April 6, 2021 - 2:23pm
Three Pearl River Community College students were recently selected as semifinalists for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This year’s PRCC semifinalists are Riley Cleveland, Quindalin Harper and Kyle Simpson.
The JKC scholarship is a highly selective scholarship for the nation’s top community college students seeking to complete their bachelor’s degrees at four-year colleges or universities. Each scholar has access to financial support, college planning support, ongoing advising and the opportunity to connect with a community of fellow scholars.
The Foundation provides up to $40,000 per year to scholarship recipients for up to three years, making it among the largest private scholarships for community college transfer students in the country.
Riley Cleveland is a native of Hattiesburg where she attended Oak Grove High School. Since joining the Wildcat Family, she has been a part of many great organizations. As of her sophomore year, she serves as the President of the William Lewis Honors College at the Forrest County Campus and the Vice President of Service for Beta Tau Gamma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. During her time at The River she has received the Vice-Presidential Scholarship, the Coca Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship, All-USA Academic Team Winner and now Jack Kent Cooke Semifinalist. Cleveland was named the Most Distinguished Chapter Officer for Beta Tau Gamma and she was also the Freshman and Sophomore Maid for the FCC. She was also voted Freshmen Class Favorite. Cleveland has been involved in the William Lewis Honors Research Symposiums where she received third place locally and second place regionally with her presentation titled “Corporal Punishment: Classroom Management or Mental Abuse?”
After graduating from Pearl River with her Associates degree this spring, she plans to transfer to Mississippi State University online to obtain her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. After earning her bachelor's degree, she hopes to get a job being a kindergarten teacher in either a public or private school system. In the future, she may continue her education by going for her Master's degree.
Quindalin Harper is from Bassfield where he attended Jefferson Davis County High School. After joining the Wildcat Family, he made a point to involve himself in many on campus organizations and activities. Harper is currently a part of the Student Government Association and the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute. He is also the Phi Theta Kappa Vice President of Planning and logistics. Harper is a Student Peer Leader for The Office of Student Success and Get2College Corp.
Harper has received an Honors Developmental Scholarship and competed in the Honors Research Symposium. After graduating from Pearl River this spring, he plans on transferring to the University of Mississippi and majoring in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. Long term, he plans to pursue his doctorate degree and endeavors to work in the field of Psychiatry.
Kyle Simpson, 30, was born in Orlando, Florida, though they have spent most of their life in Mississippi. They attended Palm Bay High School in Melbourne, Florida; however, they were withdrawn from tenth grade due to familial stressors. Kyle spent most of their 20s working full-time and independently studying the social sciences. During their time at PRCC (Spring 2018-Fall 2019), they have become a member of PRCC Forrest County Center’s William Lewis Honors College, Phi Theta Kappa chapter—Beta Tau Gamma, Mu Alpha Theta chapter, Sigma Kappa Delta chapter, as well as participated in the campus’ History and Humanities, and Travel clubs. In addition to their involvement on campus, Kyle also had the honor of representing PRCC as a member of the International Scholar Laureate Program’s Delegation on Medicine and Science to China during the summer of 2019. Kyle received their Associate of Arts degree with High Honors in December 2019 from PRCC; during their time at PRCC they won both the History and Fine Arts Student of the Year awards and earned two academic publications. Kyle plans to major in psychology upon transferring to university, where they intend to conduct research concerning poverty’s effect on the ability of individuals and cultural cohort groups to process trauma and grief productively. They plan on ultimately achieving a PhD in counseling psychology with an emphasis on grief counseling and poverty studies; their top three choices for transfer are Amherst College, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor—which they have been admitted to. Post-academia, Kyle plans to work on synthesizing emotional health initiatives with economic justice initiatives, locally, nationally, and globally.