Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rio Students Named to All-Arizona Academic Team

Rio Salado College students Debra Dencek and Brendan Pierce were recognized at a state-wide honors banquet on Wednesday, February 23 for their acceptance to the All-Arizona Academic Team.

Team members are selected based on their community college accomplishments. Judges for the competition review academic performance, extra-curricular activity and written responses to several essay questions.

Dencek studies Dental Hygiene at Rio Salado and is a Chancellor’s Scholar for the 2010-11 school year. She volunteers at the Cave Creek School District assisting with health screenings and participates in AmeriCorps, a community outreach program. Dencek also serves as Vice President of Service for the Alpha Theta Omicron chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and holds a 3.71 GPA.

Dencek uses her coursework in the Dental Hygiene program as a platform from which to educate her patients and encourage oral health in her community.

“My outreach work affords me the opportunity to serve my community by offering dental services,” Dencek said.

Pierce, an economics major, serves as president of the Alpha Theta Omicron chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and is a contributing writer for the organization’s student newsletter. He also volunteers at a local animal shelter and considers himself an animal rescue activist.

Pierce has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and recently completed two associate degrees.

“As a student who has considered half a dozen possible majors, the community college has given me the flexibility to explore options in varying academic disciplines,” Pierce said. “I have received thorough preparation toward seeking advanced degrees, and my instructors’ expertise and level of passion for their content areas have been impressive.”

Nominees to the Phi Theta Kappa sponsored academic competition are offered several scholarship options to help pay tuition at Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University or the University of Arizona.

Winning a spot on the All-Arizona team provides additional rewards including up to $1,000 in cash and the opportunity to continue on to a national competition.