One College, One Book scholarship winners announced

Congratulations to Maryashley Schrock and Aylin Mendez for winning $550 textbook scholarships as part of the One College, One Book program at Lee College! After reading the featured book, American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures, edited by America Ferrera, students had the opportunity to participate in an essay competition and visual arts competition for the chance to win two scholarships provided by the Lee College Foundation.

Maryashley Schrock’s painting entitled, “Strengths in Silence,” was the winning entry in the visual arts category. As someone who exper


ienced partial hearing loss at a young age, Maryashley says the she wanted to use her art to communicate the love and respect she has for the deaf culture.

“It’s hard for the hearing world to understand how the deaf community works,” she said. “When I was growing up, I had a hearing loss issue, and that caused me to have a speech impediment that I still have to this day. I didn’t learn American Sign Language until high school, but I did it for four years, and the impact it had on me was amazing. Even now in college I still struggle, but I am going to try my hardest to go further than I could have ever expected.”

After Lee College, Maryashley plans to attend the University of Houston – Clear Lake and become a secondary science teacher.

Aylin Mendez placed first in the essay category for her work entitled, “In Between Two Worlds.” Through her writing, Aylin wants people to know that living between cultures is not as bad as it may seem.

“We always have to look at the positive outcome; we were blessed to live and share both culturales.” said Aylin. “Never try to be someone else just to be accepted by society. Just be yourself and know that if someone loves you, they’ll love you just the way you are.”

Aylin is working toward an associate’s degree in general studies, then she plans to transfer to the University of Houston to earn a bachelor’s degree, and eventually apply to law school to become an immigration lawyer.

“This scholarship has motivated me to keep writing about my personal experiences, and I will make sure to use it in a positive way,” Aylin said.

“I would like to dedicate this award to my mom for being my biggest supporter and always motivating me to do my best. Even though she is not physically here with me I know she is cheering and supporting me from miles away.”


Sponsored by Title V and the Lee College Library, One College, One Book was designed to: inspire a sense of belonging on campus through a shared reading experience; encourage a culture of reading on campus; and create a space to critically think about our own experiences in addition to the experiences of others.

The One Book experience reached beyond Lee College’s main campus last semester when Donna Zuniga, Dean of the Lee College Huntsville Center, purchased 100 copies of American Like Me to enable the peer tutors and a small group of incarcerated students at the Huntsville Center could participate in the book discussion at their campus. Two students entered the essay contest, and one received honorable mention.

In American Like Me, Ferrera invites 31 of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit

Honors students named Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship semifinalists

Lee College has the distinction of having two of its honors students selected as semifinalists for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. Cilah Ndofor from Cameroon, West Africa and Emily Blumentritt from Baytown, Texas are both currently enrolled in Lee College’s Honors Program. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has selected 534 high-achieving community college students from across the U.S. as semifinalists to compete for its Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, from a pool of nearly 2,500 applicants. This highly competitive scholarship will offer selected finalists as much as $40,000 per year for up to three years to complete their bachelor’s degrees at selective four-year colleges and universities.

Cilah Ndofor,  a General Studies student tracked to transfer to a four-year institution as a pre-medicine major has her sights set on eventually becoming a neurosurgeon.

“Words can’t express how overjoyed I was when I received the email stating I had been selected as a semifinalist.” Says Ndofor.  “I really wasn’t confident about myself because I know this scholarship selection is highly competitive but I just kept my fingers crossed and I’m still keeping them crossed!”

Noting what a boost it was to her confidence, Ndofor says of the nomination, “I now believe I can succeed in anything I do in life.”

She continues by saying that she would,  “characterize the significance of being selected a semifinalist as beneficial. Mentioning in my transfer applications that I am a semifinalist for this prestigious scholarship will definitely improve my chances of getting accepted and getting scholarships as well. I am very honored for making it this far in the competition.”

Ndofor is currently pursuing applications to Harvard, the University of Texas at Austin, Rice University and the University of Houston – Main Campus. She plans on pursuing a major in Biology with a minor in Mathematics prior to applying to medical school.

Emily Blumentritt, from Baytown, Texas is a General Studies major with plans to transfer into a Wildlife Biology or related program.

“I’m very passionate about nature, wildlife, and giving back to my community, so I hope to pursue a career in which I can contribute to scientific knowledge, help preserve nature and wildlife for future generations, and connect others to the natural world in a way that brings value and meaning to their lives. I’m considering applying to various universities, including Cornell, Texas A&M, and UCLA.”

As with Ndofor, Emily was surprised and excited to be chosen as a semifinalist.

“Being considered for this prestigious scholarship has really opened things up for me. As a Jack Kent Cooke semifinalist, I’ve already been invited to apply at an ivy league school, something I had never truly thought of as a possibility before. Being selected as a semifinalist is a recognition of the hard work and talent that a student displays in their community college years. It’s truly an honor to be selected.”

The honors program at Lee College has cultivated a national reputation for the rigor of its coursework and the high caliber student it produces. It’s impact on the lives of its honors students is evident.

“I sent in my application expecting to be disappointed,” says Blumentritt. “I am incredibly grateful to the wonderful professors here at Lee who helped me apply for the scholarship and who have supported me and my work throughout my time here.”

Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars will be selected in April, based on their academic performance, leadership, perseverance, and service to others. “Community colleges hold many of the nation’s most gifted students,” said Harold O. Levy, Executive Director of the Cooke Foundation. “Yet too often these students are denied the opportunity to fulfill their potential due to lack of adequate resources and support. Our scholarships help to remove these barriers so that talented students with financial need have a chance to complete their college education and pursue their goals and dreams.”

Cooke Scholarships fund the costs of attending college not covered by other financial aid, plus intensive academic advising, stipends for internships, study abroad opportunities, and the ability to network with other Cooke Scholars and alumni. After earning a bachelor’s degree, these Cooke Scholars will also be eligible to apply for a scholarship for graduate school worth up to a total of $75,000.

The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the foundation has awarded $175 million in scholarships to more than 2,300 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The foundation has also provided over $97 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.

Baytown City Councilman to award $500 scholarship at Lee College basketball game

Any LC student at Dec. 9 game could win scholarship from Charles Johnson of District No. 3

Baytown City Councilman Charles Johnson at Lee College
Baytown City Councilman Charles Johnson of District 3 is donating $500 to help a Lee College student fund his or her education. Johnson will award the scholarship at the Dec. 9 basketball home game as part of a raffle and half-court shooting challenge with a special twist.

BAYTOWN, TX — One Lee College student who attends the Runnin’ Rebel home basketball game against Lone Star College — Tomball on Saturday, Dec. 9, will walk away from the Sports Arena with a $500 scholarship, courtesy of Baytown City Councilman Charles Johnson.

Johnson, a Lee College alumnus who campaigned for the District 3 council seat on the slogan “We Are ‘IT’: Improving Together,” is donating the scholarship money in hopes of giving a student the boost needed to fund his or her education and improve the future both for the recipient and his or her family.

“I really enjoyed my time at Lee College, learned so much and made new connections. Now I have the opportunity to pay it forward,” said Johnson, who graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling and later returned to earn a credential in Child Development. His mother, Charlene Jones, is a long-time instructor of cosmetology.

To be eligible for the scholarship, Lee College students must show their ID at the game and receive a raffle ticket. The student whose ticket number is called at halftime will have three chances to make a shot with the ball starting at the half-court line. No special basketball skills will be necessary, however, because of a surprise twist that Johnson will reveal during the scholarship presentation.

The winning student can be enrolled in any Lee College degree or certificate program, and use the scholarship to pay for any educational needs — whether tuition, textbooks, classroom or laboratory supplies or something else entirely. Johnson said he did not place any stipulations on how the money should be spent, because he understands that unexpected situations can arise.

“This scholarship may inspire a part-time student to take a few more hours, or help someone have the opportunity to enjoy college as much as I did,” Johnson said. “Lee College helps Baytown residents prepare for, plan and even re-imagine their futures — and no matter what age you are, if you have an education, you have a future.”

The Runnin’ Rebels will tip off against Lone Star College – Tomball at 6 p.m.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit

Lee College Foundation prepares to award fall 2017 scholarships, host annual gala

Foundation relies on individual & corporate donors to support hundreds of worthy students  

Lee College Foundation scholarship recipient Thomas Sweeney
Lee College Foundation scholarship recipient Thomas Sweeney speaks at the annual Foundation Scholarship Breakfast in April about the scholarship awards that enabled him to pursue higher education and enjoy an enriching and rewarding campus experience. All students at Lee College are eligible for foundation scholarships, which are funded through the generosity of private and corporate donors throughout the community.

BAYTOWN, TX — The fall 2017 semester begins next month and the Lee College Foundation is preparing to award scholarships to hundreds of deserving students both new to campus and returning to continue their journey to a degree or certificate.

Many scholarship recipients would be unable to afford tuition, textbooks and other essentials without the generosity of private and corporate donors throughout the community who give to the foundation. Nearly two dozen of the new scholarships to be awarded for 2017 were sponsored by individuals – families, alumni, former employees and friends of the college among them – who believe in the importance of higher education and want to support students in reaching their dreams.

“Individuals and businesses in this community have made life-altering changes for so many of our students by providing them with financial support,” said Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development. “Many students just don’t have the means to pay for college, or they work and go to school simultaneously. For their community college, these advocates for education have enabled students who have the ability and the desire to achieve a degree and create a better life for themselves and for their families. I am so grateful to each of them for their continued support.”

All Lee College students are eligible to receive scholarships, regardless of their program of study or enrollment status. The Foundation Board of Directors awarded more than $470,000 in the 2016-17 academic year to full-time and part-time students, high school students earning college credit in dual-enrollment classes, offenders in the Lee College Huntsville Center correctional education program, and students taking non-credit classes through the Center for Workforce and Community Development. In addition, the foundation maintains a Student Success Fund to help students facing extraordinary circumstances pay for college-related expenses.

Though a straight-A student throughout his career at Dayton High School, Thomas Sweeney arrived at the crossroads between high school and college unsure of which way to go. He knew he could succeed academically, but difficult family circumstances meant he was limited financially. Lee College was his choice for its affordability compared to other options, and he was ultimately awarded the foundation’s Rockwell Fund and Sam Bramlett Memorial scholarships.

“I was raised in a household where I didn’t really have a whole lot of opportunities,” said Sweeney, who shared his story in April at the annual Foundation Scholarship Breakfast, just one semester away from graduation. “My dad worked a job that he didn’t particularly care for and he wasn’t in the best of health, but he persevered because he saw the value of education. That’s why he pushed my sister and I really hard in school to be successful.”

After taking several Lee College Honors Program courses and becoming involved in student organizations on campus, Sweeney was selected to present original research at two academic conferences and said he gained a greater appreciation for thinking critically about the world around him. His “enriching and self-fulfilling experience” in college would likely have been unattainable without foundation support.

“I can honestly say these generous scholarships took quite the weight off my shoulders,” Sweeney said. “It was a very rewarding experience to have my hard work receive recognition so I could continue my educational career with the peace of mind of having my financial needs taken care of. The foundation donors and board have my sincerest and deepest appreciation and respect for their generosity in allowing students like myself, and many other diverse students, the ability to achieve our goals and ambitions.”

Planning is now underway for the 32nd annual Lee College Foundation Gala, which benefits student scholarships and other forms of support. For more information about the gala or giving to the foundation, contact Warford at 281.425.6361 or

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit