Jack Kent Cooke ScholarsTwo Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College students have been named Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholars, a highly competitive national scholarship.  Ridge Mathews of Gautier and Anna Valenzuela of Ocean Springs were chosen as part of this year’s cohort of scholars.  They were the only students chosen from Mississippi.

Sixty scholars from across the nation were selected to receive the transfer scholarship.

The Cooke Transfer Scholarship is designed to create a clear pathway to a four-year degree by offering up to $55,000 per year along with academic advising and access to a network of peers. In addition to the generous financial support, selected Cooke Transfer Scholars will receive educational advising from the Foundation’s Deans of Scholar Support to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year school and preparing for their future endeavors. They will also have access to opportunities for internships, study abroad, graduate school funding, and the incomparable connection to a robust network of more than 3,000 fellow Cooke Scholars and Alumni.

Monica Pascual of Ocean Springs was chosen as a semifinalist for the scholarship.  MGCCC had more semifinalists than any community college in Mississippi.  Mathews, Valenzuela, and Pascual all attend the college’s Jackson County Campus.

Mathews is an officer in the Pi Epsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society (PTK) and president of the Student Government Association.  He is treasurer of the Jackson County Campus Hispanic Club. He was also named a Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar in September.  A mechanical engineering major, he hopes to attend medical school after completing his bachelor’s degree.

Valenzuela is president of the Pi Epsilon chapter of PTK and vice president of Activities for the Hispanic American Club. She is also a member of the Honors College, the Excelerate in STEM program, the Reflections Team, Student Government Association, Campus Activities Board, and Archery Club.  She was also named a Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar in September. A mathematics major, she plans to become a high school math teacher.

This year, more than 1,700 students from 448 community colleges applied to receive the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The Foundation evaluated each submission based on students’ academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, and leadership.

Monica Pascual, JCK semifinalist
Monica Pascual, Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship semifinalist

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