MCCC Students Win Coca-Cola Scholarships

7-17-06


Two Mercer County Community College students have won $1,000 scholarships from Coca Cola.

Pictured, from left, are Helene Plank, assistant director of Financial Aid at Mercer, with students Kim Mary Coleman and MaryJane Harris. Both students are members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and were nominated for the award by Plank.


Kim Mary Coleman is thriving as a Television major who anchors the Tuesday night "MCN Live" news program, which airs on Cable Channel 26. Active in the Television Club, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and the Educational Opportunity Fund Club, Coleman has achieved Dean's List or President's List status each semester at Mercer, after having been out of school for many years.

"College is hard but I'm having a wonderful time," she said. "I feel blessed to have this opportunity. It's a joy. I really feel I am learning from the best." Through her many activities on campus, Coleman feels she has found a new home at the college. "Mercer has become a family to me. It is a very loving, nurturing atmosphere. Everyone roots and cheers for you." She plans to continue her education for a bachelor's degree after Mercer, and hopes to work in broadcast journalism."

MaryJane Harris came to Mercer by a very different route. A Biology major, she is a part-time student who serves in the US Air Force Reserves and is a pilot with ExpressJet Airlines of Newark. She earned her BA in History and Political Science at the Royal Military College of Canada. Seeking to prepare for a career change, she has returned to college to pursue her interest in science. She plans to continue in graduate school and holds open the possibility of a career in either scientific research or medicine. She chose Mercer because it's close to her Princeton home. "I have been very impressed by Mercer. I'm thrilled with the professors here. Certainly when I compare my experiences with what other people have taken at far more expensive places, I find I am as well prepared as anyone. That is really wonderful."

While working full-time, Harris also gives several hours a week tutoring biology and chemistry at Mercer's Tutoring Center. Her flexible work schedule makes it possible. "I have seniority at my company so I'm able to set my own schedule and work around my classes. The students I have seen certainly appreciate it, especially in chemistry." Harris has taken part in Mercer's innovative Honors Research Program, which enables students to do scientific research under the guidance of professors at nearby universities. She studied at Rider. "It was great. It gives you the opportunity to apply the things you learn in the classroom," she said.

According to J. Mark Davis, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, "The Coca-Cola Two-Year Colleges Scholarship Program gives support and encouragement to an under-served population of college students." Coke awards 350 such scholarships nationwide each year to students who are continuing at two-year colleges. The program is made possible with funding from the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation.

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