Three Edmonds CC students named semifinalists for prestigious national scholarship

Three Edmonds Community College students have been named as semifinalists for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke (JKC) scholarship, the nation’s largest transfer scholarship program.

Edmonds CC students Naol Debele, Jessica Howard and Tina Rajabi were selected from a pool of nearly 2,500 applicants. They are among 534 high-achieving U.S. community college students who will compete for the JKC Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The winners will be announced in April.

“Community colleges hold many of the nation’s most gifted students,” said Harold O. Levy, executive director of the Cooke Foundation. “Yet too often these students are denied the opportunity to fulfill their potential due to lack of adequate resources and support.”

Debele is Edmonds CC’s fifth student trustee to the college’s Board of Trustees. He is pursuing an Associate in Arts transfer degree with an interest in physics. He would like to transfer to the University of Washington to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physics. Outside of Edmonds CC, Debele is studying for his Private Pilot License at Snohomish Flying Services and is a member of Black Pilots of America.

Howard is the president of Edmonds CC’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and a writing tutor in the college’s Learning Support Center. She is pursuing an Associate in Arts transfer degree with a focus on cognitive linguistics and political science. Howard plans to transfer to the University of Washington to earn a bachelor’s degree and has her eye on Ivy League universities for a master’s.

Rajabi is a member of the Edmonds CC Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program and the Relationships in Science Education (RiSE) program. She is pursuing an Associate in Science transfer degree with a focus in mathematics. In 2017, Rajabi was chosen as a Seattle University Mathematics Early Research (SUMmER) program participant. She is an aspiring math teacher.

The highly competitive scholarship will offer selected finalists as much as $40,000 per year for up to three years to complete their bachelor’s degrees at selective four-year colleges and universities.

“Our scholarships help to remove barriers so that talented students with financial need have a chance to complete their college education and pursue their goals and dreams,” Levy said.

Cooke Scholarships fund the costs of attending college not covered by other financial aid, plus intensive academic advising, stipends for internships, study abroad opportunities, and the ability to network with other Cooke Scholars and alumni.

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