Four Tidewater Community College students have been recognized for two prestigious awards: All-Virginia Academic Team Top Ten and a 2012 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Bronze Scholar – one of 50 winners in the nation.

Mary-Grace Rusnak received double honors as the Bronze Scholar and a member of the All-Virginia Academic team. Emily Ives, Morgan Siegel and Dania Zuniga are TCC’s other All-Virginia Academic Team winners.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars, and providing nearly $187,500 in scholarships annually. Bronze Scholars receive a $1,000 scholarship and a medallion.

In order to be named to the All-Virginia Academic Top-Ten Team, students had to be nominated and meet certain criteria, including a grade point average of at least 3.5 and outstanding achievements both in and outside the classroom. All four students are members of Phi Theta Kappa.

Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar

Mary-Grace RusnakVirginia Beach’s Mary-Grace Rusnak, whose Coca-Cola Community College Bronze Scholar was based on rankings in the All-USA Today Academic Team competition, will graduate from TCC in May with a 4.0 GPA and an Associate of Science in Social Sciences. Rusnak has been on the President’s Honor roll every semester since spring 2010. She has been the Treasurer of Phi Theta Kappa’s Psi Upsilon Chapter and has worked as a student ambassador.

Rusnak was listed as a Coca-Cola winner in the April 23 USA Today. She credits her children, Chris and Katrina, for encouraging her to attend TCC beginning in 2009 and describes herself as leaving the college with “a firm foundation and an even richer life experience that I will continue to use to enrich the lives of those who are on this journey with me.”

Rusnak plans to attend the College of William and Mary in the fall and ultimately would like to earn a master’s in clinical psychology so she can work with the underserved population.

Top-Ten Team member

Morgan SiegelChesapeake’s Morgan Siegel was a member of the President’s Honor Roll during the fall and spring of 2010 and received the Achievement Award from the Student Government for active involvement as a senator. She earned the Fun Officer Award for involvement in student life programs in the spring of 2011. Siegel is Vice President of Student Government and Vice President of Fellowship for Phi Theta Kappa. She will graduate in May with an Associate of Science in Social Sciences and is hoping to attend either the University of Virginia or the University of Pennsylvania. Siegel, whose GPA is 3.9, would like to pursue a career in mass communications.

Top-Ten Team member

Emily IvesChesapeake’s Emily Ives worked two jobs before spying TCC’s promise “From Here, Go Anywhere” on a road sign. She started by enrolling in one class and flourished from there, noting, “In hindsight, going to TCC is the best thing that ever happened to me.” Ives is President of the Alpha Zeta Lambda chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and a senator in Student Government. She represented TCC at the Virginia Community College System’s Student Leadership Conference and at the Honors in Action convention in Boston. Ives will graduate from TCC in May with an Associate of Science in Social Sciences. She has been accepted at George Mason and Christopher Newport University and is awaiting word from William and Mary.

Top-Ten Team member

Dania ZunigaNorfolk’s Dania Zuniga attended bilingual schools from kindergarten through high school. After graduation, she took a year off to volunteer for a Medical Brigade, sparking her passion for science and foreign language. She followed her sister, Carly, to TCC, and will graduate this summer with a 4.0 GPA with an Associate of Science in Science. Zuniga, who speaks fluent Spanish, would like to continue studying at either the University of Virginia or Sweetbrier College. While at TCC, Zuniga has been a mathematics tutor for the Open Door Project. In 2011, she was treasurer for Student Safety Awareness and in 2012, she was Vice President of Phi Theta Kappa.