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​Contact: Debra Dennis

For immediate release — April 4, 2019

(DALLAS) — Ten Dallas County Community College District students and several recent graduates have been named semifinalists for the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, announced by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

The scholarships are awarded to high-achieving community college students who want to complete their bachelor’s degrees by transferring to a four-year college or university. This year’s semifinalists were chosen from nearly 1,500 applicants across the U.S.

The Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship recipients are chosen based on their exceptional academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, service to others and leadership.

“Countless highly talented and motivated students begin their college experience at a community college and excel after they transfer,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “We’re pleased to recognize this incredible cohort of semifinalists for their academic drive and achievement.”

As owner of the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Lakers, Cooke recognized the additional expenses that community college students incur when they transfer, including housing fees, transportation costs and books. His generosity has helped narrow the achievement gap and place college students, some of whom are the first in their families to attend a four-year college, in competition with other scholars.

The Cooke scholarships recognize students who are determined to succeed, said Anna Mays, DCCCD’s associate vice chancellor for educational policy and student success.

“Students who complete degrees at our district’s seven colleges generally do better than students who start at a four-year school,” Mays said. “These students already have demonstrated success through their academic and service endeavors.”

DCCCD’s semifinalists include students who have received either the Erin Tierney Kramp Encouragement Scholarship or the Muse Scholarship; both are administered by the DCCCD Foundation.

DCCCD’s finalists are:

  • Pascal Bakari, a 2018 recipient of DCCCD’s Erin Tierney Kramp Scholarship, is studying industrial design at North Lake College. He is the assistant graphic designer in the college’s marketing department. Bakari plans to transfer to the University of Houston’s College of Architecture and Design. Bakari is the chapter president of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges. Last year, he studied abroad at the Global Citizenship Alliance Seminar in Salzburg, Vienna.
  • Sohyun Jun is also a DCCCD Erin Tierney Kramp scholar. An international student from South Korea, she is studying business and international relations at Brookhaven College. Jun plans to work for a global organization such as the United Nations. Her goal is to transfer to either the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Christian University or Southern Methodist University.
  • Osayamen Aimuyo is studying computer engineering at Brookhaven College. He is a STEM tutor and plans to transfer to the University of Texas at Dallas later this year. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and last year received the T-STEM Challenge Scholarship award at Brookhaven.
  • Maria Tovar Hernandez is a DCCCD Foundation Goldblatt Scholar and attends Brookhaven College. She plans to major in economics and minor in international and environmental studies. She wants to promote sustainable consumerism and own her own company in that field. She is still deciding where she wants to transfer.
  • Nneka Nnaji is a 2018 DCCCD Muse scholar. She is a student at Brookhaven College, where she has been active in the UNICEF Club and Phi Theta Kappa; she also is former vice president of the African Cultures Club. A criminal justice major, she plans to transfer to Sam Houston State University.
  • Zehe Plamin is also a STEM tutor at Brookhaven College. She is a member of the International Club, Korean Culture Club and Student Leadership Institute; she also serves as president of the African Culture Club. She plans to attend a four-year college to pursue mechatronics but has not yet selected a school.
  • Aria Jones is editor-in-chief at The EtCetera, the student newspaper published at Eastfield College, where she has been named reporter of the year. Last year, she also participated in DCCCD’s trip to Salzburg. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and is considering transferring to either Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Austin or New York University.
  • Liliana Gonzalez completed her degree in science at Mountain View College, where she earned a 3.8 grade point average. Currently enrolled at MVC, she is a member of the college’s honors program. She plans to transfer to Texas A&M University, where she will major in biomedical engineering. Gonzalez is president of Mountain View’s PTK chapter.
  • Deidra Oaks is finishing her final year at Richland College, where she is studying accounting. A student in Richland’s honors program, Oaks attended a transfer trip to Southern Methodist University where she plans to enroll. Oaks also takes courses at Mountain View and Eastfield colleges.
  • Yazmin Munoz is a first-generation college student at El Centro, where she is an officer of her Phi Theta Kappa chapter and a member of DCCCD’s Street Team. She also attended the Global Citizen Alliance in Austria. Munoz plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in nursing at either Texas Woman’s University or Texas A&M University.

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