Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has a record number of Jack Kent Cooke semifinalists this year, with six students being selected.  That is the most semifinalists of any college in Mississippi, in 38 U.S. states, and a record number for Gulf Coast.

They were recognized at a luncheon in their honor on March 30 at the Perkinston Campus.

The Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship promises students up to $55,000 per year for up to three years to attend a four-year college or university.  It is among the largest private scholarships for community college students in the country.  Each Cooke Scholar has access to generous financial support for two to three years, college planning support, ongoing advising, and the opportunity to connect with the thriving community of fellow scholars.

John Miller, Phi Theta Kappa advisor and Honors College Director at the Jackson County Campus, said, “These awards are just more evidence that being a member of the Gulf Coast family truly provides the opportunity to work with some of the brightest and most dedicated students, not only in Mississippi but in the nation and even the world. These are really special young people and I’m very proud of them and their accomplishments.”

Dr. Pat West, Honors College director and School of Visual and Performing Arts chair, said that the semifinalists from the Harrison County Campus are remarkable. “This is a group of students that are both thoughtful and engaging. An unending source of positive energy, their influence will be long remembered.” She added, “Working with students as they apply for prestigious scholarships is one of the most rewarding experiences for Phi Theta Kappa advisors.”

The semifinalists are the following:

  • Lucia Barberena of Ocean Springs is a business marketing major at the Jackson County Campus.  She was named to the All-USA Academic Team and is a New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar.
  • Kaitlyn McDonald of Ocean Springs is an industrial and systems engineering major at the Jackson County Campus.
  • Chloe Nguyen of Ocean Springs is a pre-pharmacy major at the Jackson County Campus.  She was also named a Coca-Cola Silver Scholar.
  • Luke Simpson of Gulfport is a political science and international business major at the Harrison County Campus.  A Collegiate Academy student, he was also named a Coca-Cola Silver Scholar.
  • Carlin Taylor of Gulfport is a 3D character animation major at the Harrison County Campus.  This is the second year Taylor has been named a semifinalist.
  • Darlene Adalenda Umukundwa of Rwanda is an aerospace engineering major at the Jackson County Campus.


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