Press Release

Cooke Foundation Awards 94 New Recipients the Nation’s Most Generous College Scholarship

LANSDOWNE, VA – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announces today its 2015 class of College Scholars, 94 of the brightest and most promising high school seniors from across the country who have unmet financial need. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program is one of the most competitive programs in the nation, as well as the most generous. Each Cooke Scholar will receive up to $40,000 per year for four years of study at an accredited college or university, and automatically becomes eligible for a $50,000 per year Cooke Graduate Scholarship.

“The academic and extracurricular accomplishments this group has demonstrated are absolutely remarkable,” said Executive Director Harold O. Levy. “They exemplify the qualities the Cooke Foundation values: persistence, determination, a love of learning, and a desire to help others. We have high hopes for each Cooke Scholar, and we also commend all of the high-achieving students who applied.”

This year’s College Scholars boast impressive academic credentials: they have an average high school grade point average of 3.86 (on a 4.0 scale), excellent standardized test scores and strong teacher recommendations. Almost all have won academic awards during their high school careers and have participated in civic or community service.

Consistent with the Cooke Foundation’s goal of helping exceptionally promising students with financial need, all come from families with very modest means. The average family income for this year’s College Scholars is $33,168, and 41 percent will be the first in their families to attend college. They will be attending the most competitive colleges and universities in the nation such as Amherst College, Cornell University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Stanford University, and Yale University.

This year the Cooke Foundation received 1,814 qualified applications for the scholarship from all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Forty-four of this year’s recipients are currently in the Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program, while the remaining 50 were selected from a very competitive external pool of applicants from around the nation.

Fifty-seven percent of this year’s College Scholars came from the south; Florida and Texas were the states with the most scholars with nine each. Houston had five scholars, the most for any single city.

College Scholars were chosen based on their exceptional academic ability and achievement, unmet financial need, persistence, service to others, and leadership. An independent panel of college admissions officers selected students based on a careful review of their academic transcripts, standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, and self-assessments, and essays.

The following is a complete list of students selected for the 2015 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program, their current address and the colleges that they will be attending in the fall:

Carolina Andrada (Panama City, FL) - Johns Hopkins University

Diana Andrade (Oklahoma City, OK) - Kenyon College

Michelle Arnold (Medford, NY) - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Jose Balcazar (Miami, FL) - Davidson College

Melanie Barrios (Playa Del Rey, CA) - Barnard College

Eric Baxley (Gaston, SC) - University of South Carolina Honors College

Lidwina Bell (Washington, DC) - Brown University

Hanna Berhane (Rockville, MD) - Princeton University

Isabella Berkley (Andover, MD) - Amherst College

Jared Bitz (Sioux Falls, SD) - Stanford University

Maxwell Blankenship (Shelby, NC) - North Carolina State University

Alex Frances Buranday (Nogales, AZ) - University of San Diego

Amanda Burcroff (Beverly Hills, MI) - University of Michigan

Iris Carbonel-Estepan (Brighton, MA) - New York University

Liam Carpenter-Urquhart (Tucson, AZ) - Brown University

Alexandra Carrington (Falmouth, ME) - Wellesley College

Siven Chinniah (Camp Hill, PA) - Temple University

Veronica Chiu (Lexington, VA) - Emory University, Oxford College

Roberto Claure (Arlington, VA) - University of Miami

Sheridan Clayborne (Highland Park, IL) - Northwestern University

Grace Creelman (Burlington, WA) - Whittier College

Nicholas Curtis (Fishers, IN) - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Victoria Davidjohn (Lynchburg, VA) - Princeton University

Tarek Deida (Pleasant Hill, NC) - Columbia University

Janet Diaz (Fort Worth, TX) - Carnegie Mellon University

Katherine Diaz (Arlington, VA) - Stanford University

Mayda Diaz (Houston, TX) - University of Pennsylvania

Gloria Ferry-Brennan (Langley, WA) - Curtis Institute of Music

Brittany Fischer (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) - University of Florida

Ashlyn Frahm (Montz, LA) - Harvard University

Alexus Fraser (Millington, TN) - Princeton University

Abagail Furry (Sanford, NC) - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Mitchell Gant (Stone Mountain, GA) - Georgia Institute of Technology

Dawit Gebre (Lithonia, GA) - Stanford University

Julia Gensheimer (Bowling Green, KY) - Emory University

Nicholas Gonzales (Freeport, MI) - University of Chicago

Frances Mari Grimaldo (Orofino, ID) - University of Southern California, Berkeley

Briana Grubb (Carlsbad, CA) - University of Southern California

Isaac Guerrero (Brooklyn, NY) - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Nayely Gutierrez (Houston, TX) - University of Southern California

Helen Harrison (Woodstock, VA) - Guilford College

Nicholas Hartman (Tulsa, OK) - Duke University

Makayla Haussler (Lincoln, NE) - Yale University

Jocelyn Hernandez (San Antonio, TX) - Harvard University

Beatrice Hociota (Bellbrook, OH) - Georgetown University

Tashrima Hossain (Houston, TX) - Stanford University

Jesse Isenberg (Indiana, PA) - Penn State University, University Park

Emily Janis (Kyle, SD) - South Dakota State

Adhitya Jayasinghe (Irving, TX) - Lehigh University

Robert  Kancans (White Bear Lake, MN) - University of Southern California

Kathryn Kasky (Belen, NM) - Baylor University

Kristy Kim (New Smyrna Beach, FL) - Yale University

Madeline Kroot (Bethel, CT) - Dartmouth College

Victor LaBozzetta (Selden, NY) - Eastman School of Music

Logan Lawrence (Arlington, TX) - Rice University

Kevin Le (Houston, TX) - University of Texas at Austin

Jesse Ledesma (Cockeysville, MD) - University of Maryland, College Park

Jacob Lisner (Newport, VT) - Princeton University

Xiangyang Liu (Los Angeles, CA) - Harvard University

Ravyn Malatesta (Silver Spring, MD) - Lewis & Clark College

Madelaine Maloney (Cashtown, PA) - New York University

Daven McQueen (Torrance, CA) - Brown University

Puneeth Meruva (Fort Wayne, IN) - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Khayln Miller (Dayton, OH) - Case Western Reserve University

Marina Mozak (Bath, ME) - Drew University

Patrizio Murdocca (Venice, FL) - Vanderbilt University

Minh Nguyen (Portland, OR) - Yale University

Colter Norick (Columbia Falls, MT) - Duke University

Samira Okudo (Gaithersburg, MD) - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Giselle Olivera (Staunton, VA) - Mary Baldwin College

Jean Carlo Pacheco (Kissimmee, FL) - University of Florida

Oscar Perales (Houston, TX) - Yale University

Magdalene Pizzo (Lakewood, OH) - Dartmouth College

Michael Riera (Newark, NJ) - Columbia University

Andreas Robertson (Silver Spring, MD) - Georgia Institute of Technology

Jesus Rodriguez (Orlando, FL) - Georgetown University

Daniella Royer (Tulsa, OK) - University of Oklahoma

Emmanuel Sanchez (Green Bay, WI) - University of Minnesota

Paul Serrato (Winder, GA) - Stanford University

Dain Song (Sugar Hill, GA) - Yale University

Chelsea Southworth (Lexington, KY) - Duke University

Chuang Tang (Little Rock, AR) - Yale University

Katie Taylor (Monticello, AR) - Duke University

Courtney Thurston (Mechanicsburg, PA) - Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Tho Tran (Annandale, VA) - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Enxin Wan (Herndon, VA) - Harvard University

Gary Wang (Winter Haven, FL) - Washington University in St. Louis

Xin Wen (Lawrence, MA) - Cornell University

Branden West (Pleasanton, CA) - University of Southern California, Berkeley

Christian Willick (Elm Grove, WI) - Martin Luther College

Auriel Wright (Macon, GA) - Harvard University

Yae Eun Yang (Brentwood, TN) - Johns Hopkins University

Natalie Zatz (Vero Beach, FL) - Yale University

Min Zhong (Arlington, VA) - Swarthmore College

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. By offering the largest scholarships in the country, comprehensive counseling and other support services to students from 7th grade to graduate school, the Foundation is dedicated to ensuring high-performing, low-income students have the support necessary to develop their talents and excel educationally. In addition to its scholarship programs, the Foundation provides grants for innovative, high-impact initiatives that benefit such students. By doing so, the Cooke Foundation seeks to use its resources to end the Excellence Gap, the disparity between the number of low and high income students who reach the top levels of academic performance. Founded in 2000, the Foundation has awarded $130 million in scholarships to 1,900 students and over $80 million in grants.

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