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UT System and Texas Association of Community Colleges recognize outstanding community college students

Texas’ top community college students recently were honored at the 2021 All-Texas Academic Team Virtual Medallion Ceremony, hosted by The University of Texas System and the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

A total of 131 students from 34 Texas community colleges were recognized for outstanding achievement during the virtual event March 26 which featured keynote speakers Archie L. Holmes, Jr., PhD, UT System executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Lynn Tincher-Ladner, PhD, president and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa.

Award winners were nominated by their respective institutions and selected by Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for students from two-year colleges. Nominees were evaluated on several criteria, including academic achievement, community service, leadership and expression.

“The All-Texas Academic team embodies the best elements of Texas community colleges. Through their leadership, academic achievements and civic engagement, each student has worked to better themselves, their schools and their local communities,” said Jacob Fraire, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Community Colleges. “It is an honor to serve them and their institutions.”

Two of the All-Texas scholars, Ferdinando Castro Gonzalez of Richland College and Mary Nguyen of Lone Star College - Tomball also were recognized for their selection to the 2021 All USA Academic Team.

The All-USA program is widely recognized as the most prestigious academic honor for students seeking an associate degree or credential. Students are selected for their intellectual rigor, academic achievement, leadership, and civic growth, and for extending their educational experiences to better themselves, their colleges, and their surrounding communities. These students were nominated by their colleges for the scholarship program.

In addition to a $5,000 scholarship, Gonzalez and Nguyen will receive a special medallion, and their college presidents receive a commemorative obelisk in recognition of their leadership.

Sixteen students from Texas community colleges also were recognized for their selection to the Coca-Cola All-State Community College Academic Team and will receive scholarship awards ranging from $1,000 to $1500. Scholarship winners include:

Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholars ($1,500 scholarship award)

  • Sewar Ali, Amarillo College
  • Jalyn English, Northeast Texas Community College
  • Crystal Farmer, Austin Community College
  • Autumn Henry, Tarrant County College
  • Amy Joffrion, Tyler Junior College
  • Muskaan Khanna, Lone Star College
  • Shadae Lewis, Lone Star College
  • Garrett Norwine, Collin College
  • Elise Vicknair, Austin Community College

Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholars ($1,250 scholarship award)

  • Afolabi Adebiyi, Houston Community College
  • Jacob Griffith, Tyler Junior College
  • America McDaniel, Lone Star College
  • Kathryn Price, Lone Star College

Coca-Cola Academic Team Bronze Scholars ($1,000 scholarship award)

  • Griselda Espinoza, Lamar State College – Port Arthur
  • Jordan Rourke, Collin College
  • Anna Seida, Collin College

“It is always a pleasure and an honor to recognize the top-performing community college students in Texas at this annual event, some of whom we will welcome into University of Texas institutions in coming months” said Rebecca Karoff, PhD, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “We do so this year when a global pandemic has required even greater commitment and sacrifices from students, making their achievements all the more impressive.”

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 14 institutions, an enrollment of more than 240,000 students and an operating budget of $21.7 billion (FY 2021), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 64,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 9.2 million outpatient visits and 1.8 million hospital days last year. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 3 for most U.S. patents granted in 2019, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

News Contact Information

Karen Adler: • 512-499-4360 (direct) • 210-912-8055 (cell)