Four MDC Students Awarded Prestigious Cooke Undergraduate Transfer ScholarshipsThe highly competitive national scholarship awards students up to $55K a year to complete a bachelor’s degree

College president with scholarship winners and others

Four Miami Dade College students were named recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s prestigious Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The highly competitive national scholarship awards students up to $55,000 a year to complete a bachelor’s degree.

A total of 18 MDC students were named semi-finalists for the award this year. Historically, MDC students have been awarded more Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships than at any other college in the U.S.

Watch the heartwarming moment when we surprised our students with the life-changing news that they’ve been selected as recipients of the scholarship.

In addition to financial support, Cooke Transfer Scholars receive comprehensive educational advising – guidance that is crucial for navigating their transition to four-year colleges and planning their career paths. Cooke Scholars also benefit from access to internship opportunities, study abroad and graduate school funding, as well as a dynamic network of over 3,300 Cooke scholars and alumni.

This year’s winners were selected from a pool of nearly 1,700 applications from over 380 community colleges. Applicants were evaluated on their academic prowess, financial need, persistence, community service and leadership qualities.

Meet the 2024 MDC Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars:

Velourde Borgella (North Campus) obtained a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification, which demonstrates her proficiency in providing primary patient care in health care settings, and holds a Basic Life Support (BLS) accreditation, which confirms her ability to administer lifesaving interventions in critical medical situations. She served as the public coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and vice president of the Haitian IBO Club. She was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Waves, the Yes Club and Single Stop. Velourde is passionate about pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing and providing excellent care to her future patients.

Maria Cardenas (Kendall Campus) served as president and co-founder of the Pre-Dental Club, vice president and co-founder of the L.E.A.P. Club, and public relations representative of The Honors College Ambassadors. She was a member of the TriBeta Biological Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. As project manager for the IREX Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge, Maria led her team to a first place victory in 2024. Her academic goals are to complete a degree in biology or health science and continue to dental school, where she plans to specialize on restoration or oral maxillofacial surgery. She also wants to serve as an advocate for health care rights for minorities.

Javier Cuñat (Kendall Campus) founded CyberSharks, a computer science and cybersecurity club at his campus. He also worked as a tech fellow for CodePath, a nonprofit organization that supports minorities pursuing careers in technology, and as a technology instructor at the Everglades Correctional Institution. During his time at MDC, he was awarded the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Award, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Hites Transfer Scholarship, and the Outstanding Student in Technology Award for the 2023-24 academic year. Cuñat plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science. His goal is to promote projects that create a better human experience in tech-related spaces.

Eddie Fordham (North Campus) began his path to an associate degree in 2021, when he joined MDC’s pilot Second Chance Pell Experiment program funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help incarcerated individuals obtain a college degree. In April 2022, he was granted parole with just one course missing, which he completed and finally received his diploma. In prison, Fordham taught other inmates to read, write and do math. He created the Prison Impact Tour (PIT) program and led the Pope Literary Club and Character Builders Gabel Club. He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in communications and public administration.

About the Cooke Foundation
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded almost $282 million in scholarships to more than 3,300 students from eighth grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $133 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.

A complete list of the 2024 Cooke Transfer Scholars and their respective community colleges is available here.