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Area DCCCD Students Honored With Muse Scholarships


For immediate release — Aug. 26, 2010

(DALLAS) — Seven area Dallas County Community College District students are people you can depend on to succeed; they demonstrate community leadership, a strong sense of purpose, a deep work ethic and clear educational goals. They have potential. They are determined, and as a result, each has received the 2010-2011 Muse Scholarship, beginning this fall.

The recipients are: Deanna Daniels of Oak Leaf, who attends Cedar Valley College; Alex Freire of Fort Worth, who is a student at Richland College; Sadia Gulzar, who lives in DeSoto and attends El Centro College; Peter Mugga, a resident of Dallas and a student at Richland; Jason Palguta of Farmers Branch; Denisse Reynoso of Farmers Branch who starts at North Lake College this fall; Sheri Stickley of Grand Prairie, who attends both Mountain View and El Centro; and Dacota Scott Taylor of Emory, who is enrolled at Richland College.

Created and funded by longtime DCCCD Foundation supporters Lyn and John Muse of Dallas, the Muse Scholarship Program fully supports each recipient’s costs in college — including tuition, books and additional fees — to meet the requirements of either the certificate program or degree plan under which the student is enrolled. Students may receive the Muse Scholarship for up to six consecutive semesters.

“Determination and potential are key characteristics we look for in our Muse scholars,” said Betheny Reid, associate vice chancellor of development and president of the DCCCD Foundation. “Lyn and John Muse believe in those traits, as well as a strong work ethic and clear educational goals. Each recipient exhibits those characteristics, and we are excited to have them as students at DCCCD. They are future leaders, and we hope to help them reach their educational and professional goals.”

Student biographical sketches are found below; for more information, contact Kathye Hammontree with the DCCCD Foundation at (214) 378-1531.

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Press contact: Ann Hatch


Dallas County Community College District
2010-2011 Muse Scholarship Recipients
Biographical Sketches

Deanna Daniels — Daniels, who lives in Oak Leaf and attends Cedar Valley College, is majoring in business management. She has a 4.0 grade point average and works as a human resources generalist for an area company where she has been employed for 15 years. She is a member of the community college academic honorary Phi Theta Kappa and recently attended PTK’s regional conference in Texas; was chosen for Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges; and is involved in her church. Self-described as a “dreamer,” Daniels is a mom and spouse who has managed full-time employment, family and classes to pursue her degree and her desire to help others. “If I can do it, others can do it,” she says. 

Alex Freire — Fort Worth resident Alex Freire, who holds a 3.9 GPA and is pursuing a degree in management, is enrolled at Richland College. A native of Brazil, he was raised by a single mom and his grandparents before he came to the U.S. to go to college. (Several times he had to postpone that dream to help both his grandmother and father who both were ill.) Learning to speak English has been a challenge he enthusiastically pursued. A volunteer at church and in his community, Freire has helped young people in Brazil become familiar with computers and the Internet. When he finishes his associate degree at Richland, he would like to work for a global company where he can learn and become a good manager.

Sadia Gulzar — El Centro College student Sadia Gulzar wants to become a nurse so that she can give back to her community. She was enrolled previously at Brookhaven College, where she received the Brookhaven Student Leadership Award, the Max and Rosa Goldblatt Leadership Award and the Brookhaven Student Government Leadership Award, as well as scholarships from the American Association of University Women. “Personally, I feel that nursing is one of the most rewarding careers,” she says. A student assistant in the student life office at El Centro, Gulzar is a member of the Alpha Phi Omega international co-ed service fraternity. She also volunteers her time at college-sponsored events such as graduation and registration.

Peter Mugga — Ugandan, Peter Mugga attends Richland College, where he wants to use music technology to blend African music with Western styles. He also dreams of a day when his country will benefit “from as much education as possible.” Mugga, who has earned a 3.8 GPA, is a Dallas resident. He has music in his soul (his father, a peasant farmer in Uganda, was a drummer, too). He taught music at his former high school; was lead drummer for a touring dance group from Uganda; and also was a guest teacher for a world drumming instructor at Richland. He traveled six times to the United States, touring with the groups Children of Uganda and the Spirit of Uganda, sharing African culture and sharing global awareness about AIDS. He eventually plans to return to his country, set up a music production company and share his passion for music with others — giving them a platform to promote their musical talents.

Jason Palguta — Farmers Branch resident Jason Palguta drives to Irving to attend classes at North Lake College. A physics major, he has organized calculus and physics study groups at the college; is a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta (a mathematics honorary); and was selected as a primary applicant for the Texas Community College Aerospace scholarship, where he will work with NASA engineers at the Johnson Space Center. In his spare time, he teaches tennis and maintains a 3.8 GPA. His academic focus is on “striving to interpret the physical universe in all its complexities through science.” Palguta plans to become an astrophysicist and to leave a successful career in consumer finance.

Denisse Reynoso — With her eye on a career in architecture, Farmers Branch resident Denisse Reynoso plans to earn a degree from North Lake College and then transfer to a university where she will earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. A June 2010 graduate of R.L. Turner High School, she also may become a mathematics teacher so that she can give back to her community. At Turner, Reynoso was a dual credit student, and she served as an officer of PRIDE, an organization that helps reduce high school drop-out; was social officer for the drill team; and recruited students to attend the 2010 Hispanic Youth Symposium (for which she received a scholarship from Southern Methodist University and a grant from the symposium organizers).

Sheri Strickley — Grand Prairie resident Sheri Strickley is taking classes for her major in nursing at both Mountain View and El Centro colleges. She has a GPA of 3.78, works full time and plans to specialize in pediatrics or sports medicine nursing. She has served as a mentor for Special Olympics, is a certified coach and is a board member for the local Special Olympics organization. A member of Phi Theta Kappa, Strickley chose the field of nursing after one of her sons, born with tuberous sclerosis, went through many treatments and tests as they dealt with his disease. “I knew that I wanted to help people and be compassionate to their needs,” she recalls. “During this time, I set my goal to become a nurse.” She is committed to achieving that goal.

Dacota Scott Taylor — Already involved in television reporting as a dual credit high school student, Dacota Scott Taylor is making plans to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in broadcast journalism. A resident of Emory, the recent high school graduate is attending Richland College, where he already has served as news director for KDUX-TV. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society; was named to the President’s Honor List at Richland; and is heavily involved in competitive Olympic recurve archery, earning a rank of first in the state and 15th nationally. One of his goals is to become a member of the U.S. Olympic archery team; the other is to become a television anchor. “It’s important to aim high,” he says.

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