Two-year college students honored for academic achievements and community service

Posted: March 30, 2006

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

Twenty-three two-year college students who make up the All-Minnesota Academic Team were honored today during a luncheon program at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The students are the state's nominees for the All-USA Academic Team for Community, Technical and Junior College Students, a program sponsored annually by Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges, USA Today and the American Association of Community Colleges. State academic teams were introduced in 1994 as a way to provide scholarships and scholastic recognition to members of Phi Theta Kappa. The students range in age from 19 to 49.

Twenty-one of the students are from colleges within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Those students and their colleges are: Andrea Frafford, Alexandria Technical College; Gary Steffenson, Anoka-Ramsey Community College; Pinchat Chatpaitoon, Central Lakes College; Nemanja Svitlica, Century College; Iheanyichukwu Ijioma and Rebecca Youngmark, both from Dakota County Technical College; Mark Wackerfuss, Inver Hills Community College; Jennifer Brockway, Northeast Higher Education District-Itasca Community College; Jonathan Hanson, Minnesota State Community and Technical College; Erik Eliason and Kamran Taghizadeh, both from Normandale Community College; Brandi Bennett and Kamiel Houston, both from North Hennepin Community College; Kelly Moore, Nichole Rahn, Karl Anderson and James Staite, all from Northland Community and Technical College; Jessica Gore, Ridgewater College; Keri Hollerud and Martha Yiglletu, St. Paul College; and Christine Myers, South Central College. Two students from private colleges, Monica Hines, Dunwoody College of Technology; and Rachel Gullord, Presentation College, also were honored.

To be nominated to the Minnesota team, a student must be currently enrolled at a Minnesota two-year college and expect to graduate during the 2005-2006 academic year, have completed at least 12 semester credits and have a grade point average of at least 3.25 at a Minnesota two-year college.

Nominees were selected based on biographical information, letters of recommendation, academic performance, demonstration of leadership, and campus and community service involvement. Applicants also wrote an essay describing a specific educational experience while attending a two-year college that has transformed the student's thinking about learning or the future.

The Minnesota All-State Academic Team is sponsored by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, state two-year college presidents, Phi Theta Kappa and the Minn-Wi-Kota Region of Phi Theta Kappa.

Students selected for the All-USA academic team receive stipends or plaques. The 2006 All-USA team members will be announced April 22 at the American Association of Community Colleges convention in Long Beach, Calif.


Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 430,000 students across the state.