2 Lakeshore students win national scholarship competitions

Two Grand Rapids Community College students have earned top honors in recent national scholarship competitions.

Jena Buttery and Tara Huskey, both GRCC Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter members, were lauded for their academic accomplishments.

Buttery was named a 2024 New Century Workforce Scholar — the first national scholarship of its kind to support community college students entering the workforce after completing their degree or certificate.

Buttery, a 2022 Zeeland East High School graduate, is the top-scoring New Century Workforce scholarship applicant in Michigan. Over 2,200 students from more than 1,300 college campuses nationwide were nominated for the scholarship. Only one recipient was selected from each state.

“I am beyond grateful and honored to have been awarded this scholarship,” says Buttery, who is pursuing a career in social/digital media marketing after graduating from GRCC in April with an associate degree in marketing.

The New Century Workforce Scholars program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Recipients of the $1,500 scholarships will be recognized this fall.

“Scholarship programs like this are integral for creating opportunities for students to succeed as they prepare to enter the workforce and for putting college completion within reach,” says Lynn Tincher-Ladner, Phi Theta Kappa president and CEO.

Selected as Gold Scholar

Huskey was named a 2024 Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar — the scholarship’s top honor in Michigan.

“I know I've worked hard,” Huskey says. “But I work hard to benefit those around me, not myself. So, it shocked me to win an award as prestigious as this one.”

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver, and 50 Bronze Scholars with scholarships annually. The program is designed to provide financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges.

“Scholarships like these are integral to the success of these students in reaching their educational and career goals," says Jane Hale Hopkins, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.  

Huskey, who graduated in 2022 from Wayland Union High School, will complete an associate degree in exercise science in April. She plans to transfer this fall to the University of West Florida to pursue a bachelor's degree in exercise science and a master's degree in athletic training.

Huskey will be recognized for her $1,500 scholarship at Phi Theta Kappa’s annual international convention April 4-6 in Orlando.
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