Award Winners

The Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute has many outstanding students. Below is a peek at the awards and recognition they have received for their academic accomplishments and community involvement.

The Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute has many outstanding students. Below is a peek at the awards and recognition they have received for their academic accomplishments and community involvement.

Gustavo Dias Galeas, 2017 Jack Kent Cooke Scholar



Flavio Umeda Pacheco, 2016 Jack Kent Cooker Scholar



Flavio Umeda PachecoFlavio Umeda Pacheco, 2016 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Flavio Umeda Pacheco of Longwood, was born in Florida but lived in Brazil for 15 years. When safety concerns brought him back to Florida in 2014, he enrolled in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses at Seminole State. After progressing quickly, he began working toward an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree with a focus in biology, which he will receive this summer. He served as diversity chair for the Student Government Association in 2015. He has volunteered his time at Florida Hospital, Give Kids the World, Harvest Time International and the Foundation for Seminole State College. After graduation, he plans to transfer to Cornell University, where he will work toward a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with hopes of applying to medical school and becoming a pediatric surgeon to assist children in need.
Tatiana CalvoTatiana Calvo, 2016 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Tatiana Calvo of Windermere and originally from Colombia, moved to Florida in 2001. She spent several years after graduating high school in 2008 trying to overcome immigration issues and work toward her college degree. When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program began in 2012, she enrolled at Seminole State, with assistance from the Hope CommUnity Center. She has been recognized on the President’s List for multiple semesters. Additionally, she volunteered doing outreach at immigration detention centers and she worked as a legal assistant at an immigration law firm. This summer, she will earn her A.A. with a focus in political science. She hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science at either the University of Miami or New York University before pursuing her law degree. Her goal is to provide legal assistance to underprivileged individuals experiencing immigration hardships.
Latifah MaasaraniLatifah Maasarani, 2016 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Latifah Maasarani, 23, of Winter Springs, took a two-year hiatus between high school and college. When she began at Seminole State, she was unable to receive federal aid or financial assistance from her family, so she worked full-time to support herself and pay for her education. While at Seminole State, she promoted science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) involvement by serving as president of the STEM Club during the 2015-16 academic year, during which time she helped expose dozens of students to computer programming (especially in the C++ language) and helped connect students with the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, intended to encourage minority participation in STEM fields. She earned her A.A. degree with a focus in photonic science and engineering, graduating summa cum laude with an Honors Diploma and a Science Merit Diploma. She will participate in an applied physics undergraduate research experience at the University of South Florida this summer, where she will work with quantum and nonlinear optics, before beginning work on a bachelor’s degree in photonic science and engineering at the University of Central Florida with a double-minor in mathematics and physics. After graduate work in physics, she hopes to pursue an engineering career working with medical laser technology.
Shannon ConnerShannon Conner, 2015 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Shannon Conner is a single mother of three. Shannon, who was enrolled in Seminole State after overcoming challenging health issues, graduated from Seminole State in 2015 and plans to study communications and writing at Rollins College en route to a law degree. In addition to philanthropic pursuits, she hopes to be an entrepreneur, public speaker and author. At Seminole State, Conner was the founder of the Non-Traditional Student Club. She recently was one of the winners of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Distinguished Member award. She was one of Seminole State's record-setting four recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship in 2015.
Melissa CunninghamMelissa Cunningham, 2015 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Melissa Cunningham is the mother of a 4-year-old son. She dropped out of high school at age 16 and earned her GED at 18. After a tumultuous start to 2012, she decided to take control of her life and enrolled at Seminole State. Melissa graduated from Seminole State in 2015 with plans to attend Smith College this fall as part of their Ada Comstock Scholars Program, which celebrates nontraditional students who choose to continue their education. She plans to become a physician and help mentor underprivileged children. She was one of Seminole State's record-setting four recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship in 2015.
Juliana RodriguezJuliana Rodriguez, 2015 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Juliana Rodriguez, originally from Colombia, first gained an interest in the medical profession while helping her mother recover from an automobile accident involving a driver who lost control while texting. A Seminole High School Health Academy graduate, Rodriguez graduated from Seminole State in 2015 with plans to study biomedical sciences and chemistry at the University of Central Florida. She plans on become a cardiovascular surgeon. At Seminole State, Juliana was an officer in the STEM Club and Phi Theta Kappa, and she co-founded the Dance Diabetes Away project. She was one of Seminole State's record-setting four recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship in 2015.
Sebastian RoubertSebastian Roubert, 2015 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Originally from Puerto Rico, Sebastian and his mother overcame homelessness when he was a teenager. Sebastian, who graduated from Lyman High School, plans to earn his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and material sciences. Following a passion for rowing, he hopes one day to engineer Olympic-class rowing shells. He is weighing offers from several top universities. He was one of Seminole State's record-setting four recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship in 2015.
Gabriella NicholasGabriella Nicholas, 2014 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Before she became Seminole State's eighth Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship winner, Gabriella Nicholas wondered how her family would afford her college tuition. But as soon as she arrived at Seminole State, she began putting in her work, joining the Grindle Honors Institute and developing her passion for journalism through coursework and personal projects. After she graduated from Seminole State, she transferred to the University of Florida, where she began pursuing a journalism major en route to a career in communications. 
Charles BilyueCharles Bilyue, 2012 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Charles was the only student from Central Florida to be named a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar in 2012 – Seminole State’s seventh consecutive honoree – and one of only 60 honorees nationwide. He graduated from Seminole State in April and plans to pursue a degree from either the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School or Stanford University, eventually working his way toward a doctorate in macroeconomics. “I want to do research and teach and be influential on macroeconomic policy,” he says. For more on Charles, check out Seminole State's YouTube page.
Mary AndersonMary Anderson, 2012 winner of the PTK Distinguished Chapter Member Award

In addition to being recognized with several honors students as part of the Phi Theta Kappa All-Florida Academic Team, Mary was honored by the club in 2012 with a Distinguished Chapter Member Award. Mary, the executive vice president of Pi Lambda, was one of only 30 PTK members nationwide – and one of only three in Florida – to earn that honor. Mary plans a career in social statistics with a focus on LGBT issues.
Lauren VinsonLauren Vinson, Scholar Athlete of the Year

Honors student and softball pitcher Lauren Vinson’s career at Seminole State has been jam-packed with accolades. The two-time All-Florida College System Activities Association (FCSAA) and All-Mid-Florida Conference (MFC) pitcher went 45-13 as a starter in her two seasons with the Raiders, including 25-8 her sophomore season – making  her No. 2 in the state. Along the way, she also racked up two statewide Pitcher of the Week awards. And Lauren excelled off the field as well, representing the honors program at a global seminar in Salzburg, Austria, and being named to the FCSAA and MFC All-Academic teams and recognized as Seminole State’s Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Christopher PoseyChristopher Posey, 2011 Coca-Cola Leader of Promise Scholar

Pi Lambda’s vice president of scholarship and future novelist Christopher Posey was selected in 2011 as a Coca-Cola Leader of Promise Scholar by Phi Theta Kappa based on his stellar academic record and essay answers. Christopher, who maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his academic career at Seminole State, received a $1,000 award to be used for tuition, books and other educational expenses. He also won the College’s Stephen Caldwell Wright Poetry Competition.
Brandon Carpenter and Matthew HopperMatthew Hopper and Brandon Carpenter, 2011 participants in NASA's National Community College Aerospace Scholars Program

In 2011, Brandon (left) and Matthew (right) were selected by the National Community College Aerospace Scholars program to participate in a three-day event at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., where they helped to develop a fictitious company pursuing exploration of Mars. With a group of peers, they developed the hypothetical company’s infrastructure and designed a prototype Mars rover. The two were selected to be among the 48 participants based on completion of Web-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) assignments. Matthew was also selected by NASA as a National College Aerospace Scholar.
Edwin PerezEdwin Perez, 2011 winner of the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship

In September 2011, Edwin received a $5,000 scholarship from the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando. The first-generation college student was the executive vice president of Pi Lambda, and he worked as a math tutor in the College’s Academic Success Center. One of only 18 winners in Central Florida, he was recognized at the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund’s “Gowns and Guayaberas” gala. He plans to study computer engineering at the University of Central Florida.
Isa AdneyIsa Adney, 2007 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Stetson graduate and 2007 Jack Kent Cooke Scholar Isa Adney published a book in March 2012, called “Community College Success: How to Finish with Friends, Scholarships, Internships, and the Career of Your Dreams," which offers tips for succeeding in community college. For her mentorship efforts, the White House named Isa a “Community College Superstar.”
Tatiana VieccoTatiana Viecco, 2010 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Grindle Honors graduate and 2010 Jack Kent Cooke Scholar Tatiana Viecco has been selected for the 2012 Order of the Pegasus Award by the University of Central Florida. The award recognizes exemplary performance by UCF undergraduates in the areas of academic achievement, outstanding university involvement, leadership and community service. It is the most prestigious award a UCF student can receive. The Colombia native, who knew no English when she moved to the United States as a teenager, serves in the McNair Scholar program, helping minorities and underrepresented students gain acceptance in college. She will graduate from UCF in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a minor in engineering leadership.
Daniel LeonDaniel Leon, 2011 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Daniel Leon has received several awards for his academic achievements. In 2011, the Venezuela native became Seminole State's sixth consecutive Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship recipient and was one of 20 students nationwide to earn a Guistwhite scholarship. In 2010, he was selected to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting, a three-day conference aimed at engaging and inspiring the next generation of student leaders. Leon graduated from Seminole State in April 2011 and is attending American University in Washington, D.C.
Sebastian SanchezSebastian Sanchez, 2011 participant in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's Summer Congressional Internship Program

Sebastian Sanchez was one of only 35 students nationwide to be selected for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's Summer 2011 Congressional Internship Program. The Colombia native spent eight weeks in Washington, D.C., where he worked in a congressional office, learned about the legislative process, engaged in policy discussions, and completed professional development and community service initiatives. Sanchez graduated from Seminole State in August 2011 and is studying international relations at Rollins College.
Ryan Genslinger and Juan RobayoJuan Robayo and Ryan Genslinger, 2011 PTK All-Florida Academic Team members

Juan Robayo (right) and Ryan Genslinger (left) were among 109 students statewide to be named to the 2011 Phi Theta Kappa All-Florida Academic Team. They were selected for the team based on their academic success, leadership skills and community involvement. Robayo also received a Hispanic Heritage Scholarship in 2010 and was one of 50 students in the country to be named a 2011 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholar. His scholarships and awards are helping him pursue degrees in biotechnology and molecular biology at the University of Central Florida.
Tatiana Viecco and Lani MiltonTatiana Viecco and Lani Milton, 2010 All-Florida Academic Team members

Tatiana Viecco (left) and Lani Milton (right) were named to Phi Theta Kappa's 2010 All-Florida Academic Second Team based on their academic accomplishments, leadership skills and contributions to the community. The pair was recognized during the PTK Annual Convention, held April 8-10, 2010, at Walt Disney World's Swan and Dolphin Resort.
Trishelle Copeland JohnsonTrishelle Copeland-Johnson, 2009 New Century Scholar winner

Trishelle Copeland-Johnson achieved two College firsts in 2009: She became Seminole State's first New Century Scholar, as well as the first student to be selected to USA Today's All-USA First Team. In 2008, Copeland-Johnson won second place in the Science and Energy Research Challenge, a national poster competition for undergraduate students who have conducted Department of Energy-related science research. Today, she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at the University of South Florida.
Sally RodriguezSally Rodriguez, 2009 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

In April 2009, Sally Rodriguez became the College's fourth consecutive winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The first-generation American and first-generation college student used the $30,000 per year to complete her bachelor's degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
All-Florida Academic TeamKatrina Shadix, Sally Rodriguez, Trishelle Copeland-Johnson and Matthew Palmeira, 2009 All-Florida Academic Team members

Four Honors Institute students were named to the All-Florida Academic Team in 2009. Trishelle Copeland-Johnson received First Team honors, while Katrina Shadix, Sally Rodriguez and Matthew Palmeira (not pictured) were named to the Second Team. To be selected to the All-Florida Academic Team, nominees must show academic excellence and rigor, leadership and service.
Sarah HollandSarah Holland, 2008 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Sarah Holland, a 2008 Seminole State graduate, was the College's third consecutive Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship recipient. The Lake Mary resident competed against 700 applicants to become one of only five Florida students to win the prestigious award in 2008. With the scholarship, she was able to complete her bachelor's degree at Stetson University.
Sarah Holland and Jennifer WolffSarah Holland and Jennifer Wolff, 2008 All-Florida Academic Team members

Sarah Holland and Jennifer Wolff were named to the All-Florida Academic Team in 2008. Nominees must show academic excellence and rigor, leadership and service. Holland was one of 20 students in Florida named to the First Team and Wolff was named to the Second Team.
Lalita BoothLalita Booth, 2006 winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Lalita Booth has received many awards for her academic achievements. In 2006, she became Seminole State's first Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship recipient and, in 2007, was selected as the Florida Association of Community College's Leroy Collins Distinguished Alumni in the "Against the Odds" category. In 2008, Booth was one of 65 students nationwide to win a prestigious Truman Scholarship, which recognizes students planning to pursue careers in government or public service. She graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2009 and graduated with double master's degrees from Harvard University in May 2012.
Justin BagleyJustin Bagley

At the 2007 Phi Theta Kappa International Convention in Nashville, Tenn., Justin Bagley received the Distinguished Chapter Officer Award for his role as PTK Service Officer. Today, Bagley works for Johnson & Johnson as a member of the IT leadership development program.
Phi Theta Kappa
Seminole State's Pi Lambda Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society was awarded five-star status, the highest rating possible, in 2011. Pi Lambda also received a Distinguished Chapter award for being one of the top 10 chapters in Florida.

Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship Winners

Gustavo Diaz Galeas and Cathryn "Cate" Kandle were awarded Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships.
Seminole State students shine again! For the third consecutive year, multiple honors students at Seminole State College of Florida were named winners of one of the nation?s most prestigious and lucrative scholarships.
Tatiana Calvo, Flavio Pacheco and  Latifah Maasarani all earned the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.
Flavio Pacheco, Tatiana Calvo and Latifah Maasarani were awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship worth up to $40,000 a year to complete a bachelor?s degree at a four-year college or university and up to $50,000 a year for graduate studies.
Melissa Cunningham, Juliana Rodriguez, Sebastian Roubert and Shannon Conner
Four Seminole State College honors students were surprised with Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships at the District Board of Trustees meeting.
Charles Bilyue
Honors student Charles Bilyue, who postponed college for 10 years because of family and personal issues, is one of only 60 students in the country to be named a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar. Bilyue helps Seminole State continue its streak of seven consecutive JKC scholars.

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