Category Archives: Student Success
Richland College and State Farm recently partnered up to offer Richland students the opportunity to join a mentor program with mid- and senior-level employees at State Farm in Richardson. The program is designed in a multifaceted manner that pairs students with likeminded individuals, allowing the students the opportunity to interact and engage with State Farm employees and receive guidance on future educational goals and career options.
To apply, fill out the application located here.
Craig Hinkle, principal of Richland Collegiate High School, recently announced that Isra Abdulwadood of Garland, Ashley Babjac of McKinney, Stephan Farnsworth of Wylie, Swikriti Paudyal of Plano, and Sunnie Rhodes of Plano, all Richland Collegiate High School (RCHS) students, have been named Commended Students in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. These students join some 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation who are all being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Hinkle will present each of these scholastically talented seniors a Letter of Commendation from Richland Collegiate High School and from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).
Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Competition by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Abdulwadood, Babjac, Farnsworth, Paudyal and Rhodes will not continue in the 2017 competition for National Merit Scholarship Awards.
“The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented an NMSC spokesperson. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role these schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”
Richland Collegiate High School is a school designed to provide a rigorous academic experience for high school juniors and seniors. Students complete their last two years of high school at Richland College by taking college courses and earning college credits with a focus on mathematics, science and engineering or visual, performing and digital arts. These students can potentially graduate with both their high school diploma and an associate degree, prepared to transfer to a four-year university. Tuition and books are free, making RCHS an educational and affordable choice.
For more information on the Richland Collegiate High School, visit richlandcollege.edu/rchs/
Being a good dancer requires grace, poise and hard work; being an expert dancer also requires a keen mental and physical alertness, strength, balance, control, sensitivity to kinesthetic awareness and an ability to connect with an audience – all things that Richland College dance student Leah Brashear has. And the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School has noticed.
Brashear recently completed her first year of studies in Richland College’s dance program, which helped her to get accepted into the Joffrey Ballet Dallas Summer Intensive Program and the Joffrey Ballet School four-year program of Jazz and Contemporary Dance in New York City.
“When I found out that I got accepted into the Joffrey summer intensive program, I was so glad that I could learn from one of the best dance schools in the country,” said Brashear. “When I also found out that I was accepted to four years of study at the Joffrey Ballet School, I was more than happy! I have always had some self-esteem problems, and finding out that I was accepted at such a prestigious dance school made me believe in myself.”
The Joffrey Ballet School was founded by Robert Joffrey in 1953, and has been cultivating dancers for more than 60 years. It has produced professional dancers, choreographers, studio owners and professionals in the industry. Many graduates are currently dancing with Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Nevada Ballet, Complexion and Ballet West among other companies across the United States. The Jazz and Contemporary Dance program is designed for dancers who want to focus on jazz and contemporary styles of movement, while also incorporating a wider knowledge of classical ballet and modern dance.
Gina Sawyer, Richland College dance program director, is proud of the skills that Leah has developed in Sawyer’s jazz, tap dance and performance classes.
“Leah’s dancing skills have certainly improved during her time at Richland,” said Sawyer. “She listens and develops during the rehearsal process. During the past year, she has taken greater risks in dancing. She also has a strong inner awareness about her, she picks up movement quickly, she understands the quality of each movement, and she shines. She’s one of many dancers in the program who really shine. She will do great at Joffrey and any professional dance setting that she is in.”
In addition to teaching dance classes, Sawyer also directs and sets choreography for the formal dance concert performed each semester at Richland College. Brashear performed as one of the lead dancers in Richland’s spring dance concert, True Colors, which was a contemporary lyrical piece choreographed by Sawyer. The show was about empowering individuals to discover their unique voice and imagine the possibilities. Brashear sent a recording of that performance as her audition tape to Joffrey, and was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet School and the summer intensive program based on her exceptional skills and graceful movements showcased in that performance.
“My goal in creating the choreography for True Colors was for each of the four dancers to have a sense of equality among them in their performance,” said Sawyer. “It wasn’t about featuring one dancer, it was about each dancer being featured and having a unique voice. Dancers are not always featured in a piece each semester, and it took a lot of work to create four different, lead dance roles. Joffrey required candidates to submit a piece in which they were featured, so Leah had the chance to share this performance with them. They obviously liked what they saw!”
The Dallas Summer Intensive Program was hosted at Texas Woman’s University, and lasted three weeks in August. The program focused on jazz, contemporary and modern dance forms. Other classes included classical and contemporary ballet technique, street jazz, Pilates and yoga. At the end of the intensive program, each student performed in a professionally produced theatre performance.
Now that she has completed the summer intensive program, Brashear will continue to study dance for one more year at Richland College before deciding where to attend school in Fall 2017. She is considering accepting the offer to study at the Joffrey Ballet School or attending the American Dance Academy in New York or Ballet Austin in Austin, Tex. Once she graduates, Brashear plans either to dance professionally or be a dance instructor for young children at a school or dance studio.
“I decided to stay at Richland for another year, so I can mentally and physically prepare myself and be ready to make such a big move,” said Brashear. “Richland has helped me a lot with dance. Gina Sawyer is one of the best dance instructors I ever had. She has taught me skills that none of my past dance instructors ever taught me. She encourages dancers and non-dancers to get out of their safe zone. With her guidance, I have become a stronger, better and more confident dancer.”
The Richland College Dance Program provides a challenging teaching and learning environment for students that values diversity, develops artistic excellence, fosters creative and collaborative practices, and encourages personal agency and social responsibility in appreciating dance. On November 2 at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., the dance program will perform the Fall 2016 dance concert, Fire and Ice. This will showcase a variety of dance styles including contemporary modern, jazz, tap and hip hop dance styles.
For more information on the Richland College dance program, visit our website at www.richlandcollege.edu/hfp/dance-program.
Richland Collegiate High School (RCHS) student Abbas Zaki recently spent 39 days operating a research-grade telescope, taking images of a near-earth asteroid and writing software to measure its position by precisely calculating its orbital path.
The asteroid, named 2003 LS3, was closely tracked, and based on data collected by Zaki and other students, they were able to determine that the asteroid will not collide with any of the planets in the solar system for the next four million years.
Zaki’s research was done as part of the 58th annual Summer Science Program (SSP) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and he was one of only 36 gifted science students who came from around the world for this academic challenge, collaboration and personal growth. Together with his student colleagues, Zaki worked closely with university professors; met prominent guest speakers, such as an astronaut and a Nobel Prize physicist; and took behind-the-scenes tours of local scientific, educational and cultural sites, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Lockheed Martin. At Lockheed Martin, the students learned about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Gravity Recover and Interior Laboratory mission. The students also visited the control room of the ongoing Juno mission. The NASA space probe Juno was launched in 2010 and reached its destination of Jupiter on July 5.
“The part that I enjoyed most about the program was the opportunity to transcend my financial circumstances and to form friendships with, and learn alongside, brilliant students from all over the world who shared my ambition and desire for knowledge,” said Zaki. “I also thoroughly enjoyed being able to interact with the guest speakers, who were among the best in their fields, and to learn about some of the work they had done.”
Zaki was able to attend SSP through financial support from QuestBridge, a scholarship program that provides high achieving, low-income students with tools necessary to attend some of the best universities in the nation.
“Abbas truly understands the meaning of hard work,” said Richland Collegiate High School Principal Craig Hinkle. “RCHS students enroll in our program to set themselves apart, not just in earned college credits, but in their willingness to reach out beyond expectations. Abbas has quite literally done that. I can’t wait to hear where he lands next!”
The SSP is an independent nonprofit operated in cooperation with the California Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since 1959, this highly selective program has offered gifted teens the opportunity to conduct research in a professional setting. Many SSP alumni go on to earn advanced degrees and obtain leadership roles in their chosen careers.
Richland Collegiate High School provides a rigorous academic experience for high school juniors and seniors. Students can complete their last two years of high school at Richland College by taking college courses and earning college credits with a focus on mathematics, science and engineering.
For more information on SSP, visit summerscience.org. For information on RCHS, visit richlandcollege.edu/rchs.
Richland College student Ezra Calado was recently named one of 11 Terry Transfer Scholars at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) for the 2016-2017 school year. This highly competitive scholarship provides full tuition for up to three years of undergraduate or graduate study, housing, a stipend for other college-related expenses and funding for a separate study abroad semester.
“I was really relieved and shocked when I found out I received the Terry Transfer Scholarship,” said Calado. “I set a goal in high school that I would graduate college debt free, and I thought it would be impossible because I knew that transfer scholarships at full tuition level were very competitive. I’m sure that UTD will be a place that can elevate my leadership experiences and help me grow as a student and future professional.”
The Terry Transfer Scholarship is awarded to non-traditional students who are transferring from a Texas community college, are pursuing their first baccalaureate degree and have been accepted for admission to a Terry-affiliated public university in Texas. Recipients are chosen based on academic excellence, leadership experience in their school and community and financial need. Calado was invited to apply to the Terry Transfer Scholarship program by UTD, where she completed a rigorous application and interview process before being accepted to begin in fall 2016. She will major in accounting and global business and minor in international political economy.
“I’ve known Ezra for two years, as she is an honors student at Richland and executive vice president of the Honors Student Organization,” said Kathleen Stephens, Ph.D., coordinator of the Richland College Honors Academy. “Ezra is deserving of this scholarship because she has enthusiastically served the other honors students through her leadership, her dedication to her honors courses, and her exceptionally uplifting, cheerful attitude toward everyone she meets and works with at Richland. She is an outstanding Thunderduck, and UT Dallas will benefit from her commitment to her education and her leadership skills. Richland College, especially the honors program, will miss her, and we are very proud of her.”
In addition to serving as the executive vice president/vice president of events for the Honors Student Organization, Calado also served as the vice president of the Student Government Association and was a DCCCD Muse Scholar, a 2014 APIASF AANAPISI Scholar, and a Phi Theta Kappa member during her time at Richland College. Calado was also named the 2016 Amidon-Beauchamp Richland Student Leader of the Year, which is an award given annually to one student leader on campus.
Although Calado is very involved in Richland College, she stays active in her community as well. She was crowned Miss Teen Asian American Texas 2012-2013, where she advocated for stronger cultural identity in the local Asian community, along with the inclusion of the arts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Currently, she uses this platform while working on more recent projects, including a crowd-sourced digital companion that will assist refugees and immigrants by helping them to better integrate into their new communities. Her future goals include going to law school, becoming a human rights lawyer and finding a role in public policy. She hopes to strengthen the presence of Asian women in politics, influence legislation and break down the economic barriers that hinder the creation of practical policies in human rights affairs.
“Attending Richland College has been the best decision I’ve made for my future,” said Calado. “While the price and location are a plus, it’s actually the opportunities that I’ve had the privilege of utilizing that have made me successful. I thought that I would be an uninvolved student just trying to finish class because I couldn’t imagine being involved on campus with a baby at home. However, the environment at Richland is so unique, and there’s no discrimination when it comes to involvement and enriching yourself. If you want to be a leader, or if you want to be involved, it doesn’t matter what your identity is; there’s an opportunity for you.”
The Terry Foundation is one of the largest providers of private scholarships in Texas. It has awarded scholarships to more than 4,200 students in Texas since it was established in 1986. Howard and Nancy Terry created the foundation in order to give aid to students who showed promise of future leadership distinction who may not otherwise be able to attend college. Terry Scholars are made up of transfer students and freshmen students, who are challenged to reach their highest potential in scholarship, leadership and service to their university, the state of Texas and the world. Approximately $3 million in stipends have been given this year to Terry Scholars at UTD.
As Richland College graduates don their caps and gowns and acknowledge their academic achievements at the college’s graduation ceremony this evening, one student in particular will be celebrating an exceptional accomplishment.
Joshua Chari is the first dual credit student at Richland College to be awarded eight associate degrees while simultaneously completing requirements for high school graduation. In addition to being awarded his eighth associate degree from Richland College this semester, Chari will also be graduating from the STEM Academy at Berkner High School in Richardson, TX.
“Joshua Chari is an exceptional student who has set and achieved unprecedented educational goals as a dual credit high school student and college student,” said Richland College president Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D. “Joshua is the first dual credit student at Richland College to be awarded eight associate degrees while simultaneously completing requirements for high school graduation. We congratulate Richland College graduate Joshua Chari on this significant accomplishment.”
Chari has been awarded the following degrees from Richland College: Associate in Science, Associate in Science with an emphasis in Software Engineering, Associate in Science with an emphasis in Computer Engineering, Associate in Science with an emphasis in Electrical Engineering, Associate in Science with a field of study in Computer Science, Associate of Science with an emphasis in Telecommunications Engineering, Associate in Science with an emphasis in Biomedical Engineering and Associate in Science with an emphasis in Mechanical Engineering.
Chari plans to transfer to the University of Texas at Dallas in the fall, where he has received a four-year, full-tuition scholarship. The scholarship will cover the two remaining years it will take to receive bachelor’s degrees in biomedical and mechanical engineering, in addition to two additional years of graduate-level coursework in engineering.
Richland College offers a dual credit program that provides an opportunity for academically capable and motivated high school students to receive college credit while they are concurrently enrolled in high school. For more information, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/dual-credit.
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) recently awarded scholarships totaling $42,500 to 13 full-time, degree-seeking Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students at Richland College. Richland College is a U.S. Department of Education-designated Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI).
Richland College is one of only 15 higher education institutions in the U.S. through which the APIASF is offering the AANAPISI Scholarship Program.
“Our partnership with APIASF generously helps advance Richland College’s goals to promote access and achieve equity for a growing segment of our students who otherwise would not have this important opportunity to realize their educational goals,” said Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D., president of Richland College.
“APIASF is excited to partner with Richland College for the second year through the APIASF AANAPISI Scholarship program,” said Neil Horikoshi, president and executive director of APIASF. “With more than 40 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders enrolled in higher education attending an AANAPISI campus, this partnership provides an opportunity to support AAPI students in Texas and allows them to gain access to financial and support services – ultimately helping them to earn a quality education and degree.”
Richland College received a five-year AANAPISI grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 that will total more than $1.4 million in funding. With 14-16 percent of Richland College’s student enrollment composed of Asian American students and at least half demonstrating financial need, the AANAPISI funding impacts many of the college’s underserved students.
For information on APIASF, visit apiasf.org.
Two players from Richland College’s women’s soccer team and one from the men’s soccer team were recently selected as Division III First Team All American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
Cassandra Andrade and Lauren Vasquez, both playing the forward position, were selected from the women’s team and Fernando Arellano, a central defense player, was selected from the men’s team.
To be selected as a First Team All American means that player is one of the top 11 NJCAA Division III soccer players in the country.
In addition to being named All Americans, both Andrade and Vasquez were named First Team All-Conference. Andrade was also named Metro Athletic Conference (MAC) Offensive MVP and Vasquez was named overall MAC Conference MVP.
“Both young women were very good for us this year,” said Richland College women’s soccer coach Scott Toups. “Lauren served as the team captain and also led the team in scoring. Her leadership is invaluable on and off the field. Lauren plays very hard and works harder than just about any other player I have ever coached.
“Cassandra was already a very accomplished forward when she returned to the team for her sophomore year. She scored 12 goals and had seven assists for 31 points this season. She drew a lot of attention from opposing team defenses, which created scoring opportunities for other team members. Both of these girls were successful because they had each other, along with a very good Richland team around them.”
On the men’s team, Arellano was not only the team’s best defender, but he also was a sophomore leader who organized, communicated and supported the defense and the team.
“Fernando was a key ingredient in our success,” said Richland College’s men’s soccer coach Sean Worley. “He is an excellent player and leader. He is well-liked and respected by his teammates and he was a pleasure to coach this year.”
Richland College’s women’s team ended with a 16-6-2 record, and the men’s team ended with a 24-2-1 record. Both teams played in their respective national championship games this season.
Students need role models, whether they are enrolled in K-12 or college. Often, students don’t realize that they themselves can be role models, but that’s what happens when a select group of Dallas County Community College District students are named LeCroy Scholars every year. Those individuals, who are campus leaders among the seven colleges in the DCCCD system, also serve as role models for their peers, volunteers in their communities and organizers who work to serve others.
Some have served as mentors, team captains, officers in academic honor societies, band members, tutors, student ambassadors for their colleges, and volunteers for church and community-based organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Family Place.
They have inspired other students, as well as DCCCD faculty, staff and administrators; as a result, eight students have been named 2014-2015 LeCroy Scholarship recipients by the DCCCD Foundation for their outstanding leadership and academic achievements.
The program honors one of DCCCD’s former chancellors, Dr. R. Jan LeCroy, who served in that capacity from 1981 to 1988. Students selected as LeCroy Scholars receive full tuition and books for up to four semesters. All recipients may attend any of the seven colleges in the DCCCD system: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake or Richland.
The LeCroy Scholars fund was established with a grant donated by Mike A. Myers and the Mike Myers Foundation in 1988 to honor his longtime friend, Dr. Jan LeCroy, who passed away in 2013. The program was the first major student recognition and incentive scholarship created for DCCCD.
Myers, who currently serves as chairman and president of Myers Financial Corp., took an active role with LeCroy, when he was still living, in the selection process. Myers will continue to carry on his personal involvement with the program: he will interview finalists and help with the selection of the scholarship recipients, as well as personally mentor those students throughout the year – providing valuable insight and advice to help LeCroy Scholars succeed in school and in their communities. Myers and LeCroy previously hosted a number of events during the year that provided opportunities for scholars to network with other recipients, including a yearly gathering of former and current LeCroy Scholars. Myers plans to continue that tradition as well.
The scholarship recipients, the colleges they attend and their chosen fields of study are:
- Taryn Allen of Rowlett, Eastfield College, general studies;
- Kym Gonzalez of Dallas, Mountain View College, business and Spanish;
- Michael Heggie of Garland, Eastfield College, psychology;
- Benjamin Kellogg of Flower Mound, North Lake College, electrical engineering;
- Joseph Marble of Dallas, Richland College, criminal justice;
- Rachel Quiroga of Dallas, Eastfield College, nursing;
- Elisabeth Tuttass of Flower Mound, North Lake College, psychology; and
- Brian Weidinger of Rowlett, Eastfield College, general studies.
Five DCCCD students are returning LeCroy Scholars for 2014-2015:
- Edith Barajas of Garland, Richland College, accounting;
- Tiffani Coleman of Dallas, Richland College, social work;
- Cody Dziak of Mesquite, Eastfield College, biology/kinesiology;
- Victoria Livingston of Dallas, El Centro College, science; and
- Itzel Ruiz of Dallas, El Centro College, criminal justice.
For more information, contact Kathye Hammontree in the DCCCD Foundation office by phone at (214) 378-1536 or by email at email@example.com.
Richland College is included on the 2015 Military Friendly Schools list that honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.
“The designation of being a Military Friendly School shows Richland College’s commitment to our country’s servicemen and servicewomen and lets them know we offer a supportive environment where they can succeed,” said Kim Archer, Richland College’s veterans affairs coordinator. “We strive to provide our military students with resources that make their educational goals a bit more in reach.”
Richland College offers many resources available through its Veteran Services office, including assistance with benefits, financial aid and a variety of other support services for the college’s veteran and military students.
The Military Friendly Schools list is provided by Victory Media, Inc., one of the leading media outlets for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The list is also published in G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines. To access the list, visit www.militaryfriendlyschools.com.
For more information about Richland College’s veteran services, call 972-238-3778 or visit www.richlandcollege.edu/va/index.php.