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Mason, Seven Other STLCC Students Named to All-Missouri Academic Team

March 07, 2014

Michael Mason  
Michael Mason, second from right, was named a Gold Scholar Award recipient from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, and to the All-Missouri Academic Team. Also pictured are, from left, Dennis Michaelis, STLCC interim chancellor; Zora Mulligan, executive director of the Missouri Community College Association; and Sandra Knight, Forest Park counseling professor who also is the Phi Theta Kappa chapter adviser.

A veteran who hopes to serve elderly and homeless populations who struggle with mental health issues was named a Gold Scholar Award recipient from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Michael Mason, who attends St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, was honored by the foundation for being among the 150 highest-scoring All-USA Team members from around the country. Recipients earn gold, silver or bronze medallions and a stipend. 


He and seven other STLCC students on March 5 were named to the All-Missouri Academic Team by the Missouri Community College Association, an honor bestowed on the state’s top community college students.


Mason came to Forest Park to prepare for transfer. He wants to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Mason currently is a supplemental instruction leader. In that role, he leads weekly review sessions for other Forest Park students who are currently enrolled in classes that many students struggle to complete. He is also a husband and the father of a little boy. He has been recognized as an Emerging Scholar and has received a scholarship for honors students.


The other STLCC students honored include, by campus:


Florissant Valley


  • Michelle Byrd -- Byrd plans to teach vocal music to middle school students. She’s getting a great start at Flo Valley, where she is a member of the gospel choir and an active member of Phi Theta Kappa. She has been recognized with the Dare to Know Scholarship awarded by her campus PTK chapter and has received the Emerging Scholars Award, which faculty and staff present to students who begin their college career in developmental coursework. 
  • Yehuda Feigenbaum -- Feigenbaum is the president of Flo Valley’s PTK chapter. Under his leadership, the organization helped streamline the enrollment process. Although they knew they couldn’t provide advising, members helped students with basic tasks, like performing a degree audit and obtaining a list of classes that fulfill their remaining requirements. Feigenbaum has also volunteered at global and cultural awareness events and helped organize the Math Club.



  • Maria Cuartas Velasco -- Cuartas Velasco is taking classes in preparation to transfer to UMSLʹs nursing program. She is making the most of her time at Meramec, where she oversees the campusʹ student ambassadors and has been on the dean’s list. She cites her role with the ambassadors as the most significant endeavor she’s had at the college, saying that she has gained valuable communication, team building, and administrative skills through her service. 
  • Gina Hart -- Hart is taking classes in preparation to transfer to the University of Missouri’s accelerated nursing program. She has a 4.0 and also runs a small business. Her PTK Honors in Action project turned into a spot on the board of a local nonprofit. She’s a junior board member of Nurses for Newborns, and she serves as a liaison between the organization and both STLCC and UM-St. Louis. 

Forest Park


  • Malik Ndiaye -- Ndiaye is a native of Senegal in West Africa. He is a computer science major who hopes to become a programmer or software developer. He is a peer tutor in Forest Park’s Academic Support Center and has served as president and vicepresident of the campus PTK chapter. He is also involved in the International Club and the Senegalese Association of St. Louis. He was a student representative on the hiring committee that selected the new interim chancellor, an experience he calls touching and humbling.




  • Denise Deavenport -- Deavenport hopes to become a nurse. She received the Board of Trustees Academic Scholarship and has been on the dean’s list. She is also the president of Wildwood’s PTK chapter. Under her leadership, the chapter sponsored the first annual faculty breakfast to thank faculty for their hard work. They also organized a scholarship fair. Deavenport is the very proud mother of Joey, who graduated as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, and Wesley, a student at Lafayette High School. 
  • Jenna Freund -- Freund hopes to become a pediatrician. She is the president of the campus Student Government Association, vice president of Volunteers of Wildwood, and a member of the Science Club. She has been on the dean’s list and received the American Association of Women in Community Colleges Award. Through her volunteer activities, she has donated toys to needy children and organized a program that provides meals to kids in foodinsecure homes.

Each student received a scholarship made possible by a donation from MOHELA, the state’s not-for-profit secondary market lender and servicer in the student loan industry. 


The Missouri Community College Association is a statewide organization through which Missouri’s community colleges work together to advance common agendas. MCCA provides advocacy, education, information, and networking opportunities in service of the state’s 5,700 community college faculty, staff, administrators and trustees.