Two Queensborough Community College Students are Selected as Gold Scholars of the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team

Two Queensborough students, Yueli Chen and Yi (Jane) Jiang, have been named Gold Scholars on Coca-Cola’s 2016 Community College Academic Team. Support for the program is provided by the American Association of Community Colleges and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Yueli and Jane were among the 50 community college students selected from 1,900 applications representing community colleges from across the U.S.

The Coca-Cola 2016 Community College Academic Team recognizes high achieving two-year college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society. Each of the 50 Gold Scholars will receive a gold medallion and a check for $1,500 at a special reception in April at the Annual Convention in National Harbor, MD.

“I am so very grateful for the guidance of my professors. They have very high standards and believe in my potential,” said Yi (Jane) Jiang.

Yueli Chen noted that, “Being recognized for my hard work is a wonderful feeling and has given me the motivation to work even harder and to appreciate even further the dedication and support of my professors.”

“Students must possess more than excellent grades to qualify for this distinguished award,” said Dr. Paris Svoronos, Professor in the Chemistry Department who added that both students started with non-Honors chemistry courses. “They must also demonstrate their persistence and dedication to being outstanding researchers, leaders and mentors. This can be evidenced by their commitment to undertake challenges such as a research project where failure serves in strengthening the individual’s character.”

“Yueli and Jane embody the best ideals of Phi Theta Kappa: leadership, fellowship, service and academic excellence. It is so wonderful to see each of them honored with the award of this important scholarship!” said Dr. Emily S. Tai, Associate Professor of History at Queensborough and longtime advisor to the College’s Lambda Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa—the community college honor society.

Yueli Chen and Yi Jiang, both Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students, were also named 2015 Phi Theta Kappa/USA Today All-New York Scholars. Members of the All-New York Academic Team are recognized for their academic achievements, leadership accomplishments and engagement in community service.

In addition, both students received summer National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF REU) awards this past spring. Yueli conducted supervised undergraduate research at Boise State University working on magneto-mechanics of magnetic shape-memory alloys. She was the only community college student selected for an NSF REU from the University’s many summer internship programs for undergraduate students. Yueli has been accepted to perform undergraduate research in the 2016 summer NSF REU program at Boston University.

Yi Jiang conducted supervised undergraduate research at the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee. Her project involved the preparation of solar cells in a laboratory setting.

Yueli and Yi Jiang have been conducting research during the academic year under the supervision of Drs. Paul Sideris and Sujun Wei respectively, both of the Department of Chemistry.

Last year, Silvia Salamone, who graduated in May 2015 with an Associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, was named as the first ever Queensborough Gold Scholar on Coca-Cola’s 2015 Community College Academic Team as well as the 2015 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) New York Team. Silvia was also one of three 2015 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholars who each received $40,000 per year to complete their baccalaureate degrees. They are three of 90 Scholars selected from 2,061 applications representing 540 community colleges from across the U.S. Silvia is currently attending Stony Brook University.