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College Forum Volume 19, Number 3 : Page 1

MIAMI DADE COLLEGE COLLEGE THE SHARK SURGE f orum June 2015 • Volume 19 • Number 3 Commencement Glows as Miami Dade College Captures Prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships ubilation filled MDC’s commencement ceremo-nies this spring when close to 15,000 graduates received diplomas in five celebrations. The joy peaked as four MDC students graduating with associate degrees learned they had been se-lected from thousands nationwide to receive the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship to use toward their bachelor’s degrees. Through the years, 18 MDC students have received this honor, making MDC a top producer in the nation. J In addition, members of MDC’s District Board of Trustees presented $5,000 scholarships to top grad-uates from each campus. As in past MDC ceremonies, where graduates have heard inspiring words from world leaders such as Presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama, this year’s at-tendees were urged to improve the world by the mo-tivational messages of the keynote speakers. For feature stories about the top graduates, quotes from the speakers and photos, see Pages 14-17. MDC Named a Winner in Service Year Contest The Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute , the National Con fe rence on C i ti ze ns hi p and the Corporation for National and Community Service named Miami Dade College a win-ner of the Service Year + Higher Education Innovation Challenge, along with Drake University and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Prizes made possible through the Lumina Foundation were awarded to outstanding plans for creating new university-based service year posi-tions connected to academic credit. In addition to winning one of the three $30,000 awards, MDC received $10,000 for earning the audience choice award, which was voted on by those attending the Aspen Institute event. “We challenged higher education to provide students opportunities for a year of civilian national service tied to learning and to ensure that ‘service year’ translates into course credit,” said John Bridgeland, Franklin Project co-chair. “Americans always respond to a challenge, and nine outstanding finalists have developed innovative efforts to be launched in coming years.” MDC’s winning Changemaker Corps Peer Mentoring program will enable youth who have aged out of foster care to mentor others in the system with the goal of helping them stay in school, graduate and develop em-ployability skills. Miami-Dade County has a large number of youth in foster care or who have recently aged out of the system who find the transition to adulthood fraught with challenges. Less than 50 percent graduate from At the awards ceremony were, from left, MDC Single Stop Director Barbara Pryor; Educate Tomorrow Founder Virginia Emmons; MDC student Claudia Gourdet; Josh Young, director of MDC’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy; and Jamie Merisotis, Lumina CEO and president. high school, 40 percent will be homeless within 18 months of aging out and 25 percent will be incarcerated within two years of exiting foster care. The Changemaker Corps will recruit members from the 300 former fos-ter care youth enrolled at MDC. Each corps member will be assigned 20 former foster care students to mentor. Besides receiving academic credit for coursework associated with their service year experience, corps mem-bers will participate in professional development sessions. “MDC is committed to creating a high-quality, replicable and scalable service year model,” said Josh Young, director of MDC’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy, which designed the plan. “The Changemaker Corps will transform the lives of at-risk students so that they stay in college, graduate and are prepared for the workforce and civic success.” Photo by Steve Johnson/The Aspen Institute New Accolades for Innovation

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