Four students at Otero Junior College have been named to the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) All-Colorado Academic Team. Kayla Valdez, Serena Rife, Angela Leonard, and Misti Collins-Redd were nominated for the All-Colorado Academic Team by OJC, based on their scholarship, leadership, and community service.

On March 14, 40 top-performing and service-oriented students from across the state were inducted into the community college All-Colorado Academic Team. The annual induction, in its 20th year, is presented by the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges and the Credit Union of Colorado. It took place during a luncheon/ceremony in the History Colorado Center’s Colorado Room.

Kayla Valdez is a pre-nursing student at Otero Junior College and will receive her Associate of Science degree in spring 2018.  She plans to enter the Nursing Program at OJC to become an RN with a goal of getting her BSN and becoming a Pediatric Nurse. Valdez is highly involved on campus. As a member of the President’s Leadership Program and the International Relations Organization, she has volunteered hundreds of hours on and off campus.

Valdez can be seen giving tours on campus and working in student services where she has been a welcoming face for students trying to find information on programs, graduation, and registration. Everyone knows Kayla on campus and her positive energy is contagious.

Serena Rife is a Biomedical Major at Otero Junior College and will graduate with an Associate of Science degree in spring 2018. Rife is from, Branson, Colo. Before graduating high school, she attended the regional science fair each year at OJC. Her choice to come to OJC was because of the faculty members she met during the science fairs.

Rife is an active student at OJC, serving as the Associated Student Government President. As president she has revitalized governance by students. Rife works alongside faculty daily as a work-study in Instructional Services. She has taken advanced coursework at OJC to reach her goal of becoming a veterinarian and is recognized by staff and faculty as a leader.

Angela Leonard from Las Animas, Colo., is finishing the Health Navigator Program at Otero Junior College while obtaining an Associates of Arts degree. Leonard will receive her Health Navigator AAS in spring 2018 and plans on finishing her AA Spring 2019. She plans to work as a health navigator as she continues on to get a Bachelor’s Degree, with hopes of working in public health.

Leonard has interned countless hours at the Otero County Public Health Department. “I enjoy helping people and having the ability to make an impact, so this career is perfect,” Leonard stated. She is very involved on campus with Phi Theta Kappa, the Non-Traditional Student Organization, and an officer in the new Health Occupations Student Association. She played a big role in creating the Health Occupations Student Association by-laws and structuring the club’s goals.

As a non-traditional student and single mother, Misti Collins-Redd has learned to balance school, work, family obligations, and health issues. She is graduating with her Health Navigator AAS degree in Spring 2018 and plans on finishing her AA Spring 2019. With a limited budget and family obligations, she has found her way into many clubs and organizations on campus.

Collins-Redd shines in Otero Junior College’s Health Navigator Program. She is the “go to person” for information about Phi Theta Kappa, International Relations Organization, Trio, Green Team and the newly formed Health Occupations Students Association club. Everyone one on campus knows her and she has seized her opportunities at OJC to grow personally and as a leader. As she completes the Health Navigator program she will be workforce ready with the ultimate goal of completing a master’s degree in Public Health.

All selections are based on nominations submitted by community college presidents. To be eligible, a student must post a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA and be eligible to graduate with an associate degree. For more information, contact Wayne Beadles, PTK Advisor.