3 GRCC students named semifinalists for national transfer scholarship

Jan. 28, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Three Grand Rapids Community College students are among the state’s five semifinalists for the highly selective Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

GRCC’s Caitlyn Bilkovsky, Lesley Bos and Jacob Foster are among 456 semifinalists selected nationally from a pool of 1,500 applicants attending 311 community colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will announce the recipients in April.

Students selected for the scholarship receive financial support for up to three years, comprehensive educational advising, and the chance to connect with fellow Cooke Scholars. Recipients are selected based on their exceptional academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, service to others, and leadership. 

“We are thrilled and excited that the hard work, dedication and persistence of Lesley, Jacob and Caitlyn are being recognized by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation,” said Victoria Powers, program director for TRIO Student Support Services.

“It is a testament to the caliber of students who come to GRCC. This is an example of the type of ‘swing for the fences’ opportunities that TRIO believes all students should engage in and why we push them so heavily. We are proud and humbled to be a small part of these students’ journeys and look forward to what they will accomplish in the future!”

Bilkovsky is active in TRIO, GRCC’s Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges. She plans to graduate in May and continue her education at the University of Michigan, majoring in international relations.

Bos is a sophomore who graduated with her Associate of Arts in December. She will be transferring next fall to pursue an interdisciplinary degree focused on social change policy and advocacy. 

Foster is a sophomore who hopes to transfer to the University of Michigan in the fall with the ultimate goal of earning a doctorate in psychology.

All three students have been active GRCC TRIO members. TRIO is a federally funded program supporting first-generation students and others who can benefit from academic advice, tutoring, mentoring, financial guidance, personal counseling, and other supports necessary for educational access and retention.

“Year after year, we are impressed by the incredible talent and resolve of community college students,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “We are proud to recognize this outstanding group of semifinalists for their academic achievement.”

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.


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