SCC Phi Theta Kappa Student And Advisor Earn State-Level Recognition


West Burlington, IA- Southeastern Community College (SCC) Phi Theta Kappa student, Janel Orton, has been named Iowa’s 2015 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar after earning the top score in the state at the All-USA Community College Academic Team competition.

The New Century Scholars Program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa, and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The program and All-USA Community College Academic Team, which is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group and presented by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa, share a common application and recognize outstanding community college students.

Orton, along with 1,700 other applicants was nominated from over 1,000 community colleges for the honor.

Orton was selected for the All Iowa Academic Team, along with three other SCC students after completing PTK’s fall scholarship application. The application requires 15 short essays regarding the student’s academic success, leadership, and community service. Orton was then nominated for the state-level recognition.

As a Coca-Cola New Century Scholar, Orton will be presented with a $2,000 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Foundation and Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. The national application yielded $100,000 in scholarships to 50 community college scholars across the U.S.

Orton will also be recognized at the Annual Phi Theta Kappa Presidents Breakfast during the AACC’s Annual Convention on April 20, in San Antonio, Texas. Orton will also be honored at Phi Theta Kappa’s Annual Convention on April 16 through 18 in San Antonio, Texas. 

Orton says she will use the scholarship money to continue furthering her education.

“I transferred to the University of Iowa in January where I’m majoring in Accounting at the Tippie College of Business. The scholarship money will help with my tuition.”

SCC’s PTK Advisor, Carlene Woodside, was also recognized for her contributions to the honor society, being named PTK’s Distinguished Advisor of the Year. Woodside was selected out of 78 other PTK advisors in the Iowa region after being nominated by members of her chapter, including Orton.

“Janel actually spearheaded the process,” says Woodside. “Chapter members had to answer questions regarding how their advisor advocates for their chapter in the areas of awareness, funding, and visibility on campus and in the community.”

Because she was selected for the region-level award, Woodside is now in the running for International Distinguished Advisor of the Year. The award will be presented before the group leaves for the AACC’s annual convention in April.

From statistics captured by Phi Theta Kappa headquarters, the national average of success rate of all community college students completing a degree is 38 percent. The success rate of all PTK members completing a degree is 91 percent.

“I believe that we help create opportunities for students to be engaged on campus, in the community, in the state, and internationally.  This engagement and building relationships helps students to thrive and prosper academically, leading them to scholarships, and helps them become a productive member of the community,” says Woodside.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1,285 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in all 50 states.

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