JCJC student earns Mississippi’s 1st New Century Workforce Pathway Scholarship

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2018-06-12 14:52:59

ELLISVILLE – As the top Mississippi student in Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society’s New Century Workforce Pathway competition, Wayne County’s Dakota Shoemaker earned a scholarship and will be nationally recognized in New York. More than 2,000 applications from 1,600 college campuses across the country were received and evaluated on academic achievement, leadership, service and significant endeavors. Shoemaker received the highest score in Mississippi in the inaugural 2018 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholarship program.

“It’s a huge accomplishment to me,” said the ecstatic Shoemaker. “I’m so thankful for everyone who helped me through the application process and for the opportunity to partake in the competition. It’s an amazing feeling to know that the things I have done stood out to people.”
The Jones County Junior College computer programming and web design graduate’s determination to reach her goals allowed her to graduate early from Wayne County High School in December 2015. Despite the odds, she also persevered to finish JCJC’s two-year program early.
“The courses I needed to complete my major weren’t offered my first semester so I had to take all my basics the spring semester (2016). Also, to keep from going to school five semesters, I took all my last semester courses during my third semester (Jan 2018),” said Shoemaker.
Even with her heavy class-load during her four semesters at Jones, Shoemaker found time to compete in Phi Beta Lambda, the college division of Future Business Leaders of America. She earned first-place honors in Programming Concepts and Website Design at the state competition in 2017, and sixth-place honors in Website Design at the national competition. These competitions along with her experience working at Howard Power Solutions as a computer programmer/analyst since February have modified Shoemaker’s long-term goals of being a website designer.
“I hope to broaden my goal and start a software development company, not just website design. At Howard’s, I get to design websites but I also get to work with other types of software and I’ve come to realize that I love all of them,” Shoemaker shared.
The Clara native was nominated by JCJC computer information systems instructor, Jennifer Powell because of Shoemaker’s dedication. Not only was she working at a restaurant in Waynesboro with more than a full load of classes, Shoemaker was also volunteering at a local nursing home and at an animal shelter. Despite all the challenges, she kept a 3.8 GPA and finished the Information Systems Technology program early.
“She is undeniably one of the strongest students we have had to go through our program. She is a strong young woman who is very determined to be successful in anything she attempts,” said Powell.
The New Century Workforce Pathway Scholarship program annually recognizes 100 scholars. Each scholar will receive special recognition at the Association of Community College Trustees Congress in New York in October. Shoemaker hopes to attend depending on work and school schedules. However, JCJC Career and Technical Dean, Rod Tolbert said even without the national recognition, Shoemaker’s accomplishments as the first recipient of this new scholarship program have set the bar high for future Mississippi students.

“I am excited that Career and Technical Education students are now a part of the New Century Scholars program. We have exceptional students in all of our CTE programs, and I can't think of a better candidate than Dakota! She is a highly motivated individual that will achieve any goal she sets her mind to. There is no doubt in my mind that Dakota has set the bar high for future New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars,” said Tolbert.

Co-sponsors of the NCWP Scholarship program, Phi Theta Kappa, and The Coca-Cola Foundation said they are honored to recognize the outstanding achievements of students like Shoemaker’s and to be able to assist them. Scholarship programs like this are integral for creating opportunities for students to succeed as they prepare to enter the workforce and for putting college completion within reach. Executive Director of Coca-Cola, Helen Price said the Foundation is fully aware of the opportunities scholarships can afford students.

“Education can change lives and help ensure that young people can realize their full potential. The Coca-Cola Foundation places a high priority on supporting education to help build strong communities,” said Price.
Shoemaker plans to start the Information Technology (Developer) program at the University of Southern Mississippi this fall with her $1,250 scholarship.


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