JCC Students Named to PTK All-New York Academic Team

Published May 23, 2014.  Jefferson Community College (JCC) is pleased to announce that Laura D. DeNardo, Watertown, and Brenda K. Yerdon, Lacona, have been named to the All-New York Academic Team for Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community colleges.  To be chosen for the All-New York Academic Team, students must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 and have a history of scholarly achievement. In addition to academic achievement, recipients of the award are also evaluated on their leadership and community service involvement.  Both students were recognized for their achievements at Jefferson’s commencement ceremony held on May 16, 2014.

After graduat2014 PTK All-New York Team Laura DeNardo2014 PTK All-New York Team Laura DeNardoing from Watertown High School in 2011, Laura DeNardo enrolled at Jefferson to pursue her nursing degree.  She was awarded the Jefferson Can Community Scholars scholarship, which offers free first-year tuition to students who rank in the top 15% of their graduating high school class. Laura graduated from Jefferson on May 16 with her associate in applied science degree in nursing.  In addition to working in the healthcare field, Laura plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree in nursing.  During her time at Jefferson, Laura clearly established herself as a leader in the classroom as well as with many co-curricular activities. 

With her 3.82 GPA, Laura earned President’s or Dean’s List honors every semester and is a member of Jefferson’s Tau Xi Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society.  In addition to being a Jefferson-Can Community Scholar, Laura also received both the Dr. and Mrs. Earle J. Kelsey Scholarship and Lyle and Ethel Sheldon Memorial Scholarship through the JCC Foundation. Laura has served both as president and vice president for the Student Nurses Association (SNA) in which she organized the freshman class participation in club activities and led many fundraisers to help with local charities.  She participated in walks to raise awareness of suicide prevention, breast cancer and heart health. Laura organized a mentoring program between the senior and freshman classes with the goal to increase retention by fostering communication and cohesiveness among nursing students. Currently, Laura is working with the Medical Reserve Corporation to register SNA members as volunteers.  In the community, Laura is a fourth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has been an instructor with Wiest’s Tae Kwon Do Training Center in Watertown.

Brenda Yerdon graduated from Jefferson in May with both an associate in applied science degree in chemical de2014 PTK All-New York Brenda Yerdon2014 PTK All-New York Brenda Yerdonpendency and an associate in science degree in human services.  With her 3.98 grade point average, Brenda has earned President’s List honors at Jefferson Community College every semester and, in addition to being a member of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society, Brenda served as the 2013-2014 president of Jefferson’s Tau Xi Chapter of PTK as well as a member of the Human Services Club.  She received many scholarships through the JCC Foundation including the Joseph P. Landauer Scholarship, Marilyn J. Bowie Memorial Scholarship, Jefferson County Home Bureaus Scholarship, Jefferson Rehabilitation Center Board of Directors Scholarship, JRC Ronald L. Kines Memorial Scholarship and the Jonathan Hayden Smith Memorial Scholarship.  

Brenda’s passion for helping others shines through both on campus and in the community. While at Jefferson, Brenda was a member of the human services club, served as a curriculum assistant for the human services department, and was employed as a work study student for the Alumni Development Office.  She volunteers at the Victims Assistance Center in Watertown, is a member of the Sandy Creek Central School District Board of Education, and generously volunteers her time and resources to help needy families in her local community. In 2013, Brenda was named Outstanding Human Services Student at Jefferson.

Ms. DeNardo and Ms. Yerdon were among 68 students from across all SUNY (State University of New York) and CUNY (City University of New York) community college campuses honored April 2 at the annual All-New York Phi Theta Kappa Awards Ceremony at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.  

“Students recognized by Phi Theta Kappa truly embody the power of SUNY,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “As proven leaders and role models, scholar athletes, creative artists, and civic volunteers, each student is recognized not just for academic achievement, but also for the profound impact they have on college campuses and local communities across New York State.”

 The Phi Theta Kappa ceremony is jointly sponsored by the New York Community College Trustees, New York Community College Association of Presidents and the Faculty Council of Community Colleges.