Three Northeast Texas Community College students learned they had been named semifinalists for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Aaliyah Avellaneda, Jessie Parchman, and Hilda Rodriguez learned of the honor last week. They chose this year’s 440 semifinalists from a pool of more than 1,200 applicants attending 180 community colleges in 35 states. Jack Kent Cooke winners, who receive scholarships of $55,000 per year for up to three years, will be announced in May. Cooke Transfer Scholars are selected based on their exceptional academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, service, and leadership.
“The past year has been particularly difficult as students continued to navigate the complexities of hybrid learning, the demands of family care, and disrupted work schedules,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “We are so proud of these semifinalists for their perseverance and achievements at their community colleges.”
Aaliyah Avellaneda, a Presidential Scholar who was also recently selected for the All-Texas Academic Team and was named a Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar, recalls, “I was very happy and surprised. I got the email at work and didn’t know what to do, so I internally screamed. I am excited to be one of the three semifinalists along with Hilda and Jessie, who are extremely talented.” Aaliyah plans to build a career in family and immigration law practice and transfer to SMU.
Jessie Parchman is a Presidential Honors Scholar and a Chapel Hill high school senior. She was recently named a semifinalist in the Phi Theta Kappa International Officer elections and was the first person from this region to attend the Public Leadership Education Network Conference (PLEN). Jessie is a Biomedical Science major, and her career goal is to research infectious diseases and genetic variants that affect native populations.
“I am thankful that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation continues to provide opportunities for students,” said Jessie.
Presidential Scholar Hilda Rodriguez is the President of Psi Beta, Honor Society for Psychology, and is working to bring an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to our campus. She has presented at the Great Plains Honors Council (GPHC) and the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) and received the Chitsey Award in 2021. A passionate psychology major, Hilda would ultimately like to give back to her community and open multiple non-profit clinics near refugee or immigrant locations.
Hilda commented, “Through my college career, I have learned that there are endless possibilities.”
NTCC has had ten Jack Kent Cooke Scholars since 2010. Daniel Landaverde, Alicia Cantrell, Brenda Godoy, Anjelica Fuentes, Jessica Velazquez, Kayleah Cumpian, Stephen Milburn, Matthew Jordan, Stephanie Calderon, and Clara Ramirez all earned the scholarship in past years.