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May '15 grad one of 90 in the U.S. to receive Kent Cooke Scholarship

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 29, 2015) - Daytona State College soon-to-be graduate Melissa Diaz got a big surprise when she came for a meeting in the president's office on April 28.

DSC Board Chair Lloyd Freckleton (left) and President Tom LoBasso congratulate student Melissa Diaz. The stellar associate-degree student found out she will receive a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, as one of 90 scholars nationwide chosen this year. The scholarship is for up to $40,000 per year and is intended to cover a significant share of Melissa's educational expenses when she transfers to the University of Florida, Gainesville, in the fall – including tuition, living expenses, books and fees – for two to three years to earn her bachelor's degree.

"Melissa represents the fulfillment of the Daytona State College mission," said Interim President Thomas LoBasso. "Here, she found an open door to explore her possibilities, to grow and to test her leadership abilities in ways that have prepared her to successfully advance through her next academic challenge and through life. To say we are all proud of her is an understatement."

The Cooke Foundation scholarship award is the culmination of Melissa's exceptional dedication to her studies and the college community during her time at DSC. She became president of Phi Theta Kappa's Mu Rho Chapter, leading it to becoming a five-star chapter, and headed the "Honors in Action Project" that focuses on community health awareness; conducted bowling and movie nights for the Conklin Center for the Blind; participated in the Heart Walk for the American Heart Association; and helped sponsor blood drives on campus.

Melissa also was named among the Florida College System's 2015 All-Florida Academic Team, which recognizes outstanding students for their academic achievement, leadership and Melissa Diaz was surprised by the scholarship announcement, joined by her stepfather Mark Tomlinson (shown here), mother Brigitte Tomlinson, sister Vanessa Diaz, digitally by her brother Alfredo Diaz, and many student friends and staff.service to their communities.

She has set her goals on a career embracing political science and law. She is one of only a few associate of arts degree students ever to present a scholarly paper to the Florida Political Science Association, and plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in political science at UF, ultimately earning a law degree.

"Melissa is a dedicated individual," says Steven Pruitt, DSC student activities coordinator and PTK advisor. "She has been a major part of bringing the Mu Rho chapter of PTK back to life at Daytona State. It has been an honor to be a mentor to Melissa, and help foster her leadership skills and abilities.

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Caption 1: DSC Board Chair Lloyd Freckleton (left) and President Tom LoBasso congratulate student Melissa Diaz.
Caption 2: Melissa Diaz was surprised by the scholarship announcement, joined by her stepfather Mark Tomlinson (shown here), mother Brigitte Tomlinson, sister Vanessa Diaz, digitally by her brother Alfredo Diaz, and many student friends and staff.

 


 

MORE: Offering more than 100 certificate, associate and bachelor’s degree programs, Daytona State College is the leader in education and workforce training needs of Volusia and Flagler counties and beyond for more than 60 years. The College enrolls nearly 25,000 students a year at its seven instructional sites, with graduates serving in critical fields including healthcare, emergency services/public safety, business, education, hospitality, engineering, technology, digital media, and more. 

Daytona State has been recognized as a leader in higher education numerous times, consistently by U.S. News & World Report, which ranks the College among the Top Tier Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center has ranked DSC among the top 50 most affordable public four-year institutions in the country, with less than half the tuition of the national average. Community College Week, a leading publication in higher education, annually continues to feature the college in its list of Top 100 Associate Degree Producers. And U.S. News & World Report has ranked DSC among its Top Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans multiple times.

For enrollment information, visit Admissions’ Frequently Asked Questions page.

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