MCC PTK students earn national acclaim

MESA, Arizona – March 31, 2020 – Mesa Community College (MCC) Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) students are receiving multiple national recognitions and scholarships as members of Omicron Beta, the MCC chapter of PTK, an international honor society for students at associate-degree awarding colleges.

Abby Atonla Rodriguez Abigaly (Abby) Atonal Rodriguez and Shelby Lynch are among 15 PTK members from across the nation named 2020 Guistwhite Scholars. Each receives a $5,000 scholarship for baccalaureate studies and a commemorative medallion. These outstanding MCC students were also selected as All-Arizona Academic First Team members to receive $1,000 scholarships for their academic excellence, leadership accomplishments and engagement in PTK programs. This is the second-highest scholarship offered by PTK.

Shelby Lynch Lynch is also a 2020 Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar and is receiving a $1,500 Coca-Cola scholarship. Selection for this honor is based on scores she earned in this year’s All-USA Academic Team competition, which attracted more than 2,000 applicants. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation is administered by PTK and selection is based on academic achievement, leadership and engagement in college and community service. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars with nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually.

“I would not have been able to receive these scholarships if it wasn't for my PTK chapter here at Mesa Community College. My advisors and fellow officers have been very helpful in supporting me to do my best and achieve my academic and career goals,” said Lynch, who plans to transfer to the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University to pursue a master’s degree in business, digital marketing.

Emily Lee Emily Lee, a dental hygiene student at the MCC Red Mountain Campus, has been selected as a national New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar, earning the highest qualification score in Arizona. This scholarship is also sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation with support from PTK. More than 2,000 applications were evaluated on academic achievement, leadership, service and significant endeavors. Lee receives a $1,250 scholarship and will be recognized at the Association of Community College Trustees 2020 Leadership Congress in Chicago in the fall. Lee has been leading fundraising for community members who need dental care. She plans to continue her efforts by pursuing certification in a new field, dental therapy, and to be deployed in underserved rural and reservation areas. The new position is similar to that of nurse practitioner, allowing dental hygienists to perform additional duties such as filling procedures and tooth extractions.

Emma Shelley Nursing student Emma Shelley is one of only 10 students in the country to receive the PTK Fall 2019 Hurst Review NCLEX Scholarship. It includes a passcode for free use of the Hurst Review study materials – a $300 value – and a $250 scholarship award to pay the NCLEX exam fees. The Hurst Review is a resource for preparing for the National Council Licensure Examination-RN and PN nursing exams.

“Year after year, members of the MCC Omicron Beta chapter of PTK showcase the opportunities our students have to earn scholarships and global acclaim,” said Duane Oakes, PTK lead faculty advisor. “These stellar students go out into the world with high academic achievement, demonstrated leadership skills and the knowledge and joy that is found by giving to the community.”

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer, or 480-461-7892

Phi Theta Kappa is an honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. PTI is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations, with approximately 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges. Learn more at and

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. The college has served as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning throughout its 50-year history. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs online, and at its two campuses and additional locations. Through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services, MCC is transforming the ways it champions student success, college completion, university transfer and career attainment or advancement. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution and more than 50% of its students are the first in their family to attend college. Its American Indian Institute serves 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes and more than 30 out-of-state tribes. The diverse student body includes more than 400 international students representing over 60 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to successfully compete in the workforce. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Monday, March 30, 2020