Six Central Arizona College students earn All-Arizona Academic honors

By Guy Harrison, CAC Media & Marketing Specialist

MESA, Ariz. - Six of Central Arizona College's outstanding students have been selected to the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society All-Arizona Academic Team.

Sean Kolder (Casa Grande/Casa Verde HS), Aline Kraus (Wäschenbeuren, Germany/Hohenstaufen Gymnasium Göppingen) and Lorena Villanueva (San Manuel/San Manuel HS) were tabbed for the First Team, Steven Shedd (Eloy/Homeschooled) and Carly Thalman (Apache Junction/Homeschooled/EVIT) were chosen as Second Team members, and Kandace Kelly (Oracle/Homeschooled) was named to the Third Team.

The awards were announced on Wednesday afternoon, February 19, at the All-Arizona Academic Team Recognition Ceremony held at the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa. First Team members Kolder, Kraus and Villanueva are now eligible for the All-USA Academic Team that will be published in USA Today in April 8.

Phi Theta Kappa, USA Today, community college presidents, and community college state associations co-sponsor All-State Academic Team recognition programs in 35 states. Students nominated to the All-USA Academic Team are automatically named to the All-State Academic Team. Ranking on the All-State team is determined by the student's score in the national competition. Nominations are based on outstanding academic performance and service to the college and community.

All-Arizona Academic Team members receive special recognition, including medallions, certificates and scholarships. First Team members receive a $1,000 check, while Second Team members are presented with $750 and Third Team members are granted $500.

They are also eligible for full tuition scholarships to any of the Grand Canyon State's three public universities: Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University or the University of Arizona.

Additionally, students from the All-Arizona Academic Team who choose to attend Texas A&M-Commerce are eligible for up to $10,000 in scholarships spread over four semesters. Students who are not Texas residents will be eligible to pay in-state tuition charges.

Sean KolderSean Kolder - First Team (Signal Peak Campus)

Kolder, a Casa Grande native, holds a 3.77 grade point average while pursuing an associate degree in business. A member of Phi Theta Kappa, Kolder was one of three students selected to represent Central Arizona College during the Student Public Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. last year. He plans to transfer to Arizona State University before eventually entering a career in law enforcement with the long-term goal of one day becoming Pinal County Sheriff.

Aline KrausAline Kraus - First Team (Superstition Mountain Campus)

After graduating from Hohenstaufen Gymnasium Göppingen in Wäschenbeuren, Germany and coming to CAC, Kraus has earned First Team honors with the help of a 4.0 grade point average as a physiology major. In addition to serving as chapter president of Phi Theta Kappa at the Superstition Mountain Campus, Kraus is involved in CAC's Student Leadership Organization and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Club, and is an officer for the campus's Community Outreach and Service organization.

An Honors Faculty Scholarship recipient, Kraus presented at the Western Regional Honors Conference in Flagstaff last spring. With the eventual goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon, Kraus will be transferring to the University of Arizona.

Lorena VillanuevaLorena Villanueva - First Team (Aravaipa Campus)

An active volunteer in kindergarten classrooms in the town of Oracle, Villanueva is a First Team selection boasting a 3.81 grade point average as a biology major.

The native of San Manuel is involved in CAC's Student Leadership Organization and is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa. In the spring of 2013, she earned recognition as the Aravaipa Campus's Most Outstanding Student for the 2012-2013 academic year.

A graduate of San Manuel High School, Villanueva plans to transfer to the University of Arizona with the intention of becoming an occupational therapist.

Steven SheddSteven Shedd - Second Team (Signal Peak Campus)

Shedd, a homeschooled native of Eloy, earned Second Team honors with a 4.0 grade point average as an agriculture major.

Secretary of the Signal Peak Campus's chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, Shedd is involved in a number of civil activism projects and is active in local youth development for Olympic-style shooting sports.

Shedd plans to transfer to Texas Tech before pursuing a career as a natural resource lawyer.

Carly ThalmanCarly Thalman - Second Team (Superstition Mountain Campus)

Based at CAC's Superstition Mountain Campus in Apache Junction, Thalman first came to CAC as a high school student through its Early College program. Having split her high school years between being homeschooled and the East Valley Institute of Technology, Thalman is currently on-track to graduate from CAC with an associate of science degree and has maintained a 4.0 grade point average.

An active member of SMC's PTK chapter and Student Leadership Organization, Thalman is the vice president of the STEM Club. Thalman plans to transfer to Arizona State University's Polytechnic Campus and hopes to pursue a career as a mechanical engineer for the Federal government or in national security.

Kandace KellyKandace Kelly - Third Team (Aravaipa Campus)

A homeschooled student from Oracle, Kelly is an English major with a 3.71 grade point average. A member of Phi Theta Kappa, Kelly has been involved with local animal shelters, delivering food for rescued animals.

Last spring, Kelly was recognized as the Aravaipa Campus's most outstanding communications division student. She plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University in pursuit of a career as a writer, which she seems equipped to do after recently winning CAC's 14th Annual Black History Month Poetry Contest.

Central Arizona College - District Office 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128 Phone: 800-237-9814