A Chesapeake science major is a semi-finalist for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke scholarship. Sofiah Ali of Stevensville is one of only 19 students in Maryland who advanced to the final selection round. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation selected 534 semi-finalists from 2,500 applicants.
An Honors Program student, Ms. Ali is in her second year at Chesapeake. Her winning entry in the 2017 Honors Poster Contest earned her a trip to the 52nd Annual Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Atlanta last fall. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was on the Fall 2017 Dean's List. She plans to pursue a career in biology/medicine.
"Sofiah possesses all the qualities that professors, like employers, value. Her critical thinking skills are stellar, she is self-motivated, articulate, conscientious, and driven. She has an open mind and an enthusiasm for learning that is rarely seen at the undergraduate level, and she accepts feedback gracefully. When Sofiah completes a project, she doesn’t just give you what you wanted—she gives you what you didn’t even know you wanted. I am thrilled to have her at Chesapeake as an Honors Program student,” said Amber McGinnis, Honors Program Director and Assistant Professor of Communications.
The scholarship is awarded to community college students who plan to transfer to four-year institutions to pursue bachelor's degrees. Students are chosen based on their academic performance, leadership, perseverance and service to others. This highly competitive scholarship will offer selected finalists as much as $40,000 per year for up to three years to complete a bachelors' degree program. The finalists will be announced in April.
“I’m very honored to be one of the semifinalists for the Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship. Even if I don't get the scholarship, I'm glad I had the opportunity to have made it this far in the selection process,” Ms. Ali said.
Ms. Ali’s professors agreed that her selection as a semi-finalist is an accomplishment and that she has already succeeded on Chesapeake’s campus.
“Sofiah is exceptional in many ways and consistently performs at the top of the class. Her natural curiosity and exemplary effort have led to a depth of knowledge that is well beyond what is required for the courses. In the fall, for an Honors Project in my Anatomy and Physiology I class, Sophia completed a literature review on telomeres, looking at their implications for aging and cancer. This was a self-directed project done at the senior thesis or graduate level. Sophia’s future plans include earning an M.D. and PhD. and going on to do research. I am confident that the benefits of Sofiah’s future work will be far reaching and I beam with pride knowing that part of her journey has been right here at Chesapeake College,” said Kim Smoloski, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences.