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Two COCC students among 45 on community colleges’ All-Oregon Academic Team

COCC students Tatum Nielsen, Nelida Ruiz-Vargas made community colleges' All-Oregon Academic Team
Oregon Community College Assn.
COCC students Tatum Nielsen, Nelida Ruiz-Vargas made community colleges' All-Oregon Academic Team

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon Community College Association announced on Monday the selection of 45 community college students from around the state -- including two from Central Oregon Community College to the 2020-2021 All-Oregon Academic Team, including two from Central Oregon Community College.

COCC students Tatum Nielsen and Nelida Ruiz-Vargas made the team, announced Monday.

These outstanding student scholars are selected for their academic excellence, leadership and community service, and are all members of Phi Theta Kappa, the nation’s community college honor society.

“I’d like to congratulate these outstanding student scholars for their achievements and the completion of their community college degrees,” said OCCA Executive Director Cam Preus. “As some of our very best and brightest, these students represent hope for a strong future in Oregon.”

Each year, Phi Theta Kappa, community college presidents, and community college state associations like OCCA sponsor All-State Community College Academic Team ceremonies in 37 participating states. Traditionally, OCCA hosts the All-Oregon Academic Team Luncheon in Salem each April to honor AOAT students with their families, and a special appearance by Gov. Kate Brown. However, due to COVID-19, the 2020 and 2021 luncheons were cancelled. Instead, OCCA honors these students through a special recognition program on its website,

In addition, the OCCA Board each year selects four students from the 45 outstanding scholars to serve as speakers at the recognition luncheon. With the cancellation of the 2021 luncheon, these four students instead have created short videos to introduce themselves and their inspiring stories for OCCA’s website. This year’s featured student scholars include Natasha Robinson and Dava Nimmo from Rogue Community College, Casey Dudek from Portland Community College, and Nora Jackson from Lane Community College.

In addition, two AOAT students were designated as New Century Scholars for earning the highest All-USA Academic Team application score for Oregon: Tom Farrenkopf from Portland Community College was named a New Century Transfer Scholar, and Hannah Berger from Treasure Valley Community College was named a New Century Workforce Scholar.

Additionally, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team each year, which recognizes high-achieving students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society. Nationally, 50 students are selected as Silver Scholars and receive $1,250 scholarships, and 50 students nationally are selected as Bronze Scholars and receive $1,000 scholarships. Faith Byars of Umpqua Community College was named a 2021 Silver Scholar, while Jordyn Tippett of Southwestern Oregon Community College was named a Bronze Scholar.

2020-2021 All-Oregon Academic Team

College First Name Last Name

Blue Mountain Community College Tonya Evans
Blue Mountain Community College Andrew Wolotira
Central Oregon Community College Tatum Nielsen
Central Oregon Community College Nelida Ruiz-Vargas
Chemeketa Community College Ivan Dixon
Chemeketa Community College Alberto Sandoval
Chemeketa Community College Josiah Wallace
Chemeketa Community College Joleen Brickley
Chemeketa Community College Isabella Van Horn
Clackamas Community College Emily Fuentes
Clackamas Community College Katie Hodgin
Clackamas Community College Keeley Reid
Clatsop Community College Valerie Mannix
Columbia Gorge Community College Kylie Moltzen
Columbia Gorge Community College Theresa Schugt
Klamath Community College Rachel Ferguson
Klamath Community College Mark Larsen
Klamath Community College Maria Ocampo Solano
Klamath Community College Christina Patton
Lane Community College Deepti Gautam
Lane Community College Nora Jackson
Lane Community College Shawna Staff
Mt. Hood Community College Kim Vu
Oregon Coast Community College Melissa Hernandez-Pacheco
Oregon Coast Community College Cora Kehr
Portland Community College Andrew Clark
Portland Community College Casey Dudek
Portland Community College Tom Farrenkopf
Portland Community College Audra Lein
Portland Community College Lenaya Martin
Portland Community College Jessica Betts
Portland Community College Paul Salvattore Gonzalez Herrera
Portland Community College Brea Nazareno
Portland Community College Heidi Brown
Portland Community College Justin Cory
Rogue Community College Dava Nimmo
Rogue Community College Natasha Robinson
Southwestern Oregon Community College Jordyn Tippett
Tillamook Bay Community College Dylan Bringuel
Treasure Valley Community College Hannah Berger
Treasure Valley Community College Maria Montes
Treasure Valley Community College Chase Wilcox
Umpqua Community College Faith Byars
Umpqua Community College Elizabeth Turne

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