Three PRCC students secure Coca-Cola scholarships

September 22, 2022
Article by Chuck Abadie and Laura O’Neill

Three Pearl River Community College students have received 2022 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarships.

Maroon rectangle with three photos.
Text at top reads: 3 PRCC Students awarded PTK Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship.
Far left photo female with short brown hair wearing a red top. Text under says Kathryn Scharwath; Beta Tau Gamma Chapter, Forrest County Campus.
Photo in middle of male wearing a purple top. Text under says Tobias Adams, Beta Tau Gamma Chapter, Forrest County Campus.
Photo at the right of young woman wearing a black top with white polka dots. Text under says Kellie Watts, Iota Mu Chapter, Poplarville Campus.

The scholarships, worth $1,000 each, go to Kellie Watts of Picayune and Tobias Adams and Kathryn Scharwath, both of Hattiesburg.

The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship program helps new Phi Theta Kappa members defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs.

Scholars are encouraged to assume leadership roles by participating in Society programs and are selected based on scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership potential. More than 1,300 applications were received.

“These students are among the 200 chosen to receive this honor,” said Dr. Terri Ruckel, PRCC Associate Regional Coordinator for the MS/LA Region of Phi Theta Kappa. “These scholarships are based on their outstanding academic achievements and leadership potential. Their success underscores Pearl River’s continued recognition as a premier college on a national level.” 

Students are provided the opportunity to engage in Leadership, Scholarship, Fellowship, and Service as active members of their Phi Theta Kappa chapter. “We are thrilled for these students,” said Kira Arthurs, one of the advisors for the Iota Mu chapter covering Hancock and Poplarville Campuses. “Students not only learn how to become better leaders by completing chapter projects that allow them to practice the leadership skills they are learning.”

All three students are members of Phi Theta Kappa and the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute.

Watts is a freshman who graduated from Picayune High School in 2021 and plans to graduate from PRCC in May 2023. She is the current President of the Phi Theta Kappa Iota Mu Chapter. She received a NASA STEM Scholarship in Spring 2022, and is a PTK MS/LA Regional Officer as the CTE Representative. 

She plans to attend Mississippi State in Gautier as part of their “Engineering On the Coast” program to major in electrical engineering. 

“Being awarded this scholarship shows me my dedication and motivation for these things, as well as my education, are paying off, and that I can do anything I set my mind to,” said Watts. “I have gained experience in leadership while developing professionally and emotionally from the opportunities and programs PTK offers.”

Scharwath, 17, is a Middle College student from Oak Grove High School. She will graduate from PRCC and Oak Grove High in May 2023. She plans to attend Ole Miss and study History.

“It is very reassuring to know for sure that I am capable of winning a scholarship and this will definitely encourage me to apply for more,” said Scharwath.

“I appreciate how the teachers have high expectations but are also understanding if anything goes amiss. In fact, being treated as an actual student instead of a child is one of the reasons I am so glad that I enrolled in the Middle College program.”

Scharwath is an officer in Beta Tau Gamma, the PTK chapter in Hattiesburg. 

Adams, 19, is a sophomore and also an officer in Beta Tau Gamma. He is an Oak Grove High graduate and majoring in Biomedical Engineering. He plans to attend Mississippi State University and wants to attend medical school.

“It is mind-blowing to receive this Coca-Cola scholarship,” he said. “I did not think I would have been chosen but it feels great.”

Adams is also a member of Mu Alpha Theta, Sigma Kappa Delta and the Science Club.

“What excites me about attending PRCC is the sense of community and familiarity nearly everywhere on campus,” he said.

Said Dr. Ruckel, “Look at any of the national scholarship foundations that recognize college students in the country, and you will find Pearl River Community College students named as winners. I say this repeatedly – Wildcats receiving this kind of national recognition serves as indisputable evidence that PRCC produces the best students in the nation.”

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

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