By Casey Curtis/UAHT Communications Coordinator
HOPE, AR – Two students from the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT) have earned back-to-back Coca-Cola New Century Scholarships. Hannah Kincheloe, of Waldo, was awarded the 2017 scholarship and Amanda Condon, of Texarkana, was awarded the scholarship in 2016.
Each year approximately 2,000 students are nominated for recognition from more than 1,000 community colleges. Only one student per state is chosen for this prestigious award. In choosing the award, judges consider academic accomplishments, leadership, activities and, most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.
UAHT is only the second institution in Arkansas, and the first since 2009, to ever have back-to-back winners of this prestigious award. “I was not surprised to hear the news that UAHT won this award back-to-back because I know Hannah has the same amount of passion and drive needed to receive the award that I had,” said Condon. “Hannah and I met at a regional Phi Theta Kappa conference and instantly clicked. We were kindred spirits from the start. We both shared a passion for higher education and vision to make a difference in our communities. UAHT provides student leaders the opportunity to collaborate and establish lifelong partnerships by supporting club related trips. This trip changed both of our lives forever.”
Kincheloe said, “I think it shows the quality of education afforded to students here at UAHT. Students here work hard and come from all walks of life, but are all driven to succeed and supported by the instructors. The PTK chapter at the college has grown since I joined and I have seen plenty of qualified new members. I encourage everyone to apply for these scholarships. They are not out of reach, and Amanda and I have proven that.”
Recipients of the award are selected by achieving the state’s highest score in the All-USA Community College Academic Team competition. Recipients receive a $2,000 scholarship and are recognized at Annual Phi Theta Kappa’s Presidents Breakfast during the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Convention. Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.2 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations.
“It was humbling to receive such a selective award. Others who won the scholarship were excellent students and public servants, and I was humbled to be among so many great minds from across the country,” said Kincheloe. “Being a parent in college is hard, but scholarships like this help me afford to provide my child with excellent care while I pursue my education.”
Condon said, “It was an honor to be selected for such a competitive and prestigious award for the State of Arkansas. I never anticipated that a small town, single mom like myself could receive national recognition for my achievements. Winning the scholarship is empowering and fulfilling. The award boosted my confidence and made me realize how hard work pays off in the end.”
Amanda graduated from UAHT in spring 2016 with an Associate of Arts Degree. Now a senior at Arkansas Tech University, she is pursuing a degree in Emergency Administration Management. When asked about her plans for the future, Amanda said, “As I enter my senior year at Arkansas Tech, I plan to serve my community by working for AmeriCorps as a College Coach. I possess a sincere interest in empowering youth and a deep passion for higher education. Upon completion of my degree, I plan to seek employment in emergency management at the state level to strengthen Arkansas’ rural communities against the impacts of natural and human-made disasters.”
Hannah will graduate this spring from UAHT with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Medical Office Management. Kincheloe will transfer to the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith this summer to pursue a Bachelor of Applied Sciences Degree. According to Hannah, after earning her bachelor’s degree, she plans to, “pursue a dual master’s degree in the area of public service with a law degree through a partnership program offered by the Clinton School of Public Service and the Bowen School of Law.” Upon completing her education, Kincheloe stated her future plans include, “becoming a healthcare attorney and helping to establish a neonatal intensive care unit in the Southwest Arkansas region.”
“UAHT prides itself on providing all our current and future students with a world-class education at Arkansas’s most affordable price. When students in our region have that type of opportunity, it should be expected that they can and will compete and achieve at the highest level,” added Chris Thomason, UAHT Chancellor.