Fifty-one community college students from the United States, Canada, and American
Samoa, including one from Somerset Community College (SCC), have been named 2014 New
Century Scholars receiving a total of $100,000 in scholarships. The New Century Scholars
Program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi
Theta Kappa (PTK), and the American Association of Community Colleges.
The New Century Scholars program and All-USA Community College Academic Team, which
is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group and presented by USA TODAY and Phi
Theta Kappa, share a common application and together recognize outstanding community
college students. More than 1,700 students were nominated from more than 900 community
colleges for recognition. Judges consider grades, leadership, activities and most
importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.
Courtney Carpenter, a student in the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at
SCC, was the only student named a New Century Scholar from Kentucky. Carpenter graduated
in 2009 as valedictorian of Burgin Independent High School in Mercer County. She attended
Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Danville, Kentucky and received her Associates
of Arts Degree in August 2012. Carpenter currently residents in Lincoln County and
plans to graduate in May of 2015 as a PTA.
After finishing my first Associates degree I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the
medical field. Upon completing job shadowing and observation hours in the physical
therapy occupation, I knew this was the job for me, said Carpenter. I wanted to work
in a profession that encouraged physical rehabilitation, better health and lifestyles.
I chose to apply at Somerset Community College after hearing about the PTA programs
academic excellence. I knew if I could get in the program this is where I would choose
to go and pursue my career.
Carpenter plans to work for a home health agency upon graduation. She also plans to
continue her volunteer work with the Special Olympics and also the Phi Theta Kappa
Upon hearing she was chosen to be the New Century Scholar for Kentucky, Carpenter
said she was incredibly pleased.
This was my first college scholarship I had received since high school and was in
need financially, said Carpenter. As the current Phi Theta Kappa President I was excited
to know the award was sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa. I look forward to representing
our college and state at the Phi Theta Kappa International Convention this month.
I want to thank my family, instructors, advisors, and Somerset Community College for
giving me this opportunity and helping me all along the way.
Margo Hamm, associate dean of the SCC Learning Commons and Phi Theta Kappa KY regional
coordinator, said, I feel very privileged to work with students like Courtney Carpenter.
Courtney takes her leadership role in Phi Theta Kappa very seriously. She actively
participates in all opportunities to increase her knowledgebase and leadership skills
and goes the extra step in sharing what she has learned with her fellow chapter officers,
encouraging them to grow as a team.
Carpenter served as the PTK chapter secretary for 2012 and chapter president for 2013.
Courtney is one the most engaged officers that I have ever had the privilege to work
with and has been key in encouraging and facilitating visibility and communications
for our entire chapter, said Hamm. Courtney is a strong leader, knowledgeable and
very professional. I am extremely proud of her for being named the New Century Scholar
New Century Scholars are the highest scoring students in each state, plus one student
from Canada and one additional student chosen from among one of the remaining seven
sovereign nations where Phi Theta Kappa is represented internationally. Each scholar
will receive a $2,000 scholarship and be presented at the American Association of
College Presidents (AACC) Convention in Washington, D.C.
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, is the largest honor society
in American higher education with more than 1,285 chapters on two-year and community
college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, Peru, the Republic
of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia,
the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions.
Nearly three million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with
approximately 135,000 students inducted annually.