Posted: March 30, 2006

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Twenty-three two-year college students who make up the All-Minnesota Academic Team were honored today during a luncheon program at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The students are the state's nominees for the All-USA Academic Team for Community, Technical and Junior College Students, a program sponsored annually by Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges, USA Today and the American Association of Community Colleges. State academic teams were introduced in 1994 as a way to provide scholarships and scholastic recognition to members of Phi Theta Kappa. The students range in age from 19 to 49.

Twenty-one of the students are from colleges within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Those students and their colleges are: Andrea Frafford, Alexandria Technical College; Gary Steffenson, Anoka-Ramsey Community College; Pinchat Chatpaitoon, Central Lakes College; Nemanja Svitlica, Century College; Iheanyichukwu Ijioma and Rebecca Youngmark, both from Dakota County Technical College; Mark Wackerfuss, Inver Hills Community College; Jennifer Brockway, Northeast Higher Education District-Itasca Community College; Jonathan Hanson, Minnesota State Community and Technical College; Erik Eliason and Kamran Taghizadeh, both from Normandale Community College; Brandi Bennett and Kamiel Houston, both from North Hennepin Community College; Kelly Moore, Nichole Rahn, Karl Anderson and James Staite, all from Northland Community and Technical College; Jessica Gore, Ridgewater College; Keri Hollerud and Martha Yiglletu, St. Paul College; and Christine Myers, South Central College. Two students from private colleges, Monica Hines, Dunwoody College of Technology; and Rachel Gullord, Presentation College, also were honored.

To be nominated to the Minnesota team, a student must be currently enrolled at a Minnesota two-year college and expect to graduate during the 2005-2006 academic year, have completed at least 12 semester credits and have a grade point average of at least 3.25 at a Minnesota two-year college.

Nominees were selected based on biographical information, letters of recommendation, academic performance, demonstration of leadership, and campus and community service involvement. Applicants also wrote an essay describing a specific educational experience while attending a two-year college that has transformed the student's thinking about learning or the future.

The Minnesota All-State Academic Team is sponsored by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, state two-year college presidents, Phi Theta Kappa and the Minn-Wi-Kota Region of Phi Theta Kappa.

Students selected for the All-USA academic team receive stipends or plaques. The 2006 All-USA team members will be announced April 22 at the American Association of Community Colleges convention in Long Beach, Calif.