SIPI student named New Century Scholar

Aug 11th, 2013 | By | Category: 25-1: Art & Symbolism, Tribal College News
By Devin H. Bates

Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Kevin K. Washburn, has announced that Wendi Cole, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in South Dakota and student at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI, Albuquerque, NM), has been named a 2013 New Century Scholar and has been selected for the All-USA Community College Academic Team. “I want to congratulate Wendi Cole on her impressive accomplishment and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute for having a student receive such prestigious honors,” Washburn said. “I am proud to see our students making such an academic impact.”


ELITE SCHOLAR. Wendi Cole of SIPI was named a 2013 New Century Scholar, an honor she shares with just 50 other college students from across the United States and Canada.

The New Century Scholars Program is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa, and the American Association of Community Colleges. The 50 winners of the 2013 New Century Scholars competition include students from schools in the United States, Canada, and the Federated States of Micronesia. The students received a total of $100,000 in scholarships. New Century Scholars are the highest-scoring students in each state, plus one student from Canada and one additional student chosen from among one of the remaining seven sovereign nations where Phi Theta Kappa is represented.

Cole was among those selected out of more than 1,800 applicants from 800 community colleges nationwide. Nominees were judged on grades, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. She was the top scorer and only recipient from New Mexico. Cole was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and a special medallion.

Cole also was one of 20 students named to the All-USA Community College Academic Team. The team is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group and presented by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa. The New Century Scholars program and the All- USA Community College Academic Team share a common application and together recognize outstanding community college students.

Cole is in her second year at SIPI, pursuing a double-major in pre-engineering and computer-aided drafting. She has served as president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society’s SIPI chapter and has worked on community education projects involving renewable energy. She also serves as a student representative for the SIPI Pre-Engineering Advisory Committee, as a peer mentor for engineering majors, and as a tutor in math and science.

In addition to her college career, Cole is also the mother of a child with autism, which inspired her to study science and technology. They have worked together in doing their own research on autism.

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