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PTK Members in the News
Mikhail Cook
Faculty, Staff Support Helps Business Student Transfer to USC 
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
 
For Mikhail Cook, the Orange Coast College promise, “We’ll help you get there,” rings true.
 
With 15 years of business experience himself, Mikhail recognizes that many companies don’t live up to their taglines and advertising slogans. OCC is an exception.
 
This fall the OCC student will transfer to the prestigious Marshall School of Business and Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Southern California.
 
Mikhail, who lives in Costa Mesa, enrolled at OCC two years ago after pursuing a corporate career and unsuccessfully trying to find capital to finance his own technical company. Without a college education, he realized he wouldn't be able to command the salary he needed to provide for his wife and two small children, ages two and three. Going back to school “made a lot of sense,” he said.
 
When he arrived on the Coast campus, Mikhail immediately found support from faculty and staff members. “If you’re willing to go out and get the help, they’re willing to help you,” he said of OCC’s faculty and staff.
“I’ve had some great teachers and spent a lot of time with them,” Mikhail said, especially Bill McClure, Dan Kuo, Stephanie Wells and Terry Timmins. “And I love (Tom) Garrison. He’s a special teacher.”
 
He said he is also indebted to Terry Scarbrough, Honors Program coordinator, for her assistance.
Mikhail began his studies at another community college, but switched to OCC when he moved to Costa Mesa. The change was a pleasant surprise. “I got to this campus and I sort of flourished,” he said.
 
During the past two years, Mikhail served as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society that recognizes academic achievement of two-year college students. He was nominated to the Phi Theta Kappa All-California Team for outstanding academic performance and service to the college and community.
 
The student was also president of Umoja, an organization dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. In November, OCC hosted Southern California’s 2010 Umoja Conference for Community Colleges.
 
Mikhail also served for a time on ASOCC's Fiscal Affairs Council and was chairman of the OCC Pasta Drive, which gathered enough pasta to feed 35,000 people.
 
Before he decided to enroll at USC, Mikhail thoroughly researched the university’s Marshall School of Business and Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and also went on tours of the campus. He was impressed by the USC faculty, who are successful professionals. He also appreciated the atmosphere. “Everyone on that campus wears USC stuff,” he observed.
 
If he has any advice for high school seniors who are thinking about the future, Mikhail said, “It sounds like a cliché…stay in school.”
 
Questions? Email Mikhail at mailto:mikaelC@usc.edu.
 
Left to Right: Nicholas Steward, Assemblyman Jim Silva, and Mikhail Cook
 
 

 
PTK Vice President Mikhail Cook and Fellowship Hallmark Chair Nicholas Steward Selected for All-California Academic Team.
OCC STUDENTS HONORED AT PTK ALL-CALIFORNIA AWARDS LUNCHEON 
Thursday, April 07, 2011  (as printed in Coast to Coast online newsletter) 
  
Orange Coast College students Mikhail Cook and Nicholas Steward were honored at the Phi Theta Kappa All-California Team Awards Luncheon for their outstanding academic performance and service to the college and community.
 
The luncheon took place last month in Sacramento, where the students met with Assemblyman Jim Silva and Senator Tom Harman.
 
Mikhail, who lives in Costa Mesa, enrolled at OCC two years ago after pursuing a corporate career and unsuccessfully trying to find capital to finance his own technical company. Without a college education, he realized he wouldn't be able to command the salary he needed to provide for his wife and two small children, ages two and three. Going back to school “made a lot of sense,” he said.
 
Mikhail achieved a 3.84 GPA while he was also working fulltime as a consultant and participating in campus leadership activities. He is waiting to hear from the University of Southern California where he hopes to pursue a degree in business administration with an emphasis on entrepreneurship this fall. He has also applied to UC Irvine and Chapman University.
 
“I’ve had some great teachers and spent a lot of time with them,” Mikhail said, especially Bill McClure, Dan Kuo and Terry Timmins. He said he is also indebted to Terry Scarbrough, Honors Program office coordinator, for her assistance. 

Nicholas Steward, originally from Mansfield, Ohio, is a Marine Corps veteran who returned to school after serving in the military for four years, including three deployments in Iraq. He was stationed in Camp Pendleton and moved to Costa Mesa when he enrolled at OCC. With a 3.81 GPA, he plans to study physical therapy at University of Southern California or athletic training at San Diego State University.
 
“As a veteran student, transitioning back as a full-time student was a bit intimidating,” Nicholas said. “Due to the amazing Veteran Services department and staff, along with the rest of the resourceful–and patient–personnel that work in Watson Hall, I have been guided along a very exciting journey of higher education here at OCC.
Nicholas also appreciates the support he received from Veterans Services staff members, Tom Choe and Jason Sparling. He credits Midge Hill, Veterans Services certifying official, for inspiring him to “go big” and achieve his academic goals, and to faculty member Rendell Drew for his support.
 
Both Mikhail and Nicholas combined leadership activities with their academic achievement.
 
During the past two years, Mikhail has served as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society that recognizes academic achievement of two-year college students. He is also president of Umoja, an organization dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. In November, OCC was the site of Southern California’s 2010 Umoja conference for community colleges.
He also served for a time on ASOCC's Fiscal Affairs Council and was chairman of the OCC Pasta Drive, which gathered enough pasta to feed 35,000 people.
 
Nicholas was co-president of Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, where he served as chairman of the Fellowship Hallmark. He also worked for a semester in OCC’s Veterans Services Office.
 
Each two-year college in California may nominate two students per campus to the All-USA Academic Team. Students from California nominated to the national team comprise the All-California Academic Team.
 
 
 

2009-2010 PTK Treasurer Eloisa Rangel Wins CA Academic Senate Scholarship
 
OCC ESL STUDENT WINS CALIFORNIA ACADEMIC SENATE SCHOLARSHIP 
Thursday, November 04, 2010 
  
Eloisa Rangel, who enrolled in Orange Coast College as a beginning English as a Second Language student, has won the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges’ Jonnah Laroche Memorial Scholarship for continuing students.
 
Eloisa, who has a 3.78 GPA, will accept the $500 award at the ASCCC’s Fall Plenary Session next week at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim.
 
When she first stepped onto the Orange Coast College campus in 2005, Eloisa started with the most basic courses any student can take in English as a Second Language and math. She recently aced Math 157, calculus for biology, management and social science majors.
 
Shy and soft spoken, Eloisa is “a quiet leader,” according to EOPS counselor Vida Shajie. An active member of the EOPS Honors Club, where she is club treasurer, Eloisa also won the EOPS Honors Club Scholarship in 2010. Vida describes the student as “a team worker...always volunteering.”
 
A native of Mexico, the Costa Mesa resident has lived in the United States for 20 years. She became a citizen 10 years ago.
 
Eloisa was surprised to learn she won the award at last week’s meeting of the Academic Senate, which nominated her for the scholarship. “I wanted to cry,” she said, “but I couldn’t.”
 
Getting an education was “one of my dreams,” Eloisa said, but she was unable to attend college when her children were small. Now she takes classes with her 20-year-old daughter, Susan. Both mother and daughter will earn associate degrees in May. Her son, Chris, 16, attends Costa Mesa High School.
 
A victim of domestic violence, Eloisa and her children sought shelter from Human Options to escape abuse and start a new life. As a single parent, she funded her education through federal work study, grants, scholarships and CalWorks.
 
She plans to pursue a BA degree in accounting and eventually become a certified public accountant (CPA). “I like numbers,” Eloisa said, although she still struggles with English. She never hesitates to ask for help from her instructors, classmates and the Success Center. Occasionally she will tutor a classmate in math in exchange for help with her English. She also attends the Re-entry Center's ESL Conversation and Pronunciation Group, which meets twice a week with OCC student Trudi Hinkley.
 
Once Eloisa becomes a CPA, she plans to use her skills to give back to her community, especially “women like me.”
 
In addition to the EOPS Honors Club, Eloisa was a treasurer for Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, and is a lifetime member of Alpha Gamma Sigma, an honor society for California community college students. She also participated in CARE Club for students with young children.
 
The Jonnah Laroche Memorial Scholarship was established in 1994 by Roger Laroche in memory of his wife, who served as ASCCC president and dedicated her life to serving under-represented students and developing mentoring programs to help them.