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Soto receives Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship
May 1, 2012
A-B Tech student Ana Soto is one of 60 students nationwide awarded a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship for up to $30,000 per year.
Soto is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year college students, was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges and was honored with an Academic Excellence Award from the North Carolina Community College System.
Soto, who has the dwarfism condition known as spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenital, said she was uncertain of her future before she came to A-B Tech. “As a dwarf, I have learned to accept life’s obstacles with humor. Moving to the United States was scary but became a life-changing opportunity because of accessibility for the disabled,” she said. Soto lived in Panama City, Panama, for 16 years before moving to North Carolina.
“Because of my condition, many experiences have influenced my achievements and my decision to become a horticulturalist, but the most influential in my intellectual development include moving to the United States, learning from my biology instructor, volunteering at Brother Wolf and becoming a servant-leader with Phi Theta Kappa. A friend talked me into joining, and another officer talked me into becoming an officer. In that role, I have had to overcome my fear of public speaking and connecting with others. I used to be a loner because I feared making a fool of myself. I have grown into someone who does not fear interaction with others, and I successfully express myself in public,” Soto said.
Biology Instructor Joe Allawos describes Soto as a “highly-motivated and attentive student,” adding “I’m not surprised she won the award.”
As an Associate in Science student who will graduate from A-B Tech in May, Soto has applied to NC State for Fall 2012 with plans to major in horticulture.
The Jack Kent Cooke award is given to the nation’s top community college students to complete their bachelor’s degrees. Each award is intended to cover a significant share of the student’s educational expenses, including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees.
A review panel of distinguished university faculty and admissions professionals judges the nominees using criteria including academic achievement and critical thinking ability, financial need, will to succeed, and breadth of interest and activities.