Volume 4, Number 15 - June 17, 2014

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Tomás Monzón
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Scholarship Winners: Two Kendall campus students, pictured from left to right, Norka Lecca and Karen Burgos, won the coveted Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship to complete their bachelor's degrees at the university of their choice. Both students will receive $30,000 per year for their junior and senior year's of study. CARLOS LLANO\MDC MEDIA RELATIONS

Two Kendall Campus Students Snag Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

By Tomás Monzón

Two Kendall Campus students were awarded a prestigious scholarship to complete their bachelor's degrees at highly selective universities.

Norka Lecca and Karen Burgos won the $30,000 Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship that recognizes students’ academic persistence and achievement in the face of difficult circumstances.

“[Karen and I] were invited to go see [Lourdes] Oroza, the [Kendall] Campus president, with our Honors College adviser, Jennifer Bravo,” Lecca said. ”We thought we were there for a ‘special project,’ but little did we know that we would instead be told that we had received the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.”

Considered the largest private scholarship available for students at two-year institutions, the 13-year old scholarship selected 85 finalists from across the country this year from a pool of 3,705 applicants whose academic persistence and achievement in the face of difficult circumstances, such as an average gross adjusted family income of $25,000, made them worthy candidates.

Lecca  plans to transfer to the University of Miami. Burgos hopes to transfer to Swarthmore, Florida International University or the University of Florida.

“I was taken completely by surprise,” said Burgos, who graduated from Miami Dade College on May 3 with a 4.0 GPA. “But when I realized it was for real, my first thought was that I couldn’t wait to tell my parents.”

Lecca was born in Lima, Peru. An alumnus of G. Holmes Braddock High School, she  wants to pursue a career in political science, aspiring to be a civil rights lawyer and judge. During her time at the Honors College, she was a part of a student group that began a political awareness club. She was also involved with Phi Theta Kappa, becoming the vice president of scholarships by the end of her first year at MDC.

“This scholarship means everything to me,” Lecca said. “With it, I feel almost invincible, as if nothing and no one can stop me from reaching my goals.”

Burgos, a multilingual Cuban native, wants to pursue a career in linguistics. She sees language as a “giant series of patterns” that is worth analyzing, even though actual job opportunities for linguistics majors are “risky.”

A self-professed vocalist and longtime piano player, Burgos also enjoys songwriting and musical composition. Initially reluctant to attend MDC, the insufficient financial aid packages other schools offered, left her no choice.

During her time at MDC, she maintained a 4.0 GPA and performed service activities in and outside of the College, from cleanup projects with Youth for Environmental Sustainability Club to working with autistic children at Caribbean Elementary.

“[The scholarship] means that the work I’ve done these past two years has paid off,” Burgos said. “In a way, it’s validating to know someone else finds value in what I’ve done.”

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
ethnicity, pregnancy, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, or genetic information.
Contact the Office of Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, ADA and Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for assistance.