Excellence Recognized: PRCC Student Allison Gobuzzi Named Semifinalist for Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship

April 4, 2024

Semifinalists for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship have been announced, and Pearl River Community College student Allison Gobuzzi is on the list. 

“On behalf of the Iota Mu advisors, we congratulate Allison on being selected as a Jack Kent Cooke semifinalist,” said Director of Advisement and PTK Advisor Dr. Whitney Chambers. “Allison was committed to strengthening her leadership skills over the past year and worked diligently on all her scholarship applications last fall.  

“She is a true testament to her hard work paying off and deserves the many recognitions she has received this semester. We know that Allison has a bright future ahead of her.” 

Gobuzzi graduated a year early with high honors from Pearl River Central High School in Carriere. She was a member of the Beta Club, National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and Student Council.  

At PRCC, she serves as President of the Dr. Williams Honors Institute and Iota Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Gobuzzi was named to the Phi Theta Kappa All-Mississippi Academic Team for 2023-24. 

“PRCC is such a welcoming and encouraging environment that allows the students to believe in themselves,” said Gobuzzi. “PRCC has built a wonderful foundation for my academic journey, and I am excited to see where my dreams and ambitions take me. 

“The faculty are always willing to go above and beyond to help all students succeed. Dr. Terri Ruckel was willing to help me vigorously throughout this process, and her support has led me to the semifinal round.” 

Dr. Terri Ruckel is currently an Online Instructor of English and PTK Advisor for Beta Tau Gamma Chapter at Forrest County Campus. She also serves as Associate Regional Coordinator of MS/LA Region for PTK. Since 2013, she has assisted PRCC students with their applications for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, which can take up to eight weeks to complete. 

“My teacherly mission for the past twenty years has been encouraging students to dream – to believe in future possibilities, but the reality of helping them earn scholarships that make higher education a certainty is the most rewarding work I have ever done,” said Ruckel. 

Gobuzzi is majoring in criminal justice and plans to transfer to the University of Mississippi for legal studies. She aspires to attend law school to continue her journey of becoming a criminal defense attorney. 

“I have always been interested in the criminal justice system, so I always knew that working in this field was a dream of mine,” said Gobuzzi. “I found my passion for becoming a criminal defense attorney after taking my first criminal justice course here at Pearl River Community College. Specifically, my passion and interest are in wrongful convictions. I believe that with my enthusiasm and fascination with law, I can fight against wrongful convictions and positively change people’s lives for the better.”   

Gobuzzi is extremely grateful for being named a JKC Scholarship Semi-Finalist.  

“Thousands of students from all over the U.S. apply for this scholarship,” said Gobuzzi. “To be chosen as a semifinalist is an honor, and I am proud to represent PRCC.”   

This highly competitive scholarship is awarded to the nation’s top community college students seeking to complete their bachelor’s degrees at four-year colleges or universities. Applicants must provide evidence of exceptional academic achievement, completion of challenging coursework, plus intellectual curiosity, creativity, and passion for learning. Students must also demonstrate leadership potential and a commitment to community service, all while providing details about overcoming challenges and demonstrating resilience. 

The award covers a significant portion of their educational expenses, including tuition, living expenses, books, and required fees. Awardees can receive up to $55,000 per year for two to three years at a four-year accredited undergraduate school for any area of study. A financial need requirement must be met to be considered for the scholarship. 

This year, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation received more than 1,600 applications for the scholarship and named 459 as semifinalists. Finalists for the scholarship will be announced in May. 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), Facebook (@PRCCMKTG), and TikTok (@prcc_wildcats).

Article by Laura O’Neill. Photography by River Roderick.

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