Three Tyler Junior College students have been selected as 2018 Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholars.
Each year, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars with nearly $200,000 in scholarships. In addition to a monetary award, each scholar also receives a commemorative medallion.
Students are nominated for the academic team by their college administrators. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership and engagement in college and community service.
Tal Carson, an American Sign Language and interpreting major from Tyler, has been named a Coca-Cola Gold Scholar and will receive a $1,500 scholarship. At TJC, she has been a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Student Senate and the Presidential Honors Program.
Carson, who will graduate from TJC in May, plans to transfer to a four-year university and pursue a career in education, journalism, politics or law.
“TJC has been amazing because of its people and because of the opportunities I’ve had to travel,” Carson said. “Through Phi Theta Kappa, I’ve been able to attend several conventions and meet lots of different people.
“I’m looking forward to going on TJC’s Project Costa Rica trip in May and excited to get to practice my Spanish. One of my passions is studying different Hispanic cultures and people groups, so I’m interested to see the differences between the Costa Rican culture and those in Mexico and Peru, which are places I’ve visited before.”
Cassi Beckham and Ebony Griffin have been named Coca-Cola Bronze Scholars and will each receive $1,000 scholarships.
Beckham, a sophomore marketing major from Athens, will graduate from TJC in May. At TJC, she has been a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the Presidential Honors Program and has been a student intern in the TJC Marketing, Media & Communications Department.
She plans to transfer to Baylor University to major in marketing and minor in nonprofit studies or The University of Texas to major in marketing. She hopes to work for a non-profit organization providing assistance to victims of sex trafficking.
“TJC was a great place for me to start,” Beckham said. “In our Presidential Honors Program classes, we learned more through interaction and conversations than a traditional classroom setting; and (Presidential Honors Director) Dave Funk is probably the most helpful, supportive person I’ve met here.
“Walking around campus, this doesn’t feel like a two-year school. If TJC were a four-year school, I would be happy to just stay here.”
Griffin, a sophomore biology major from Rusk, will graduate from TJC in May. At TJC, she has been in the Presidential Honors Program, a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and Apache Chiefs and Ambassadors, a group of student leaders who assist with new student orientation and provide campus tours.
She plans to transfer to The University of Texas at Tyler, where she will major in biology and minor in biochemistry. She hopes to be a pediatric gastroenterologist.
“TJC has opened doors I didn’t think were possible at a community college,” Griffin said. “For instance, it had been a longtime dream of mine to travel to Spanish-speaking countries, and last year I was able to go on TJC’s Project Costa Rica trip and help to build a park. It was my first time on an airplane and my first time to visit a foreign country. I will never forget that.
“I not only developed my academic skills at TJC, being an Apache Chief also helped me grow in my social skills and gave me a lot of self-confidence. It’s been a great experience for me.”
“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said J. Mark Davis, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals.”
Coca-Cola Academic Team members will be recognized in both local and statewide ceremonies and will also be recognized internationally during Phi Theta Kappa’s annual convention, PTK Catalyst, April 19-21 in Kansas City, Missouri.
“We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for recognizing these student leaders and for investing in their futures,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, president and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa. “Scholarships like these are integral to the success of these students in reaching their educational and career goals.”
Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations.