TCC Student Awarded Prestigious Scholarship Worth up to $40,000 a Year
“I think about the dozens of Tulsa Community College faculty and staff who have helped me on my journey, whose time and dedication enabled me to be successful,” said West. “TCC is a dream factory. The opportunities this scholarship opens have completely altered the trajectory of my life.”
West is one of 50 recipients of the highly competitive scholarship for the nation’s top community college students. In addition, Cooke scholars are eligible to apply for up to $75,000 of funding toward graduate school.
“I plan to utilize this scholarship to pursue research into Artificial Intelligence towards sustainability efforts. I will not waste this gift,” said West, who is considering the University of Tulsa, Yale, Cornell, and Brown.
His summer plans include a position as the NASA Cyber Security Intern at the Langley Research Center.
“I would be excited for any TCC student chosen for such a significant honor,” said Dr. Allen Culpepper, TCC’s Jack Kent Cooke Foundation representative. “I’m even more ecstatic because Justin is such a dedicated student, and one whom I have had the pleasure of teaching personally.”
West is also this year’s TCC recipient of the Kontogianes Honors Award, sponsored by the TCC Foundation, and given each year to the Honors Scholar who best exemplifies the qualities of its namesake: intelligence, integrity, love of learning, service to others, and concern for others. He led the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for two years, increased student organization funding by 30 percent when he served as finance director for the Student Government Association, made the TRIO Student Association the most active at TCC, founded the Active Minds mental health organization and planned a Stomp Out Stigma mental health and suicide awareness program that was the largest student-led event in the College’s history.
West is also a TRIO Student Support Services participant and a dedicated Peer tutor helping fellow students in the program with STEM related coursework as well as general college student development. The TRIO Student Support Services program at TCC provides specialized academic support to students who are first- generation, economically disadvantaged, or students with disabilities. In addition, he served as a True Blue Lead, a student ambassador, and chair of the Cyber Security Committee. West also served as managing editor for the 2019 issues of Tulsa Review, TCC’s online magazine of the literary and visual arts.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need.
“In addition to financial support, new Cooke Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising from the Foundation to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year college and preparing for their careers,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “Scholars will additionally receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a thriving network of over 2,700 fellow Cooke Scholars and alumni.”
Nearly 1,500 students from 311 community colleges applied for the 2020 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This year’s semi-finalists included four TCC students. In addition to West, they were Justice Robinson, Alyssa Whan, and Bethany Niman. The Foundation evaluated each submission based on students’ academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, leadership, and service to others. The recipients selected represent 17 different states and plan to enroll at the nation’s most selective colleges.