Two Ivy Tech Kokomo Region students named Jack Kent Cooke semifinalists

Kokomo, Logansport students in running for prestigious scholarship

Trisha Norfleet

Trisha Norfleet

KOKOMO, Ind. — Two students from Ivy Tech Community College’s Kokomo Region have been named as semifinalists to compete for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The highly competitive scholarship will provide up to 60 low-income students with as much as $40,000 per year for up to three years to complete bachelor’s degrees at selective four-year colleges and universities.

Trisha Norfleet of Kokomo and Matthew Nelson of Logansport are among the 597 top community college students from across the nation selected as semifinalists. Nearly 3,000 community college students applied for the program, which is the largest scholarship in the country solely aimed at community college students seeking to transfer to four-year institutions

Matthew Nelson

Matthew Nelson

that award bachelor’s degrees. The other two Indiana semifinalists are also from Ivy Tech – Alison Breeze of Indianapolis and John Schweitzer of Muncie.

Both Norfleet and Nelson also were among 200 students selected from across the country last fall as recipients of The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation’s “2016 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar” awards.

Norfleet, a United States Air Force Reserve veteran, is active in student veteran affairs, as well as the Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society for community college students, and serves as president of the Student Government Association at Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Campus. She is a student representative to the Ivy Tech State Board of Trustees and student representative for the State of Indiana in the Heads Up National College Promise Campaign. Norfleet also is one of just 10 students nationwide awarded the Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education through Phi Theta Kappa, which includes $5,000 to assist in the completion of an associate’s degree and to push students to begin a bachelor’s degree.

Nelson, also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, has participated in the Walk Into My Future event and voter registration drives during his career at Ivy Tech. He completed the Ivy Tech Student Leadership Academy and serves on the Student Life Budget Committee.  A 2004 graduate of Logansport High School, Nelson is set to complete his associate of applied science degree in Software Development in May 2017. After graduation, he hopes to attend Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) to pursue an accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree program in Informatics and Human-Computer Interaction.

In 2016, Caleb Sedam of Logansport, a student in Ivy Tech Community College’s Kokomo Region, was one of 75 community college students from across the United States selected for the Cooke Scholarship. Sedam, who completed an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies at Ivy Tech last summer, is continuing his education at Purdue University where he is studying biology, with a concentration in genetics. Future plans include a doctorate – whether an M.D. or a Ph.D – to possibly go into medical research and teaching in gene therapy or therapeutic cloning.

Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars will be selected from the semifinalists in April, based on their strong records of achievement as shown by grades, leadership skills, awards, service to others and perseverance in the face of adversity.

“Community colleges provide four-year colleges and universities with a great talent pool of students who have shown they can excel in college-level work,” Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy said. “When I was New York City Schools Chancellor, I didn’t realize that a large number of high achieving students from low-income backgrounds were beginning their college pathways in community college. The foundation is particularly interested in making sure a number of these top students succeed at the nation’s top colleges and universities.”

Cooke Scholarships fund the costs of attending college not covered by other financial aid, plus intensive academic advising, stipends for internships, study abroad opportunities, and the ability to network with other Cooke Scholars and alumni. After earning a bachelor’s degree, these Cooke Scholars will also be eligible to apply for a scholarship for graduate school worth up to $50,000 a year for up to four years.


About Ivy Tech Kokomo Region

Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region serves Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties and includes campuses or instructional sites in the communities of Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, and Rochester. Ivy Tech serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. For more information, visit
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