Twenty-eight of the state’s highest achieving community college students were honored at a special ceremony in Nashville Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Representing Tennessee’s 13 Community Colleges, the outstanding students recently were named to the 2018 Phi Theta Kappa All-Tennessee Academic Team. Each student – many accompanied by their local state senators and representatives – was recognized and presented with a medallion during the luncheon at War Memorial Auditorium. After the luncheon, the students toured the State Capitol and met with Gov. Bill Haslam.
This year’s 28 honorees include students pursuing a variety of degrees and careers, including aerospace engineering, mechatronics, medicine, civil rights law, social work, biomolecular engineering, and psychology. Most intend to transfer to four-year universities to continue their educations and several intend to pursue graduate degrees.
The All-Tennessee Academic Team is comprised of students nominated by their colleges to be considered for the All-USA Academic Team, sponsored by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society. Each of the state’s 13 community colleges selects up to four outstanding students to recognize for their academic achievement, leadership and service to the community.
“Each year, I am greatly impressed by the hard work, dedication and commitment these students have exhibited at their colleges,” said Dr. Flora W. Tydings, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents. “They’ve achieved a high degree of success, not only in the classroom, but they’ve made significant contributions to their communities through their volunteer efforts and leadership skills.”
Founded in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education, with more than two million members and 1,200 chapters in the U.S. and beyond. Students must have a 3.5 grade point average to qualify for membership.
PTK’s mission is to recognize and encourage scholarship among students at two-year colleges. To achieve that mission, the honor society provides opportunities for the development of leadership and services, for an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas, for fellowship among scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence.
Dr. Allana Hamilton, president of Jackson State Community College President and this year’s Tennessee Phi Theta Kappa presidential ambassador, led the recognition ceremony.
Dr. Russ Deaton, executive vice chancellor of the College System of Tennessee, addressed the honorees as the ceremony’s main speaker. “I was inspired as I read though your biographies in today’s program. It’s obvious that all 28 of you share a commitment to excellence in your studies -- but you bring so many different life stories and experiences with you. You represent the diversity that makes a college campus such an exciting and vibrant place for learning,” he said.
2018 All-Tennessee Academic Team
Chattanooga State Technical Community College
Justin Sam Abraham, Hannah Leigh Jones
Cleveland State Community College
Nathanael Dimond, Yvette D. Krupansky, Abhi Mistry
Columbia State Community College
Meagan E. Walsh, Hailey M. Weise
Dyersburg State Community College
Emily A. Camp, Mary Grace Simonton
Jackson State Community College
Debra Davis, Hunter Lynn Harris, Hailey Renee Jones
Motlow State Community College
Ava Victoria Anderson, Gregory Ross Gates
Nashville State Community College
Danny Ray Ponder
Northeast State Community College
Paige DiPirro, Dakoda Elyshia Goodwin, Monica Leighanne Tucker
Pellissippi State Community College
Virginia Mardell Clark, Nathalie Shagayo Ndigaya
Roane State Community College
Kyra Morgan Hensley, Rachel Lynn Pearson
Southwest Tennessee Community College
Joseph L. Brock, Jaida V. Culp
Volunteer State Community College
Jeremy Paul Clark, Gareth Oliver Laffely
Walters State Community College
Rachel Eccles, Horace “Michael” Shultz
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.