By Dan Chavez, Staff Reporter | Photo by Dan Chavez
Ten students and recent graduates from CNM were honored with substantial scholarships toward a bachelor’s degree in a ceremony recognizing their leadership, involvement with the CNM community, commitment to community service, and high academic performance, Director of Service Learning Sharon Gordon-Moffett said.
Students received their awards at The New Mexico State Capitol Building in Santa Fe at 491 Old Santa Fe Trail on January 29, and afterwards all recipients got to have a free lunch with CNM Vice President Philip Bustos.
The All USA, All-State Academic Scholarship awards students from community colleges and university branch campuses across the state, who have demonstrated leadership, service to the community and academic excellence, Gordon-Moffett said.
Students have to be nominated by the college president and they should prepare a track record of service to the community. This year there were some students who had worked on it for two or three years, she said.
Gordon-Moffett said students must complete a substantial application including official transcripts and letters of recommendation in regards to leadership and academic success and they must be graduating CNM with a minimum 3.5 GPA to receive this scholarship.
Student Activities Supervisor, Brandon Seber said that community service is really important to get the proper letters of recommendation for this scholarship.
“ Denonstrating leader abilities and creating a good rapport with faculty, so that students can obtain essential academic recommendation letters,” Seber said.
Gordon-Moffett said that although membership in the CNM Phi Theta Kappa honor society is beneficial, students do not need to be involved in any campus organization to apply and be considered for this scholarship.
“The focus is really on service within their community, leadership, and involvement on the college campus,” she said.
The scholoarship pays complete tuition for an additional two years at a university within New Mexico, which will vary depending on the school, but it averages at about $15,000, Gordon- Moffett said.
This award goes directly to the university and the funding will be adjusted to the particular school’s tuition costs, so students will not directly receive any funds from this scholarship, she said.
Go r d o n -Mo f f e t t said that with the academic credits earned at the community college level, a student could use the All USA, All-State Scholarship all the way to a bachelor’s degree without having to pay tuition.
“This is a substantial scholarship for students to graduate from a two year college with the goal of completing a four year bachelor’s degree at a New Mexico university,” she said.
Gordon-Moffett said that each award for this scholarship is a
one-of-a-kind original that must be held in a safe place because no other copies can be accepted, so this single piece of paper is worth about $15,000. for this scholarship is a
While Gordon- Moffett has helped organize the All-State Academic Scholarship on main campus, she said she has seen almost $1 million in scholarships awarded to CNM students.
Student body Vice President of the Executive Council of Students (ECOS), Carrie Ratkevch was awarded in this year’s ceremony, and is a CNM graduate with an associates degree of Applied Science in Criminal Justice.
Ratkevch said that it was exceptional to have this recognition because it means that others are supporting her in her academic aspirations.
“It means that people are behind me and saying ‘you can do it, you can finish, you can graduate, and you can do more than you ever thought possible.’ If it weren’t for CNM really showing me what I was capable of, I don’t think I would’ve gone beyond an associates,” she said.
Another award recipient and Business major, Jennifer Weber said she emphasized her degree in finance and accounting and that she will use her scholarship to continue business and finance studies at UNM.
“It feels wonderful; this was all a big surprise to read the letter and find out I’m getting a scholarship for four semesters to a university. I’m just over the top excited. It’s so pleasant to have that kind of recognition,” Weber said.
Robert Maler, a CNM graduate pursuing a mechanical engineering major at UNM, said that this scholarship is a fantastic opportunity and he would not have been able to continue toward a bachelor’s degree without this prestigious scholarship award.
He said he credits his parents with setting high standards for him to achieve.
“My father is my inspiration for continuing to go to school. He fell ill several years ago and now he’s doing much better. He’s here in New Mexico, in Las Cruces,” he said.
Iran Rodriguez, a CNM student majoring in nursing, will likely use this scholarship to study at UNM and complete his bachelor’s of science in nursing, he said.
“I feel very honored and very happy to receive this scholarship. It is truly a blessing and I’m very thankful for CNM and everyone who’s helped make this happen.” he said.
Gordon-Moffett said there are several levels for this award. The students who are awarded at the state level will be considered for recognition at the national level.
Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society has a scoring process that is used to select a national group for the All USA award, she said.
Gordon-Moffett said PTK International also awards a few of these students as Century Scholars and CNM had a student chosen for this honor in the past.
“So it may not be done yet for some of these students,” she said.
The All-USA scholarship is sponsored in part by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the American Association of Community Colleges at the national level.
At the state level, the New Mexico All-State Academic Scholarship is sponsored and endorsed by the New Mexico Independent Community Colleges and the New Mexico Association of Community Colleges, Gordon-Moffett said.