Jackson, MS – Twenty two-year college students have been named to the 24th annual All-USA Community College Academic Team, honored for their outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership with $50,000 in scholarships. Each team member will receive a $2,500 scholarship, furnished by Follett Higher Education Group, and be featured in USA TODAY newspaper.
2014 All-USA Community College Academic Team members are pictured with James Gagnon, Jill Engle and John McGee of USA TODAY.
The All-USA program is widely recognized as the most prestigious academic honor for students attending community college. Nominees are hand-selected by colleges for showing intellectual rigor and for demonstrating academic, leadership and civic growth. The program also recognizes students who extend their community college education to better themselves, their schools and their surrounding communities.
“As college costs continue to climb, community college becomes a vital channel to access the baccalaureate degree,” said Phi Theta Kappa’s Executive Director and CEO Dr. Rod Risley. “Programs like these promote college completion by providing opportunities and raising awareness of the need.”
The 2014 All-USA Community College Academic Team is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group and presented by USA TODAY. Additional support is provided by Phi Theta Kappa and the American Association of Community Colleges.
“Community colleges provide students a high quality, affordable education,” said Don Germano, President of Follett Higher Education Group. “All of us at Follett are so pleased to recognize and support these outstanding students – driven, brilliant students on a path to be our future leaders.”
Student winners were introduced at the Phi Theta Kappa Presidents Breakfast held during the AACC Convention April 5-8 in Washington, D.C. In addition to scholarship funds, each ALL-USA Community College Academic Team member was presented with a special medallion. College presidents of team members also received recognition for their leadership. In addition, Follett Higher Education Group presented an additional $25,000 in textbook scholarships to the colleges with students selected to the All-USA Academic Team. The five scholarships of $250 each, a total of $1,250, may be distributed at the colleges’ discretion.
The 20 members of the 2014 All-USA Community College Academic Team are listed below. View the 2014 Team.
Lilliam Alexa Acosta, Collin College, Texas
Jennifer Brady, Mohave Community College, Arizona
Joseph Burch, Central Piedmont Community College, North Carolina
Vicente Cortez, Enterprise State Community College, Alabama
Julie Crafton, Heartland Community College, Illinois
Michelle Machado Davis, Collin College, Texas
Laura D. DeNardo, Jefferson Community College, New York
Kayla Duchaine, Eastern Florida State College, Florida
Sarah Farmer, San Diego Mesa College, California
Jenna Freund, St. Louis Community College, Missouri
Robert Matthew Gonzales, Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso, New Mexico
Noah Griffin, Northeast Texas Community College, Texas
Abigail Harding, Vermilion Community College, Minnesota
Eric Howard, Muskegon Community College, Michigan
Christian Keen, Santa Fe College, Florida
Michelle L. Kemeny, Mesa Community College, Arizona
Shannon Kreutzer, Cottey College, Missouri
Georgia Swinford, Hinds Community College, Mississippi
Lorena A. Villanueva, Central Arizona College, Arizona
Zachary Warren, Jones County Junior College, Mississippi
The team of 20 was selected by a panel of judges from more than 1,700 students nominated by more than 800 community colleges. Judges considered grades, leadership activities and, most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. The 2014 All-USA Community College Academic Team final judges were:
Kirk Glaze, Coca-Cola North America
Maryann Thomas, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
Stella Perez, Innovations, League for Innovation in the Community College
Lauren Snyder, Marymount University
Scott Lay, California League for Community Colleges
Linda Garcia, National American University
Nancy Sanchez-Warren, Kaplan Educational Foundation
Julian Allen, University of Southern Mississippi
Kevin Christian, American Association of Community Colleges
Phi Theta Kappa also awards additional scholarships through the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Program and the New Century Scholars Program, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and The Coca-Cola Foundation. These include scholarships totaling nearly $300,000 for 200 other outstanding community college students.
Follett Higher Education Group is the leading provider of college and university bookstore services. Since 1873, Follett has served as the trusted partner in education for students and educators at all levels of learning. Today Follett delivers print and digital learning materials, retail services, library resources and school management systems on more than 980 college campuses and across 65,000 elementary and high schools. Headquartered in River Grove, Illinois, Follett is a $2.7 billion privately-held company. Follett has partnered with more community colleges than any other bookstore operator in the country. The company implements programs to help drive down the costs of education, including its successful textbook rental program, Rent-A-Text. In the last three years, Rent-A-Text, along with the company’s used and digital options, has saved students more than $1 billion compared to the price of new textbooks.
About the American Association of Community Colleges
Headquartered in the National Center for Higher Education in Washington, D.C., AACC is the primary advocacy organization for community colleges at the national level and works closely with directors of state offices to inform and affect state policy. The association represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 13 million students, as well as a growing number of international members in Puerto Rico, Japan, Great Britain, Korea and the United Arab Emirates. The colleges are the largest and fastest-growing sector of U.S. higher education, enrolling close to half (46 percent) of all U.S. undergraduates.
About Phi Theta Kappa
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in American higher education with 1,285 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. Nearly 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 131,000 students inducted annually.