineering technology and construction management. Noticing the poor condition of back-roads in her hometown and how the weather puts many roads out of commission, Maya wants to go to school to learn about roadway maintenance and improve the infrastructure of her town. Maya works part-time for a civil construction company, and she has been introduced to federal contracting and construction with the USDA Forest Service and other local, state, and federal agencies. In her community, Maya observed that many people in her small town were low-income and without access to fresh affordable vegetables. An active FFA member, Maya coordinated the creation of a community garden with accessible fresh produce. They will replant the garden each year, and they are considering expanding it to include the growth of fruit trees. 

Maya’s sister was diagnosed with autism, and she uses augmentative and alternative communication devices, which have greatly improved her life. Maya has also been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, causing her joints to frequently disjoint, and is now in need of a knee replacement. These experiences have inspired Maya to pursue biorobotics to help positively impact the lives of people with disabilities. At her college, Maya realized the robotics club was fading, so she became the sole member and president of the club, determined to reinvigorate the club. She organized competition schedules and recruited members. Five members joined, and they competed against larger schools securing third overall position, first in points averaged, and received the Judge’s Award for the team’s camaraderie and dedication to innovation.  After their competition, Maya focused on sustaining the club. She secured a $4,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and STEAM for 2024 and revamped the club. She also updated communications, created the club’s budget and constitution, and established a leadership board. They initiated outreach events, such as creating and directing a STEM outreach initiative for Latinas at the Las Hermanas conference. Over 50 students attended, and one student shared how important it was to her to see a woman of color as a robotics leader. 

When Peyton was 13, his uncle left the family farm, Rolling Ridge Acres, and Peyton was given the opportunity to oversee the dairy side of the 300-cow operation. Peyton is pursuing a degree in dairy science to increase his bovine knowledge, deal with financial matters, and network with other industry professionals. Peyton has interned and worked at the Minnesota Select Sires, Inc, Hilltop Acre, Inc, and Einck Dairy. He is the president of the National Professional Agricultural Student Organization, and he won first place at the organization’s national competition. Additionally, he is chair of the Tri-State Dairy Expo and has secured positions on the Farm Bureau, Township Board, and Community Development Board. 

Maulika, an English as a second language student, immigrated to the United States from India when her parents received a special immigration visa for their service to the U.S. Government. Raised in a Hindu family, Maulika believes that one’s actions shape their destiny, and that karma is a guiding force in her life, inspiring her to serve others. Maulika gives back to her community through volunteering, and her county awarded her a Certificate of Meritorious Service. Maulika wants to go to school to become an endocrinologist and aid in the research and treatment of diabetes. On her campus, she is the founder and president of STEM Club, a cohort member in the college-wide leadership program MC Leads, PTK’s Health Science Officer, a senator at large for the student government association, and a Renaissance Scholar, a selective honors program at Montgomery College. 

When Mateo was nine, he read George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking and fell in love with math and science. His entire family sacrificed and supported him financially, so he could move from Lima, Peru to attend school in the U.S.. Mateo is studying biology and biomedical sciences, and he plans to transfer to Princeton University to study to become a neurosurgeon in the public health sector and conduct research. Mateo is an active member of his community. He led a PTK food distribution event for low-income seniors, delivering over 9,000 meals between April and November 2023. With the Engineers for a Sustainable World Club, Mateo is supervising a project to develop prosthetic arms that will be given to 40 low-income children in Venezuela and Peru. In 2023, Mateo was selected as a PTK Global Leaders of Promise Scholar.   

David enrolled in DMACC when he was 12 years old, having obtained special permission from the dean to take an environmental science class. Now 16, David is completing his degree in computer and information sciences and his certifications in Data Science and Python Application Development. David plans on transferring to the University of Iowa to major in data science. David’s honors statistics project on “Micro and Macro Perspectives of Housing Markets Dynamics in the Des Moines Region” landed him a National Science Foundation funded internship as a Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation Data Engineering Research Intern at Iowa State University. He also presented at the 2023 Policy-Wise in Iowa State Conference. David is also an advocate for inclusion, and he has twice received the DMACC Diversity Commission Student Award for his work to foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and access on campus. He was also selected from a nationwide pool to serve as an active Youth on Course’s DRIVE Club member, identifies, fosters and supports diverse young golfers on their journey with the game.  

As a victim of cyber-stalking, Sydney recognizes the importance of women like her to contribute to the cyber security field. A first-generation student, Sydney is passionate in the pursuit of her education, and last year she completed her course work despite recovering from COVID-19 and a brain-eating bacteria. In her community, Sydney has organized a grassroot organization to protect the Samuels Public Library after a group attacked the library and submitted forms for 800 LGBTQ+ books to be removed from shelves, claiming they represented pornography. The group demanded the books be removed, some burned, the staff fired, and tax funding be withheld. They succeeded in getting the Board of Supervisors to withhold funding for her local library temporarily. However, Sydney established the organization “Save Samuels,” organized banned book read-ins, attended and gave speeches at Board of Supervisors meetings, coordinated a postcard writing campaign to elected officials, promoted library programming, and highlighted staff’s struggles. Despite being threatened, she did not give up and pressured the Board to see the bigger issue. The Samuels Public Library is now fully funded through 2025. She is now an Executive Board Member with the Friends of Samuels Public Library and the head of the bookstore committee that runs the library bookstore. 

In 2013, Jeremy left his higher-paying job to become a firefighter and serve his community after a deadly tornado struck a near-by Oklahoma town. Now, Jeremy is pursuing a career in disaster and crisis management and is a student in FEMA’s Emergency Management Academy. Jeremy wants to receive his bachelor’s and use his education to help prepare and guide his community during times of crisis and disaster. As a firefighter, Jeremy has been advocating to secure cancer coverage for firefighters exposed to toxic chemicals. In 2018, Jeremy was elected vice-president of the Missouri State Council of Firefighters and was able to take his fight directly to lawmakers. For two years, Jeremy faced repeated rejection, but he did not give up. After three years the Missouri Firefighters Critical Illness Bill was passed, ensuring firefighters can receive up to $300,000 to treat job-related cancer. Jeremy has inspired his stepdaughter who is also pursuing a career in firefighting. 

In high school, Neida was able to shadow doctors at the Titus Regional Medical Center, and that exposure inspired her to become a dentist and help connect low-income Americans to dental care. During her freshmen year, Neida conducted research on pandemics and how Texas had historically handled microbial diseases. She presented her paper, “Captive State: Texas’ Futile Wars Against Microbes” at the Mount Pleasant Public Library, the Texas State Historical Association, and at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference. A first-generation college student and child of immigrants, Neida works hard to honor her parents’ sacrifice. After she receives her associate degree, Neida wants to transfer to Texas Christian University and go to dental school.

As a child with undiagnosed dyslexia, Isabella struggled in school, and when her parents reached out to the school district for support, the district claimed her dyslexia wasn’t real. Her mom searched for alternative methods of helping her and enrolled her in a special after school program that tutored and taught her based on research of the dyslexic brain. This experience and her continued struggle getting accommodations for her dyslexia made Isabella interested in studying biology and psychology to understand brain function and development in children with learning disabilities. Her goal is to be a behavioral development pediatrician and advocate for children with learning disabilities. After completing high school, Isabella presented research on the program that had helped her as a child and petitioned the district to implement the program in the schools. The district approved her proposal and now the program is helping other children with dyslexia.  

Diego’s parents only reached a fifth grade education and sacrificed a lot for him to ensure he could go to college. A first-generation college student, Diego is determined to honor his parents’ sacrifices. Diego is an advocate for low-income students of color on his campus. As student body president, he used his experience as a two-time national debate champion to renegotiate the annual cost of bus passes for students on his campus. Through negotiations, Diego was able to reduce the cost from $120,000 to $53,000, and he reallocated $67,000 to increase on-campus scholarship and financial resources for low-income students. Diego wants to pursue a career in politics and constitutional law. He is a fall district intern at the Office of Congresswoman Young Kim and a political operations senior intern at the Republican Party of Orange County. Diego presented his research paper focused on landmark Supreme Court cases affecting Native Americans and their role in today’s government at Stanford University. 

As a teen, Arianna immigrated to the U.S. on her own to chase the American Dream and pursue an education. Arianna is a first-generation college student and is studying economic and international relations. She wants to become an economic policy analyst exploring the economic advantages of immigration, and one day, she wants to become the first Costa Rican-born member of the United States Congress. Arianna is a member of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association and a Congressional Youth Advisory Council member in addition to her various leadership and service roles. Arianna received the Erin Tierney Kramp Scholarship, awarded to students based upon their courage and perseverance in the face of adversity. 

2024 Coca-Cola New Century Transfer Pathway Scholars

As a music and business double major, Hillary is in a constant state of work. However, that does not stop her from serving as a student leader on her campus, performing in two music ensembles, and directing the children’s choir at her church.  

Jenna’s experience as a caregiver for the elderly and disabled inspired her to pursue a degree in health information management. She hopes pursuing her education while working full-time will show her children that anything is possible with dedication and determination.  

Motivated by how an augmentative communication device positively affected her autistic sister, Maya is pursuing a career in biomechanics and biorobotics. In addition to her dedication to her education, Maya leads the only VEX community college robotics team in Arizona. 

Cyndy found her career fit as a human resources administrator at a local construction company. As the only Spanish-speaking administrator in the office, she is using her language skills to become an advocate for workers in her community facing obstacles in the workplace.  

Gabriel, and seven generations of his family, grew up in a developing country where education is a privilege. Determined to explore the world and go to college, Gabriel moved to California, and now studies analysis economics, environment, and politics in hopes of promoting harmony between humans and nature. 

Mariem is pursuing a career in law with the desire to help reform and rebuild the criminal justice system and address the issues surrounding mass incarceration. Outside of school, Mariem volunteers at the nonprofit African Leadership Group. 

To understand how finance stimulates the global economy on micro and macroeconomic scales, Jake is pursuing a degree in business and finance. He hopes to work at a top investment firm and help people grow their businesses. 

Nicole is fascinated by theme park animatronics and how electricity and robotics are used to create entertainment. She wants to blend engineering and storytelling to help bring characters and stories to life through animatronics, and dreams of a career as a Disney Imagineer. 

Mateo’s decision to become a neurosurgeon was inspired by his love of math and his interest in the complexity of the human mind. He wants to work in the public health sector while researching how to develop mathematical models of consciousness. 

Sokhna’s parents were forced to leave school to support their family, but they instilled in her a love of education. Majoring in computer science, Sokhna hopes to make technology accessible to underrepresented people in the U.S. and in her home country of Senegal.  

After fleeing an abusive relationship while pregnant, Megan found safety at a domestic violence shelter, which encouraged her to seek vocational occupation. She is pursuing a health information technology degree to support her children as a single parent. 

While being mentored by a chemistry professor for her senior project, Kaylee was able to aid in her mentor’s dissertation, and she discovered her passion for chemistry. She wants to become a chemist and research pharmaceuticals to help improve people’s lives. 

Before her grandmother’s death, Olivia witnessed how inattentive caregivers neglected or made mistakes with her grandmother’s health. This made Olivia determined to pursue a career in healthcare and provide compassionate, attentive care to disabled and elderly patients. 

Volunteering at a food pantry for nine years and watching people struggle with food insecurity during the pandemic inspired Connor to pursue a career in supply chain, logistics, and agribusiness. His goal is to help provide accessible and affordable food and necessities to underserved communities. 

David’s college career began when he was admitted to his community college at 12 years old. Despite his young age, David has been a committed and involved student, participating in PTK, connecting with his classmates, and receiving the Diversity Commission Student Award twice from his college. 

Elizabeth comes from a family of entrepreneurs and plans on continuing that legacy. She started her first business, selling accessories, at the age of eight. After she earns her associate and bachelor’s degrees, she plans to open a marketing firm focused on helping small businesses. 

The nurses who cared for her father-in-law while he was hospitalized inspired Samantha, a non-traditional student; mother; and wife, to become a nurse. Finding her calling, Samantha wants to offer the same compassionate care the nurses showed her father-in-law. 

Ashley paused her education for 13 years to care for her children. Now, she’s proving it is never too late to pursue your dreams. For Ashley that means becoming a teacher focused on student-centered teaching and adaptable teaching methods to help her students succeed.  

As a single mother, Elizabeth’s pursuit of success is inspired by her desire to create a brighter future for her children. She is on the path to a career in nursing to help address her community’s healthcare needs and combat the shortage of trained healthcare professionals. 

Raised in a Hindu family, Maulika believes doing good deeds and serving others shapes one’s destiny. She has been honored with a Certificate of Meritorious Service recognizing her volunteerism and plans to continue helping others combat diabetes through her work as an endocrinologist. 

Mariangel wants to devote her career to helping vulnerable populations including immigrants, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Mariangel is a Vice Chair on the Student Advisory Council of Massachusetts through the Department of Higher Education in the State. 

Observing the unmet needs of students while working as a paraprofessional, Alexia created a donation closet to meet students’ needs. She plans to pursue a doctorate in educational leadership and work in public administration to continue supporting students and teachers. 

When Zachary began to take a history course for fun, he decided to pursue a degree. He enrolled to get a degree in Greenhouse Management Operation to learn how to provide food in a world with a rapidly changing climate.  

As a child, Veronika fell in love with the worlds of animated films and video games. She decided to use her love and creativity for those stories to pursue a career in game design and animation. 

In 2013, after a massive tornado hit an Oklahoma town, Jeremy left his higher-paying job to become a firefighter and serve his community. Now, Jeremy is pursuing a career in disaster and crisis management and is a student in FEMA’s Emergency Management Academy.   

In 2020, Falicia entered Narcotics Anonymous and took steps to better her life. This led her to enrolling in college to pursue a career in healthcare. She plans on making a difference in healthcare by becoming a chief security officer.  

Ryan dropped out of college in 1992, but 30 years later, he re-enrolled. After receiving his associate of arts, Ryan wants to get his bachelor’s degree in anthropology and study humanities, culture, and the past. 

Diana gives back to her community through volunteering at organizations that fight hunger and provide food to those in need. As a business student, Diana is focused on creating sustainable and equitable solutions to food insecurity in her community. 

David’s love for being outside began as a child. Now, David is earning his landscaping and environmental design associate degree and his bachelor’s in natural resource management. After completing his education, he plans to be a full-time land-surveyor. 

Bilal was exposed to the inequality and injustice of the justice system when his friend was arrested. It was then Bilal decided he would make a difference by pursuing a career in politics and criminal justice. 

Tessa’s love for nature and animals stretches back to her childhood, and she is following that love into a career in environmental science. In her career, she wants to identify ways to help preserve the environment for generations to come.  

As a member of the Marine Corps, Joseph witnessed the destruction of historic monuments and structures while stationed in Iraq. This motivated him to major in history and become a history professor to share his perspective with his students. 

Reece began volunteering at Eden Village, a tiny-home community that houses the homeless. Seeing the perseverance of the residents and the struggles they endured motivated Reece to return to school to pursue a career in real estate and development.  

As she grew up, Carla’s father began to present challenges he faced at work, and Carla would think of possible solutions. This exposed her to creative problem-solving and running a company, which inspired her to pursue a degree in business. 

Ayodele always dreamed of going to a good university, and when she emigrated from Nigeria to the U.S., she began applying to college. Her goal is to work at the United Nations and create a world where everyone feels valued.  

During her senior year of high school, Kinley served on the Oklahoma Agriculture Youth Council. Kinley felt she found her calling and knew a career in agricultural communications would allow her to use her passion for writing, photography, social media marketing, and agriculture.  

Matthew’s passion for medicine stems from dealing with his congenital heart condition and his mother’s battle with breast cancer. Matthew understands that oral health is vital for overall health, and he plans on entering the medical field as a dentist.  

Marie did not begin school until she was 11. However, she knew that education was the key to success. In 2023, she was accepted into the Bucknell University Summer Scholar Program, and she plans to return to Bucknell University to receive her bachelor’s degree.  

Kelly’s career as an archeologist began as a child digging for treasure in her backyard. She is constantly learning more about archeology, and she was invited to become a volunteer at a marine archeology program.

In 2019, Emily became her city’s only female firefighter, but she lost her career after a severe shoulder injury in the line of duty. Her childhood on a farm led her to choose horticulture for her new career. 

Alexis’s dream is to establish an international non-profit organization that would provide sustainable humanitarian aid and education to developing nations. She is taking the first step by receiving her education in business innovation and entrepreneurship.  

Neida honored her parent’s sacrifice of immigrating to the U.S. to provide her with more opportunities by being a committed student. She plans on becoming a dentist to help people avoid minor dental issues developing into major and costly problems.  

While in Zimbabwe, Tawananyasha noticed the need for human rights education and advocacy, so he took initiative. He led a campaign, organized meetings, and coordinated with local leaders and human rights advocates to create awareness and education opportunities. 

Mikayla has worked at a daycare and a school where she has had the opportunity to help students, and that’s what she wants to continue to do when she becomes a teacher. She is studying early childhood special education. 

Growing up low-income, many people invested in Sydney, and she wants to return on that investment. She wants to protect her community with a career in cybersecurity, and she wants to encourage more women to enter cybersecurity and STEM. 

At her job, Maya has been exposed to federal contracting and construction with the USDA Forest Service and other local, state, and federal agencies. She wants to use her experience to design infrastructure and agricultural technologies and do project management.  

Nichole wants to be a part of an organization that makes a positive impact on the world. In school, she is studying criminal justice and law, and she wants to pursue a career in environmental law. 

Carlos moved from Costa Rica after winning a scholarship from a non-profit to receive his bachelor’s degree in the United States. Carlos is studying software development, and he wants to develop artificial intelligence assistance to help people with disabilities.  

Madison is pursuing a career in rangeland management to advocate for their conversation and educate people on their role on the planet. In the summers, Madison works with the Bureau of Land Management as a range technician.  

About Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa is the first honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 4.2 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 countries, with approximately 225,000 active members in the nation’s colleges. Learn more at

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