Two Bellevue College students won awards, scholarships and fame through the Coca-Cola Scholarship, a yearly scholarship awarded to students from community colleges all over the country. This prestigious award was given to Anh Nguyen and Casey Pinckney. Both students are current members of Phi Theta Kappa and actively involved both on and off the campus.
“I heard about the scholarship through my membership in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society,” said Nguyen, an international student from Vietnam. “I had to complete a common application and write a personal statement. I feel absolutely amazed and honored to be recognized as one of the finest scholars in Washington. The scholarship serves as a strong motivator for my commitment to academic excellence and for me, as a student leader, to continue reaching my full potential.”
Pinckney was homeschooled until she began attending Bellevue College. She plays the harp and is a second-year student. She also tutors in math here at the Academic Success Center. Pinckney plans on graduating from BC in June with her Associate in Science and wants to continue on to either UW or Seattle University.
The Coca-Cola Scholarship is given annually to more than 1700 students in the United States. While the Coca-Cola Scholarship requires applicants to have at least a 3.5 GPA, students are not required to be members of Phi Theta Kappa. Applicants fill out lengthy pages of information about themselves, including essays about extracurricular activities, work, interests and hobbies outside of school, and future plans and goals. They also list outside awards they have received. Perhaps the most important part of the application is the Endeavors essay, in which the students explain their plans for the future.
“It’s a lengthy scholarship process, but it’s worth it for the students,” said Katherine Oleson, Phi Theta Kappa advisor. “The students learn a lot about applying for scholarships, writing essays. It’s a good opportunity for them.”
Not only is the application itself long and thorough, but the process to find the winners also takes time and consideration. The Coca-Cola Scholarship is not limited to simply one or two scholarships, but to hundreds. Each community college picks two of its students to represent it in the nation. At BC, a panel consisting of a few faculty members is established to rank the applicants. Phi Theta Kappa helps organize the scholarship and application process. The campus nominates two students, then their applications go to Washington State, then to the nation.
The top ranking scholarship winners belong to the All USA Academic Team, which consists of around 20 chosen applicants. Under that team, there is another set of winners, the Coca-Cola Scholars. Of the Coca-Cola Scholars, students are ranked as gold, silver, or bronze. Of our two winners, Pinckney received a bronze award. After the Coca-Cola Scholars, there are the New Century Scholars, in which one student from each state is chosen. Finally, some states, including ours, have state teams. This year, both Nguyen and Pinckney were named to the All Washington Academic Team. Of these, Pinckney was in the top four, so she also received an extra scholarship.
“Both Anh and Casey have been active in Phi Theta Kappa. Both are bright, unique young women, and both are very active in their communities,” said Oleson. “They’re just wonderful.”
Each of these categories of scholarships is awarded to students from around the nation. Bellevue College is proud to congratulate Anh Nguyen and Casey Pinckney on their hard work and well-earned scholarships.