Horacio Artiga, a student at the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) has been named a 2014 Coca-Cola Leader of Promise Scholar, along with Isabela Lopes who attends NOVA’s Manassas Campus. Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
For Artiga, 38, the news he had been selected as a scholar was a redemption, of sorts. Attending NOVA is a second chance at finishing an education that came to an abrupt end years ago with an academic dismissal from Syracuse University.
“I thought I would never go back to college,” said Artiga, a married father of two young children and owner of a dog walking business in Washington, D.C. “But after my daughter was born, something inside of me changed. I wanted to change the story that had been formed about me so far.”
That change is already happening. “I’m having such a different experience than at Syracuse,” he said. “I’m touched that I was singled out for academic achievement by Phi Theta Kappa. “It really means a lot to me.”
Artiga, who has a 4.0 GPA, is vice president of the Tau Nu Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at NOVA-Alexandria. He plans to earn an associate degree in business administration from the College before transferring to a four-year university in the Greater Washington Metropolitan area to study economics.
“The Alexandria Campus is delighted that one of its own students has been selected as a 2014 Coca-Cola Leader of Promise Scholar,” said Dr. Ron Buchanan, NOVA-Alexandria acting provost. “We congratulate Horacio on his award. He has proven himself worthy of the title scholar by applying himself academically and taking on a leadership role with the Tau Nu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.”
A total of 207 Phi Theta Kappa members were selected as scholars from more than 900 applications worldwide and awarded a total of $207,000 in scholarships. The money will go toward helping students further their associate degree studies. Independent judges evaluated the applications based on scholastic achievement, community service and leadership potential.
"These funds not only aid college completion, but provide students with the opportunity to engage in Society programs and develop leadership skills to become future leaders in Phi Theta Kappa,” said Dr. Rod Risley, executive director and chief executive officer of Phi Theta Kappa. “So the funds are not only an investment in our students, they are an investment in the future of our organization and the colleges and communities we serve.”
Risley added: “Without a doubt the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise program will make a tremendous impact on the lives of these hard-working, high-achieving students -- making it possible for them to complete their associate degrees."
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Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Miss., is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, plus Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. Nearly 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 132,000 students inducted annually.
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.