BOAZ, Ala. – Two Snead State Community College students were recently announced as semifinalists for the highly competitive Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.
Erika Aragon Cruz, a sophomore from Horton, Ala., and Edwin Romeo Jarquin-Perez, a sophomore from Guntersville, Ala., were two of 459 semifinalists chosen from a pool of more than 1,700 applicants across 215 community colleges in 38 states.
The pair of Parsons was the only applicants selected as semifinalists from the state of Alabama.
Cruz is a Business major. She currently boasts a 3.88 GPA. After graduating from Snead State, she intends to transfer to Jacksonville State University to continue her pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree. Once she earns her degree, Cruz intends to pursue a career in Marketing. Her dream job would be to work for a major company, such as Google.
“Earning this scholarship would be huge,” she said. “It would help me so much.”
Cruz, who is the first in her family to attend college, is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient and does not qualify for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program. She pays for her college tuition mostly out of pocket.
Scholarship recipients are awarded up to $55,000 per year, along with academic advising and access to a network of peers.
“I just want to say thank you to Brittany Goble, Director of Student Support Services and Engagement, for pushing us to apply for this scholarship and really guiding us throughout the process,” Cruz said.
Like Cruz, Jarquin-Perez is also a first-generation college student who would benefit greatly from the scholarship.
Jarquin-Perez currently has a 3.9 GPA and is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He plans to transfer to the University of Alabama-Huntsville after graduating from Snead State this spring.
When he earns his degree, Jarquin-Perez said he will take on a position to help people – like the person who helped he and his family several years ago.
“When I was younger, I was raised in Mexico by my grandparents,” he said. “We lived in an area where there was no electricity. But I remember a man with an engineering degree who came to our village and helped build a power grid that allowed us to have electricity.
“With a mechanical engineering degree, I want to be able to help people in need – those who are less fortunate,” Jarquin-Perez added. “Whether it be helping build a power grid for a community or establishing a water system for a village in need, I want to give back just like that man helped me and my family back then.”
Jarquin-Perez said he was grateful for his time at Snead State and the support he’s received from faculty, staff and fellow students over the last two years.
“I’m thankful for Snead State, which has helped me build a solid foundation and guide me on the journey to getting into a four-year college,” he said.
Recipients of the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship are expected to be announced later this month.
The Scholarship is presented by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Students selected by the Foundation are community college students who have demonstrated exceptional academic ability, leadership, service, and a determination to complete their bachelor’s degrees at top four-year institutions.
In addition to the generous financial support, selected Cooke Transfer Scholars will receive educational advising from the Foundation’s Deans of Scholar Support to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year school and preparing for their future endeavors. They will also have access to opportunities for internships, study abroad, graduate school funding, and the incomparable connection to a robust network of more than 3,000 fellow Cooke Scholars and Alumni.
For more than 23 years, the Cooke Foundation has dedicated its mission to advancing education for exceptionally promising students who seek financial assistance. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded almost $250 million in scholarships to nearly 3,200 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $125 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. Learn more at www.jkcf.org.