Category Archives: Honors Academy

Richland College Student Named Undergraduate Transfer Scholar by Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently announced that Richland College student Muaz Mohammed is one of 75 outstanding community college students with financial need nationwide to be awarded its Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

The Cooke Foundation received more than 2,300 qualified applications for this year’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships. The scholarship is worth up to $40,000 annually and is awarded to scholars with strong records of achievement as shown by grades, leadership, skills, awards, extraordinary service to others and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Muzak Mohammed standing outsideAt Richland College, Mohammed was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honors society for community colleges, completed the Student Leadership Institute in the fall of 2015 and served as the vice president of membership/public relations for the Honors Student Organization. While Mohammed has not yet made a decision on which four-year institution he will attend this fall, he is strongly considering Southern Methodist University.

“[Mohammed] is always excited about learning, and he shows this enthusiasm through his high grades and participation in honors classes,” said Kathleen Stephens, Ph.D., coordinator of the Richland College Honors Academy. “Muaz’s excellence in academics was recognized through his being awarded an honors scholarship in the fall of 2015. These scholarships are highly competitive and selective. Only 8 scholarships were awarded from our roster of 470 honors students in the fall of 2015.”

The Cooke Foundation scholarship is the largest private scholarship in the nation for students transferring from two-year community colleges to four-year institutions that award bachelor’s degrees. In addition to funding college costs not covered by other financial aid, it also offers academic advising, stipends for internships, study abroad and opportunities to network with other Cooke Scholars and alumni. Upon the completion of a bachelor’s degree, each Cooke Scholar is eligible to apply for a graduate school scholarship worth up to $50,000 annually for up to four years.

Since 2000, the Cooke Foundation has awarded approximately $147 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 students and $90 million in grants to organizations that serve outstanding low-income students.


Richland College Honors Academy Class to Host Food Drive, Oct. 21-Nov. 14

Grocery bag of canned goodsStudents in Visiting Scholar Mary Wood’s Honors English class at Richland College will make real-world connections between their coursework and the local community when they host a food drive Oct. 21-Nov. 14.

The food drive will kick off with a screening of “A Place at the Table,” a documentary film that investigates hunger in America and proposed solutions to the problem. The screening will be at 4 p.m. Oct. 21 in room SH118 in Sabine Hall and is free and open to the public.

“In class, I want to focus on how we can use writing to address and remedy social issues in America,” said Wood. “I am using the film to highlight the national issue of food insecurity while also opening a discussion of how this insecurity affects the Dallas area. Students will also look into other local issues to gain a better understanding of our local community and how they can use their writing to enter a dialogue about these issues.”

Richland College’s Honors Academy and the Office of Student Life will be assisting the students in the food drive that will benefit the North Texas Food Bank.

“It’s important to keep in mind that many people in our community are struggling to feed themselves and their children,” said Honors Academy Coordinator Kathleen Stephens. “The food drive is one way to help reduce food insecurity in our area and be mindful of those who need help. The Honors Academy and the Office of Student Life are delighted to partner with Mary Wood on this important project. Richland College students and the surrounding community can really help make a difference.”

Food drive organizers are hoping to meet a goal of collecting at least 250 non-perishable, nutritional food items during the drive. Acceptable donation items include granola bars, low-sodium vegetables and soups, canned tuna or chicken, peanut or almond butter, fruit rolls, whole grain crackers, brown rice and more. Glass containers will not be accepted.

Anyone interested in donating items may drop them off at one of the following locations on the Richland College campus: Honors Academy offices (El Paso Hall, room E056); Access Office (Alamito Hall, room A110); World Languages, Cultures and Communications office (Lavaca Hall, room L208); Multicultural Center (Thunderduck Hall, room T150); Richland Collegiate High School office (Crockett Hall, room C179); LEAD office (Crockett Hall, room C243) or the Office of Student Life (El Paso Hall, room E040).


New Honors Academy to provide challenging experience

Richland College announces the creation of a new Honors Academy for highly motivated, intellectually curious college students.

The Honors Academy is designed for students who desire to transfer to four-year institutions and who seek an exceptional learning experience in an enriched and challenging academic community in small, discussion-oriented classes with great teachers.

“Richland College created the Honors Academy to provide opportunities for students who desire to distinguish themselves in a globally competitive world,” said Zarina Blankenbaker, Richland College vice president for teaching and learning. “The Honors Academy is a natural step toward achieving Richland’s vision of being the best place we can be to learn, teach, and build a sustainable local and world community.”

Students who meet the Honors Academy requirements are being enrolled now for spring 2014 in sections of core courses including Biology 1407, English 1302, Government 2305 and Psychology 2301.

Honors Academy students will be exposed to higher levels of learning and will spend more time on application and analysis of course material.

In the co-curricular part of the program, Honors students will participate in local community activities and cultural events that incorporate learning experiences beyond the classroom.

Honors scholars will receive a special designation on their Richland College transcripts upon successful completion of Honors Academy requirements.

The Honors Academy’s faculty fellows for spring 2014 are: Dr. Ricardo Azpiroz, biology; Dr. Kacem Ayachi, government; Miguel Marrero, English; Ifeoluwa Togun, psychology; and Dr. Kendra Unruh, English. In addition to teaching Honors courses, these Richland College professors will attend Honors Academy events and will sponsor co-curricular and extracurricular activities.

The Richland College Honors Academy is open to all qualifying credit students, including new-to-college and transfer students. The Honors Academy will offer merit-based, partial scholarships of $500 to qualified students. To learn more about the application requirements, application process and contact information, please visit www.richlandcollege.edu/honors.