Cengage partners with Phi Theta Kappa and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) every year to give $5,000 scholarships to twenty of the nation’s top college students. It’s called the All-USA Academic Team scholarship, and it’s widely recognized as a high honor for students seeking an associate degree. We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the winners, who worked tremendously hard to earn this scholarship, and to highlight each of their individual journeys in hopes that these outstanding students will inspire you as much as they inspire us.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College – Jackson County Campus (MS)
Major: Business Administration with a focus on Marketing
Lucia is a bilingual, first-generation American with plans to start a career in immigration law and politics, with a focus on reforming the U.S. immigration system. She’s a member of her college’s student government, the founder of the Hispanic American Club and a 2021 Leaders of Promise Scholar. She worked with local businesses to establish the S.A.L.S.A (Society Advocating for Latin Student Achievement) scholarship, serves as a Phi Theta Kappa chapter vice president and is the first female in Mississippi to become an Eagle Scout.
Jasmine “Camille” Brown
Georgia Highlands College – Douglasville Campus (GA)
Major: Business Administration with a focus on Entrepreneurship
Camille is a violinist and songwriter, and she’s considering starting her own record label to mentor and support young artists. She’s also interested in writing music for video games, movies and musical productions. Camille has overcome health challenges, including anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia. She serves as a Phi Theta Kappa chapter vice president and regional vice president, organizing and helping with various activities such as the College Earth Day Clean Up and Drive-In Movie Night. For her PTK chapter’s Honors in Action event, Camille proposed an endeavor related to human trafficking, partnering with an awareness organization to host information tables and coordinating a hygiene product collection project for human trafficking survivors.
Rogue Community College – Grants Pass Campus (OR)
Major: Advanced Manufacturing
Megan is a non-traditional student with a passion for growing food sustainably using manufacturing technology to reduce costs for small farmers and ranchers. She’s currently working on her business plan and designing an automated machine to perform post-harvest and packaging. She plans to start a manufacturing company that produces mobile automated units for small farms. Megan is the co-caregiver to her partner’s intellectually disabled sister. She also won the 2019-2020 Outstanding Student Employee of the Year Award for the Rogue Community College Welding Department.
Jefferson State Community College – Shelby-Hoover Campus (AL)
Major: Business Administration – Entrepreneurship and Communications
Hannah is a non-speaking student and uses a letterboard for communications. She will be the first degree candidate in Alabama to use a laminated letterboard as a means of communication. Hannah is the president and primary researcher for her Phi Theta Kappa chapter. She’s also the editor of her school’s literary magazine and is set to receive an award for her writing at the Sigma Kappa Delta national convention in March. She hopes to open a consulting firm to work with school districts, advocating for non-speaking students.
Bossier Parish Community College (LA)
Major: Health Care Administration and Data Analytics
Brianna will be graduating from high school one year early. She’s a dual-enrolled student and new Phi Theta Kappa member who has been involved in a wide variety of community service activities. Much of her volunteer work has revolved around suicide awareness and prevention efforts. Brianna plans to join the U.S. Air Force immediately after earning her master’s degree. She hopes to work in hospital administration after her military service.
Chipola College – Marianna Campus (FL)
Major: Dental Hygiene
Cheyenne worked in a dental office in her rural hometown and plans to pursue a career in dentistry. After a mission trip to Tanzania, Cheyenne created the “Thrifting for Tanzania” project in which she collected clothing and toys, opened a thrift store and used the proceeds to dig a well in a Tanzanian community so they could have easy access to clean drinking water. She is a Phi Theta Kappa chapter vice president, Physics and Organic Chemistry tutor and secretary of the Student Scientist Association. Cheyenne continues to participate in community volunteering through her church.
Orange County Community College – Middletown Campus (NY)
Major: Business/Non-Profit Management
Carly is a non-traditional student who plans to transfer to Pace University. In the past, she was involved in a volunteer project to build a new school in Trebisht, Albania after theirs had burned down. She’s also been involved with Project Hospitality, the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, the SUNY Orange Foundation and a local non-profit called Fearless that assists families impacted by domestic abuse. Carly is the vice president of her Phi Theta Kappa chapter.
American River College – Sacramento Campus (CA)
Major: Math & Statistics
Brianna will receive her Bachelor’s in Applied Mathematics and plans to become a Math professor in the California Community College system after earning her doctorate. She restarted her campus’ Phi Theta Kappa chapter after it had been inactive and now serves as the chapter president. She’s a member of the Women in STEM Club, Vice-Chair of the Student Senate California Community Colleges’ STEM Caucus, Student Senate Director of Finance and a local youth group leader.
Walters State Community College – Morristown Campus (TN)
Tanner plans to transfer to Tennessee Technological University and major in Civil Engineering and Urban Planning. He became interested in working with infrastructure after the groundwater in his hometown was contaminated due to failed septic systems. Tanner is an Eagle Scout and serves as the Vice President of Scholarship for his Phi Theta Kappa chapter. He has participated in various volunteer activities within his community, including church mission events, county trash pickups and remote medical clinic takedown.
Jefferson State Community College – Birmingham Campus (AL)
Frank is a non-traditional and first-generation college student who plans to transfer to the University of Alabama at Birmingham and later work in mental health services. He is a U.S. Army veteran who served for 8 years. Frank helped to establish a non-profit dedicated to the historical preservation and revitalization of historic downtown Pell City. He is the vice president of Fellowship at his Phi Theta Kappa chapter and regional officer – vice president of District Two for the Alabama Region.
Cottey College – Nevada Campus (MO)
Major: Biological Sciences
Edilawit is an international student from Ethiopia. She plans to transfer to Pittsburg State University in Kansas and eventually to the Albany School of Medicine. After she becomes a physician, Edilawit hopes to return to Ethiopia to establish a rural medical center. She was awarded a Cottey’s Serenbetz Institute grant to conduct undergraduate research on climate change. She’s a Phi Theta Kappa chapter treasurer and member of the International Friendship Circle.
Miami Dade College – Eduard J. Padron Campus (FL)
Susana hopes to one day enter corporate litigation and practice for a private law firm. She would eventually like to do pro bono work and contribute to non-profits. Susana is also very interested in the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations and would like to one day serve as a lawyer for the UN. She is the president of her Phi Theta Kappa chapter and has worked on a variety of volunteering projects, including an Honors in Action project on mental health awareness.
Halianna “Hali” Piller
Pima Community College – Downtown Campus (AZ)
Major: Business Administration – Finance
Halianna has overcome a lot of adversity to reach her goals, having struggled financially during her childhood and experiencing homelessness at one point. She’s a Phi Theta Kappa chapter president and regional vice president, Pima Honors Club officer, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Club member, Arizona Department of Education’s Latinx Advisory Board member and more.
Centralia College – Main Campus (WA)
Major: Physical Sciences with a focus on Geosciences
Isaac is interested in the fields of geological hazards and volcanology. He plans to transfer to Colorado School of Mines and hopes to one day work for the United States Geological Survey or the National Park System. Isaac conducted two capstone research projects in Mathematics and Geology as an underage enrollment student before commencing full-time study at Centralia College. He’s a Phi Theta Kappa chapter president, campus representative for Geological Society of America and co-chair of the AEG Communications Committee.
Raritan Valley Community College – North Branch Campus (NJ)
Major: Business Administration with a concentration in Finance
Sangeetha plans to transfer to Northeastern University in Massachusetts and hopes to become a financial consultant for non-profit organizations. She’s a first-generation American, dual-enrolled student and Phi Theta Kappa vice president of Communication. Sangeetha developed a UNICEF chapter in high school and serves as the president, and has been a volunteer for her public library, ZoomKidz and other organizations.
Benjamin “Benji” Rawald
Lake Washington Institute of Technology – Kirkland Campus (WA)
Benji plans to transfer to the University of Washington and pursue a career as a computer hardware engineer. After college, he hopes to do research and development for a global computer manufacturing organization to increase awareness of producing less toxic computer components. He wants to reduce the world’s toxic tech footprint, one computer chip at a time. Benji individually completed more than 2,800 hours of conservation service, including planting milkweed seeds to help disappearing Monarch butterfly populations. He is the president of his Phi Theta Kappa chapter, a Boy Scout Assistant Scout Master and project lead for an HIA project on protecting rural groundwater.
Andrea Salazar Calderon
Pima Community College – District Office Campus (AZ)
Major: Business Administration – Human Resources
Andrea is a first-generation American as well as a first-generation college student. She loves aviation and would like to work for a nonprofit where volunteer pilots assist with free transportation for medical treatments. Andrea is also interested in eventually starting a flight training school. She’s a Phi Theta Kappa chapter vice president, Honors Club officer and Director of Student Resources at a non-profit that promotes financial literacy. Andrea co-founded Pima Community College’s chapter of “Love Notes.” It’s a project that writes letters of encouragement, holiday cards and notes of gratitude for seniors and staff at assisted-living facilities.
Schenectady County Community College – Main Campus (NY)
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Sydney wants to research regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy. Due to personal experiences, Sydney is very interested in working with those who have suffered spinal cord injuries. She’s a first-generation student and plans to transfer to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY). Sydney helped to create a community garden for her college and is the founder and current president of the Garden Club. She’s also a Phi Theta Kappa vice president and holds leadership roles in numerous campus groups, including the Awards Committee, Civic Engagement Committee, Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program and many others.
Galveston College – Main Campus (TX)
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Kyle is a dual-enrolled student and first-generation American. After experiencing several medical issues as an athlete, he’s become interested in developing a compression sleeve that would reduce work accidents and sports injuries. Kyle has attended University of Texas Medical Branch’s STEM and Bioresearch camps. He also secured one of two coveted spots to work in the University of Texas Medical Branch Undergraduate Research Internship with Dr. Junji Iwahar in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Thomas Nelson Community College – Hampton Campus (VA)
Major: Visual Arts
Anastasia is a non-traditional student who hopes to guide and encourage others to produce art that promotes self-exploration and healing. She is a former substance abuser who has been sober since May 9, 2017. Anastasia has used art as a healing tool in her own life. She is a Phi Theta Kappa chapter secretary, chairperson at the Oxford Houses of Virginia Alumni Association and is committed to sitting on an art committee for a 12-step program’s regional convention in 2023.