JCJC selects New Century Scholars/All-State American Team representatives

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2015-12-11 20:54:00

ELLISVILLE – Six Jones County Junior College sophomores were recently nominated for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s New Century Scholars/All-State American Team honors.  These students were nominated by faculty members and then selected by the JCJC Scholarship Committee. Some of the requirements to earn a spot in this prestigious group include maintaining a 3.5 to 4.0 GPA, taking challenging academic courses, completing a minimum of 36 hours, volunteering their service in their communities and college, and doing well in an interview with the Scholarship Committee. 

The nominees were Ethan Davis, an English major from Laurel; Natalie Beth Seales, an English major from Hattiesburg; Kiana McFadden, a physics and environmental law major from Waynesboro; Aubrey Parker, majoring in nursing from Laurel; Adam Wigley, majoring in nursing from New Augusta and Brianna Woodward, a biochemistry major from Ovett.  McFadden and Seales were chosen from the six to go on to compete for state titles and national honors.

“All of these students are excellent candidates, making it very difficult for the Scholarship Committee to choose a small group from the nearly 5,000 JCJC students, and then narrow it down to just two students.  All of you have very positive attributes,” said Julie Atwood, one of the JCJC PTK sponsors.

The six students were treated to a special luncheon held in their honor with PTK sponsors and administrators.  JCJC president, Dr. Jesse Smith offered some advice for all of the nominees as they focus on their future academic endeavors. 

“Some students have great ability, minds and opportunity but some students don’t have the drive to succeed.  Think about what you want and what you want to give back.  Be deliberate about living a life of blessings and make a difference.”

For Waynesboro native, Kiana McFadden giving back is what has driven her to excel. She manages her tough academic schedule which includes being a part of the Charles Pickering Honors Institute, PTK VP of Leadership, a member of the marching band and saxophone quartet, along with volunteering as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, chemistry tutor, and helping at numerous events like the campus Voter Registration Drive and the Student Council Workshop at JCJC.  Her goal is to become an environmental lawyer for government agencies like NOAA or NASA.  Being selected as a PTK All-State representative was very special for McFadden.

“I’m very honored to be chosen and to witness how God continues to bless me,” said McFadden.  “It’s almost like I’m dreaming or something.  I’m really shocked because I didn’t expect to get it with the level of students competing. To have this opportunity is really unbelievable and I hope to make Jones proud as I go through the process.”
Her career interest and desire to serve the public stem from a science fair project in eighth grade.  Building a magnetometer to detect the Earth’s magnetic field sparked an interest in preserving the Earth through the legal system. 

Seales also has a dual career focus involving the legal system and service. Her initial desire is to assist with estate planning and litigation. She said her love of English and literature will also be a solid foundation for her career as she pursues her passion to serve mankind.
“Putting other people before yourself is always rewarding.  The greatest joys in my life have come from serving other people.  Life is about people and relationships and I find purpose in helping others,” said PTK VP of Service.

The Hattiesburg resident enjoys being busy and represents the Humanities Department as a Senator for the Student Government Association, she tutors students in the Student Success Center and she coordinates volunteer opportunities for JCJC students like the American Heart Association 5K/Walk and Relay for Life events.  Seales is also a member of the English Honor Society, Sigma Kappa Delta and she mentors young girls through First Presbyterian Church’s Urban Ministry in Hattiesburg.
“I am really excited to be able to represent JCJC on the state level. It’s humbling to be chosen.  I hope I can live up to their expectations as I do my best,” said Seales.
While McFadden and Seales will continue competing for scholarships at the state and national levels, each of the six students has the opportunity to earn additional scholarships through Phi Theta Kappa and other organizations as a nominee. 

Both McFadden and Seales will have to complete an application and essay about their volunteer efforts for the PTK selection committee.  They will be honored next spring in Jackson upon the conclusion of the competition. The USA Today Academic Team program annually recognizes 60 outstanding two-year college students. First, Second, and Third Teams, each consisting of 20 members, are selected from the nominees. The 20 First Team members receive stipends of $2,500 each. All 60 members of the All- USA Academic Team and their colleges receive extensive national recognition through coverage in USA TODAY 


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