Every year more than a thousand community college students from all over the country apply for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. The Undergraduate Scholarship helps transfer students cover the final two or three years necessary to earn bachelor’s degrees. From this year’s pool of 1,200 applicants from 35 states, five MiraCosta students were selected as semi-finalists for the scholarship.
A first-generation college student, Alma Cuevas hopes to be a resource for her younger siblings when they reach college. Majoring in administration of justice, Cuevas plans to transfer to the University of California, Irvine, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer and eventually a Supreme Court justice.
Cuevas is an active member of the MiraCosta College campus community. She is currently a member of the Honors Program, Phi Theta Kappa, and is a student trustee for the Associated Student Government (ASG). In addition, Cuevas presented a project on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy at MiraCosta’s OMNI Student Research Showcase last fall. She was very surprised and excited when she was selected as a semi-finalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.
“When I looked at the email, I was so excited,” said Cuevas, “I thought it was like a regular email…so when I finally got to it, I was like, wait, really?”
A self-described average student in high school, Inayah Abdulmateen is one of the most active and engaged members of the MiraCosta College community. In addition to serving as a Student Ambassador for the college and director of legislative affairs for the ASG, Inayah is co-president of the Black Student Union.
Inayah has continued to pave her path toward success. In addition to her roles for the Black Student Union and ASG, Inayah was invited to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and currently serves as the co-college project coordinator. She is also an award-winning author after winning a gold medal for her original essay on Islam in America for the NAACP Local Act-So Competition.
With a full schedule of classes and extracurricular activities, as well as the backing of scholarship support, Inayah is on her way to transferring to a university, where she plans to pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degrees before becoming a lawyer.
Andreena Lamey has always had a passion for helping people. Before attending MiraCosta in 2019, she received her license to be a Certified Phlebotomy Technician to see if she liked working in the medical field. Now, Lamey will continue her nursing education at Loma Linda University with plans to become a nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The mother of two is an outgoing student at MiraCosta. Lamey has served as the president of the Intramural Sports Club and the president of Disciples of the Word, a Christian club on campus. She is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa and the Honors Program. Outside of MiraCosta, Lamey is also involved in SOLVIT Recovery as a sponsor, helping people improve their lives. She says it feels amazing to be selected as a semi-finalist for the scholarship. “When I got that email and saw it, I sent it to everybody,” said Lamey.
John Siebelink is a first-generation college student and a military veteran majoring in English at MiraCosta. Siebelink hopes to transfer to the University of California, Los Angeles, and plans to apply to a doctoral program after completing his undergraduate studies. After getting his doctorate, he plans to stay in higher education and become a professor of English. His career goals are influenced by his job as a writing consultant at MiraCosta’s Writing Center. Siebelink says that helping students at the Writing Center is something that excites him and makes him happy.
Apart from being a writing consultant, Siebelink is very present on campus, participating in multiple organizations. Currently, he is the president of Phi Theta Kappa and is the executive vice president of the ASG. In addition, Siebelink started and is the president of the Creative Writing Club on campus. Siebelink feels honored to represent MiraCosta as a semi-finalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.
“It was a huge honor for me. Words can’t even describe it,” said Siebelink, “I feel like I’m also bringing honor to MiraCosta, which has done so much for me.”
Negar Farahbakhsh is a very well-rounded student and is majoring in biology at MiraCosta. Farahbakhsh plans to transfer to California State University, San Marcos, to complete her bachelor’s degree in biology before attending dental school. She was inspired to pursue dentistry because of her passion for socializing and working with her hands. Farahbakhsh believes that it’s the perfect combination of communicating with people and working on something like an artist.
On campus, Farahbakhsh is a writing consultant at the Writing Center and works at the Biotechnology Lab. In addition, she is the executive vice president of Phi Theta Kappa. When she found out about being a semi-finalist, Farahbakhsh recalls being excited and thankful.
“My PTK advisor was the first person who told me, and then I checked my email,” said Farahbakhsh, “it made my day!”
The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship recipients will be announced in early May. Good luck to our semi-finalists!
About MiraCosta College
The MiraCosta Community College District has served the coastal North San Diego County area for over 80 years. More than 19,000 credit students annually in over 70 disciplines enroll in associate degrees, university transfer and workforce readiness certificate programs. The college also serves over 7,000 students a wide spectrum of educational needs in the region ranging from programs for adult education, community education, basic skills, and ESL to a California Community College pilot program offering the nation’s first baccalaureate degree in biomanufacturing. As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), veteran and military supportive institution, and Achieving the Dream Leader College, MiraCosta College fosters the academic and holistic success of its diverse learners within a caring and equitable environment to strengthen the educational, economic, cultural, and social well-being of the communities it serves. MiraCosta College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).