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Two JCC Students Named to the Phi Theta Kappa 2016 All-New York Academic Team

Jefferson Community College (JCC) is pleased to announce that Mark A. Patrick, Watertown, and Kouma S. Semenya, Watertown, have been named to the All-New York Academic Team for Phi Theta Kappa, the international 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 a history of scholarly achievement. In addition to academic achievement, candidates are also evaluated on their leadership and community service involvement.  Both students will be recognized for their achievements at Jefferson’s Commencement Ceremony on May 20, 2016.

Mr. Patrick and Mr. Semenya were among 77 students from across all SUNY (State University of New York) and CUNY (City University of New York) community college campuses honored March 6 at the annual All-New York Phi Theta Kappa Awards Ceremony held at the New York State Museum in Albany.  

The first in his family to attend college, Mark Patrick came to Jefferson with high hopes for his education. Despite his initial reservations about his ability to perform well at the college level, Mark now considers his success as a student to be among his greatest endeavors. Mark’s confidence in his academic ability grew, and continued to grow, as he began to see his hard work pay off. With a perfect 4.0 grade point average, Mark earned President’s List honors every semester at JCC and is a member of Jefferson’s Tau Xi Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society. Mark also received the National Engaged Leader Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success in May of 2015 and was awarded the Bertha Hess Harmon Memorial Scholarship in fall 2015. He served as treasurer of both the Business/ Hospitality and Tourism Club and for Jefferson’s chapter of PTK during his time as a student. Outside the classroom, Mark volunteered at events for the American Heart Association and JCC’s Entrepreneurship Day and gained applied learning experience through JCC’s Center for Community Studies (CCS) alongside Joel LaLone, research coordinator for the CCS and professor of math at JCC. Mark graduated in the fall of 2015 with an associate in science (A.S.) in business administration and is in the process of completing his second degree, an associate in arts (A.A) in childhood education. Mark was recently named a 2016 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Bronze Scholar and was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society administers the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Program and recognizes Coca-Cola Community College scholars during All-State Community College Academic Team Recognition ceremonies held in 38 states.

Originally from Lomé, the capital of Togo, Africa, Kouma Semenya, came to Jefferson with specific education goals in mind. An active duty soldier in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Drum, Kouma began taking classes on Fort Drum and wouldn’t let deployment deter him from his academics. In order to keep his degree plans on course, he took online classes from Jefferson and another institution while deployed. Despite being stationed in a war zone, Kouma still earned all A grades. Outside of his outstanding academics, Kouma has proven to be a dedicated soldier, father, and community member. For his service in Afghanistan, he was awarded an Army Commendation, a NATO service medal and an Overseas Service Medal. Graduating with high honors from Jefferson in December 2015 with his associate in science (A.S.) degree in individual studies was a step towards Kouma’s ultimate goal of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering when his service in the Army comes to an end

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “Each year, Phi Theta Kappa selects community college students from throughout New York State and the nation who have improved their local community in some way. In doing so, PTK also recognizes the immense value of a community college education and the profound impact that our students have on their campuses, in their communities, and on the economy. Congratulations to all of the students honored today in recognition of their outstanding leadership and achievement.”

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.

Mark PatrickMark Patrick










Caption:  In March, Jefferson Community College student Mark A. Patrick, Watertown, was named to the All-New York Academic Team for Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges. Mark was also a designated 2016 Coca-Cola Community College Bronze Scholar and was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. 


Kouma S.Kouma S.










Caption:  In March, Jefferson Community College student Kouma S. Semenya, Watertown, was named to the All-New York Academic Team for Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges.