TCC student makes nat'l academic team

USA Today announced this week that Tacoma Community College student Melanie Smith was named to the prestigious, national All-USA Academic Second Team for community and junior colleges. Smith is the second TCC student to be named to an All-USA Academic Team.

The All-USA Academic Teams are composed of the top 60 community and junior college students in the nation who are honored for their exceptional academic and leadership achievements. The teams are ranked first, second and third according to academic standing and are composed of 20 members each. Smith was selected for the All-USA Academic Second Team and was also named a New Century Scholar. The highest scoring student in each state is named a New Century Scholar and will receive a $2,000 scholarship funded by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and the Coca-Cola Foundation.

All-USA Teams and New Century Scholars were honored during the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) convention April 19-22 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle.

Each year, two students from each of the 34 community and technical colleges in the state are named to the All-Washington Academic Team and have a chance to be named to an All-USA Academic Team. All-Washington team members each received a $250 scholarship sponsored by KeyBank. The All-Washington Academic Team was honored March 7 in a ceremony with Gov. Gary Locke. Smith and Cynthia Nelson represented Tacoma Community College.

In addition to this national honor, Smith has received the Next Step Scholarship from the University of Washington-Tacoma. The Next Step Scholarship is a two-year full scholarship worth up to $12,000. The scholarship is awarded to one student from each of the area community colleges; each school may nominate three students for the award.

Smith, who plans to earn a law degree, delayed school until her seven children were older. Now she studies at TCC with her eldest daughter. Smith has been active as the Phi Theta Kappa regional recording officer and Chi Gamma chapter president; as TRIO Club vice president; and student government senator. She also finds time for community service while maintaining a 4.0 GPA studying interdisciplinary arts and sciences with an emphasis in psychology.

Her goal is to work as a youth advocate in the juvenile justice field.