Several MDC Students Receive Prestigious Scholarships from Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Two with Special Honors

Miami, FL. Nov. 7, 2017 – Miami Dade College (MDC) Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) students from the Hialeah Campus, Kendall Campus and InterAmerican Campus were recognized by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which this year named eight MDC students 2017 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars and two recipients of Disaster Relief Scholarships. In addition, two students received top national honors.

Hialeah Campus PTK President Victor Garnica, 26, was named a Coca-Cola Military Leaders of Promise Scholar and is one of only ten students nationwide to receive a 2017 Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education, a $5,000 award. As a U.S. Marine, Garnica provided humanitarian assistance to Sendai, Japan after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake/tsunami/radiation leak. He then joined the Marine Special Operations Command (now Marine Raiders) and oversaw purchasing and accountability of mission essential equipment to aid Special Operations around the world. He is now pursuing a degree in business administration at MDC.

Another special award went to InterAmerican Campus student Luis Ravelo, one of only seven students nationwide to receive a Global Leaders of Promise scholarship. Ravelo, 20, is an industrial engineering major who works as a youth counselor and is responsible for planning and conducting a variety of safe, fun, and interesting activities for children. As an emigrant from Venezuela, he is fully aware of the challenges of social inequality. His passion for changing the world began in high school when he volunteered with “Labor Camp,” a program in Venezuela, where he was part of a team that helped low-income youth stay in school and teach them to develop self- sustenance skills, such modern agriculture. Ravelo is dedicated to promoting equality and in the U.S., has been an active participant in the Habitat for Humanity initiatives in greater Miami. He plans to graduate from MDC in 2018 and enroll in Georgia Institute Technology.

Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise winners from MDC’s InterAmerican Campus also include Johnathan Jimenez, Rachel Fernandez Diaz, Carlos Morales, Osvy Rodriguez, Cesar Sarmiento, and Felipe Zwanzger.

In addition, Christopher Lopez and Brian Sokol from the Kendall Campus will receive PTK Disaster Relief Scholarships due to Hurricane Irma. The scholarship is designed to assist PTK members impacted by disasters.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation provides $200,000 in funding for the scholarships, with $25,000 set aside for members who are veterans or active members of the U.S. military. The remaining amount is supported by donations to the PTK Foundation and provides Leaders of Promise Global Scholarships, earmarked for international students. Each MDC student will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said J. Mark Davis, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa, make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals, and support tomorrow’s leaders of the global community.”

The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program helps new Phi Theta Kappa members defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs. Scholars are also encouraged to assume leadership roles by participating in Society programs and are selected based on scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership potential. Nearly 1,000 applications were received.

The funds provided by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation not only aid college completion, but also give students the opportunity to engage in Society programs and develop leadership skills to become future leaders in their communities.

“Research shows that Phi Theta Kappa members are four times more likely to complete a college degree than their peers,” said Dr. Monica Marlowe, Executive Director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. “The Leaders of Promise Scholarships recognize students for what they have achieved already and assure that financial need isn’t an obstacle to achieving their academic goals.”

MDC Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship winners are among 207 PTK members selected nationwide for this special distinction.

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations. Learn more at