Tessa Folks Awarded a Comprehensive Scholarship

Tessa Folks Awarded a Comprehensive Scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

tessa1.jpgLansdowne, VA (May 9, 2024) — The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has selected Tessa Folks as one of the 60 high-achieving community college students to receive the prestigious Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This highly competitive award allows students to complete their undergraduate degrees at four-year institutions with minimal financial burden.  

According to Community College Research Center research, transfer pathways from community colleges are a significant contributor to enrollment and diversity at four-year institutions. However, a lack of scholarship opportunities for transfer students, as well as other obstacles like losing credits during the transfer process, continue to keep bachelor’s degree completion rates low. 

“Community college students remain far too underrepresented at our nation’s top institutions, despite clear research demonstrating their success once they arrive. Our scholarship is one way we aim to ensure that high-achieving students have the opportunity to complete their degree where they want, regardless of their financial background,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Cooke Foundation. 

SENMC President, Dr. Kevin Beardmore stated, “Tessa is a consummate student leader and an exemplary graduate.  She earned this.  I am so proud to see her recognized and rewarded for all she has accomplished and all she will do.” 

One objective of the scholarship is to give Scholars the opportunity to graduate with as little debt as possible. The award, which is last dollar funding after all other institutional aid, can provide as much as $55,000 a year.  In addition to the financial support, Cooke Transfer Scholars receive comprehensive educational advising - guidance that is crucial for navigating their transition to four-year colleges and planning their career paths. Cooke Scholars also benefit from access to internship opportunities, study abroad and graduate school funding, as well as a dynamic network of over 3,000 Cooke Scholars and Alumni.  

Dr. Raven Anderson, PTK Alpha Rho Xi Chapter Advisor said, “I'm bursting with pride for Tessa. This award is truly deserved. Tessa epitomizes the qualities sought after in a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar. Her academic excellence, community engagement, unwavering determination, and natural leadership shine brightly. She's a prime illustration of how diligence and commitment can propel a student forward at Southeast New Mexico College. I applaud her for every milestone she's reached this year and eagerly anticipate her future accomplishments!”  

"Tessa is a remarkable student in the classroom, not to mention active in just about every student organization and a constant fixture at practically all campus events. She earned every bit of this award. I am excited to learn about, and join in celebrating, her future accomplishments.",  said Dr. David McIntosh, Assistant Professor of History and Anthropology 

This year’s application saw nearly 1,700 applications from over 380 community colleges. Applicants were evaluated on their academic prowess, financial need, and leadership qualities. A complete list of the 2024 Cooke Transfer Scholars and their respective community colleges is available here. 


The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded $282 million in scholarships to more than 3,300 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $133 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. www.jkcf.org

Media Contact:  
Julia Florence  

SENMC Media Contact: 
Sky Soto 

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