Three Edmonds CC students are semifinalists for prestigious national scholarship


(from left to right) Edmonds CC students Naol Debele, Jessica Howard, and Tina Rajabi.

Three Edmonds Community College students have been named as semifinalists for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke (JKC) scholarship, the nation’s largest transfer scholarship program.

Edmonds CC students Naol Debele, Jessica Howard, and Tina Rajabi were selected from a pool of nearly 2,500 applicants. They are among 534 high-achieving U.S. community college students who will compete for the JKC Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The winners will be announced in April.

“Community colleges hold many of the nation’s most gifted students,” said Harold O. Levy, executive director of the Cooke Foundation. “Yet too often these students are denied the opportunity to fulfill their potential due to lack of adequate resources and support.”

The highly competitive scholarship will offer selected finalists as much as $40,000 per year for up to three years to complete their bachelor’s degrees at selective four-year colleges and universities.

“Our scholarships help to remove barriers so that talented students with financial need have a chance to complete their college education and pursue their goals and dreams,” Levy said. 

Cooke Scholarships fund the costs of attending college not covered by other financial aid, plus intensive academic advising, stipends for internships, study abroad opportunities, and the ability to network with other Cooke Scholars and alumni.

To learn more about the JKC Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship and other Cooke Scholarship programs, visit

About our scholars:

Naol Debele is Edmonds CC’s fifth student trustee to the college’s Board of Trustees. He is pursuing an Associate in Arts transfer degree with an interest in physics. He would like to transfer to the University of Washington to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physics.

Outside of Edmonds CC, Debele is studying for his Private Pilot License at Snohomish Flying Services and is a member of Black Pilots of America.

Jessica Howard is the president of Edmonds CC’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and a writing tutor in the college’s Learning Support Center. She is pursuing an Associate in Arts transfer degree with a focus on cognitive linguistics and political science.

Howard is fascinated by language and understanding the effects of rhetoric in communication. She presented her findings on “Political Rhetoric Involving Climate Change” at the college’s 2017 Showcase of Student Learning. Howard plans to transfer to the University of Washington to earn a bachelor’s degree and has her eye on Ivy League universities for a master’s.

Tina Rajabi is a member of the Edmonds CC Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program and the Relationships in Science Education (RiSE) program. She is pursuing an Associate in Science transfer degree with a focus in mathematics.

In 2017, Rajabi was chosen as a Seattle University Mathematics Early Research (SUMmER) program participant. Throughout the eight-week program, participants live on the SU campus and work together on an assigned mathematics research topic. Rajabi is an aspiring math teacher.


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