Two GateWay Community College students are on their way to state universities in the near future, thanks to a scholarship that is part of a national recognition program co-sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, USA Today, and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of the two-year college. Students must be earning an associate degree and maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher (4.0 scale) to qualify.
Renea Wolfrum and Sara Simpson have been recognized as part of the All Arizona Academic Team for 2019. As such, each will be awarded a scholarship to their Arizona university of choice in the form of a tuition waiver.
For Wolfrum, a Chandler resident, her passion is looking for ways to actively make the world safer and healthier, especially in the workplace. She is earning her Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Health and Safety at GateWay and plans to graduate in 2019 .
In addition to earning a degree, Wolfrum completed a Summer 2017 Industrial Health and Safety internship at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, where she hopes to return as a safety professional, focused on implementing a risk-based approach to prevent on-site injuries.
Wolfrum also has been involved with a number of different Honors programs, completing eight Honors courses and six Honors projects during her time studying at GateWay. She has also helped to re-engage GateWay’s efforts in the Arizona Chapter of the American Society of Safety Professionals as the Student Chapter President. She has also been selected as a 2019 Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar and will receive a $1,500 scholarship.
“I never dreamed my Honors projects and community service hours would significantly affect my learning and my plans of becoming a certified safety professional,” she said.
As a first generation college student – at 55 years old – Wolfrum is on her way to the University of Arizona’s Zuckerman College of Public Health Honors program, with her sights set on an MBA and a PhD down the road.
For Simpson, a Phoenix resident, who studies Nuclear Medicine Technology, her story is one of perseverance; she originally enrolled at a college right after graduating from Deer Valley High School. However, she stopped after attending Rio Salado for less than a year. Ten years later, Simpson is reinvigorated!
Her advice to others?
“Keep pushing through your doubts and struggles,” Simpson said. “Keep up the hard work and achieve your goals because it truly is a humbling experience.”
Today, Simpson is enrolled in both online and in-person courses at GateWay as she works her way toward her associate degree. She, too, has taken Honors courses and has been on the Dean’s List.
Simpson is transferring to Northern Arizona University to earn a Bachelor’s of Health Sciences degree in Diagnostic Medical Imaging and Therapy. Her career goal is to be a Radiation Safety Officer, overseeing the materials and machines used in Nuclear Medicine.
Both students are part of a team of 26 from the participating Maricopa Community Colleges being recognized with this prestigious scholarship at the All Arizona Academic Team award ceremony held on Feb. 27 at the East Valley Institute of Technology.