Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Student Awarded Scholarship

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado PR Manager

Rio Salado College graduate Katherine “Kat” Robinson worked hard during her tenure at the Tempe-based college. And for her efforts she is one of 40 students across the country — and the only student in Arizona — to be awarded a Jake Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private foundation dedicated to helping young people of exception promise reach their full potential through education. The Foundation provides challenging opportunities to high achievers from lower-income families through its Young Scholars Program, generous scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study, and grants to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.

“Since it was established, the Foundation has recognized the importance of community colleges and their value to American society,” said Lawrence Kutner, the foundation’s executive director. “What we’ve also realized is that many top-notch students at these two-year colleges need financial help to get to the next level.”

The foundation will provide Robinson with a scholarship worth up to $30,000 a year for up to three years, which will allow her to transfer to a four-year college to complete her undergraduate degree. For Robinson, this will allow her to pursue her degree at Cornell University in New York.

“I am lucky enough to know my passion early in life — the law,” said Robinson. “Law school is only attainable with completion of a bachelor’s degree. I decided to transfer from community college in order to continue pursuit of my career goals.”

For Robinson, it was more than luck that helped her earn the scholarship. Robinson said Michelle Prins of Rio Salado College “is undoubtedly the best professor I have encountered in my academic career.” Prins built up her confidence, “while pushing me to challenge myself.”

The support and encouragement Robinson found at Rio Salado also lead her to being named to the All-Arizona Academic Team in February and the All-USA team in April.

Robinson earned her spot on the first team by maintaining a 3.93 grade-point average (GPA), earning 57 credits, and participating in a variety of college and community activities. Her activities include: Vice President of Leadership for the Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa; editor and writer for The Alpha Theta Omicron Alpha Bits; student coordinator of a Beautification and Community Garden Program; and a victim response member for Pandora’s Project.

As a member of the All-Arizona Academic Team she was awarded a cash prize of $1,000 and a full two-year renewable scholarship at one of Arizona’s three state universities. As a member of the All-USA team, she was awarded an additional $2,500.

“We are honored to have her represent Rio Salado College,” said Rio Salado President Chris Bustamante. “She is an outstanding student who has shown a passionate commitment for education and the community.”

The All-Arizona Academic Team scholarships are offered every year to two students from each of the state’s community colleges. To qualify, students must have earned a high grade point average and many credits in different academic disciplines at Rio Salado College, be working toward an associate degree, and be an active participant in service learning activities such as block watch participation, charity organizations, political organizations, religious groups and other community groups.

For more information about scholarship opportunities at Rio Salado College, please visit www.riosalado.edu/financial_aid.