| Victoria Soewarna, Elyria|
| Julie O'Brien, Columbia Station|
Posted: April 23, 2013
LORAIN COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT NAMED ONE OF TOP 20 STUDENTS IN NATION IN ALL-USA COMPETITION; ALSO NAMED AS ONE OF TWO ALL-OHIO WINNERS FROM LCCC
Lorain County Community College student Victoria Soewarna, of Elyria, was one of only 20 students in the nation to earn placement on the esteemed All-USA Academic Team. She was recognized today during a ceremony in San Francisco, California.
“It is a remarkable honor for one of our own Lorain County Community College student to win such a prestigious award,” LCCC President Roy A. Church said.
The All-USA Community College Academic Team is presented by USA TODAY and Phi Theta Kappa and sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group. Twenty students are selected to the national team, each receiving a $2,500 scholarship and medallion. These students were featured today’s USA TODAY newspaper and presented their awards at the Awards of Excellence Brunch held during the Annual Convention of the American Association of Community Colleges Convention (AACC) today in San Francisco, California.
Soewarna also earned honors at the state level. Soewarna and Julie O’Brien, of Columbia Station, earned All-Ohio Academic Team honors and will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 25 at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium in Columbus.
Soewarna was named to the All-Ohio Academic Team First Team. O’Brien was named to the All-Ohio Academic Team Third Team. O’Brien and Soewarna will each receive a scholarship and a medal for their placement at the state level.
“Victoria and Julie are wonderful representatives of the students at Lorain County Community College,” said LCCC President Dr. Roy A. Church. “They are motivated individuals who are driven to better themselves and their community.”
Soewarna is researching a cure for HIV/AIDS and was a presenter at a national science conference. She is 17 and a student at Lorain County Early College High School, located on the campus of Lorain County Community College. The program allows students to simulatneously earn a high school diploma and associate’s degree.
“Through my work with the research group, I discovered my love of science; once I stepped into the laboratory I never wanted to leave,” Soewarna said. “At LCCC, I have learned about myself and I have gained the skills to help me achieve my goals.”
Soewarna is the Principal Investigator for the LCCC HIV/AIDS research group that meets several times a week to research a cure for HIV/AIDS using gene mutation therapy. In addition to the research group, Soewarna stays active in LCCC organizations. She is a member of the Early College High School Leadership Club, a member of the LCCC PRIDE Club a teaching assistant for Chemistry and is a math and science tutor. Off campus, she volunteers for the Salvation Army and completed an internship at Mercy Hospital.
Soewarna has a 3.9 GPA and will graduate with her high school diploma and an associate of arts degree in May. She will attend The Ohio State University in the fall to study biology.
“With the solid foundation I have built at LCCC, I look forward to moving on to the next phase in my education,” Soewarna said.
O’Brien is deeply involved in campus life and her community. On campus, she is the vice-president of Phi Theta Kappa honor society. In her role, she planned and hosted the Ohio Regional Phi Theta Kappa Honors in Action Convention at LCCC in October 2012. She is also in charge of PTK’s induction ceremonies in the spring and fall.
O’Brien has been a Lorain County 4-H advisor for more than 15 years. She mentors 4-H participants and organizes events, fundraisers and activities for the group. She also volunteers at her church, Lifespring Community Church, operating the church’s café before and after each service.
She also works full-time as an office manager at a local manufacturing company. LCCC is family tradition in her home, as one daughter is a current student and her other daughter is an LCCC graduate.
O’Brien has a 3.79 GPA and is on track to earn an Associate of Business degree in 2014. She plans to continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree through LCCC’s University Partnership.
Created in 1997, the All-Ohio Academic Team provides recognition to outstanding students in Ohio’s 23 public two-year colleges. The program is sponsored by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC); Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society; Honda of America Mfg., Inc.; KnowledgeWorks Foundation; and the Robert and Lynne Haehnlen Sprague Scholarship Fund in honor of Joshua Haehnlen Sprague and Sean Haehnlen Sprague.
To be eligible, students must be nominated by their college president to the All-USA Academic Team. Nominees have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5. Winners are selected based on leadership qualities, community service and academic performance.