FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Executive Director of Communications and External Relations
Citrus College student receives prestigious national honor
Glendora, Calif. (April 13, 2021) – Brooke Arelano, a pre-allied health major at Citrus College, is one of only 50 community college students in the United States to be named a 2021 Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.
The result of a partnership between the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the Coca-Cola Academic Team recognizes 50 gold, 50 silver and 50 bronze scholars with nearly $200,000 in scholarships every year. The selection process involves community college students throughout the nation submitting applications for the All-USA Academic Team. The students must then be selected as nominees by their college.
"The dedication and hard work that Brooke Arelano has invested in her academic and service pursuits is remarkable," said Dr. Geraldine M. Perri, superintendent/president of Citrus College. "On behalf of the college community, I congratulate her on receiving this prestigious honor. Being named to the Coca-Cola Academic Team is an extraordinary accomplishment - we are all very proud of her!"
According to Brian Waddington, honors transfer coordinator and co-advisor for the Citrus College chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, selection to the Coca-Cola Academic Team is very competitive. In fact, approximately 2,000 of the top two-year college students in the United States apply for these scholarships.
"Citrus College students have received several high-profile Phi Theta Kappa scholarships, including being placed on the All-California Academic Team, in the past. However, I believe this is the first time that a Citrus College student has been recognized as a Gold Scholar," Mr. Waddington said. "There were obviously many quality community college students who applied, and the fact that Brooke's candidacy rose to the top says a lot about what she has accomplished at Citrus College."
Areej Qasqas, adjunct faculty member and co-advisor for the Citrus College chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, agrees. In addition to maintaining a GPA of 3.86, she noted that Ms. Arelano has also served as a student leader.
"It is not an exaggeration to say that our college might not have an active Phi Theta Kappa chapter if not for Brooke's energy and dedication," Ms. Qasqas said. "Brooke is a big part of why we have such a close community of scholars who are continuing to support each other throughout this pandemic."
Ms. Arelano serves as the president of Beta Nu Eta, Citrus College's Phi Theta Kappa chapter. She is also vice president of communications for the college's chapter of Alpha Gamma Sigma, the honor society of the California community colleges system. In addition to these responsibilities, she has held up to three jobs at a time while attending Citrus College over the last three years.
Despite her many achievements, Ms. Arelano was surprised by her recent recognition.
"I am not someone who has won many things throughout my life. This is the first big scholarship that I have received, and the fact that it is a national one is incredible. It feels surreal," she explains. "I am grateful to my advisors for pushing me to go beyond what I thought was possible."
As a Gold Scholar, Ms. Arelano will receive a $1,500 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which will help advance her education. After graduating from Citrus College, Ms. Arelano hopes to transfer to Stanford University to pursue a degree in biology. Her ultimate plan is to become a physician's assistant or physician.
"The board of trustees was delighted to learn that Brooke Arelano was recognized as a Gold Scholar by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation," said Dr. Patricia A. Rasmussen, president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees. "We offer Ms. Arelano our most enthusiastic congratulations. The skills and discipline she has demonstrated through her involvement with Phi Theta Kappa will certainly benefit her as she pursues her future academic and career goals."