Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) student Hannah Kiraly has been named Ohio’s 2015 New Century Scholar after posting the state’s top application score among nominees to the All-USA Community College Academic Team.
The Lakewood resident is one of only 50 New Century Scholars from across the United States and American Samoa. More than 1,700 students from more than 1,000 community colleges were nominated for the honor.
Judges with the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society scholarship program considered grades, leadership, activities and — most importantly — how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.
Given that, it’s easy to see how Kiraly rose to the top.
Kiraly spent the past year as president of the Chi Omega Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Tri-C’s Western Campus in Parma. As leader of the 200-member group, she organized multiple community service projects, including a fundraiser with deep personal meaning.
Money raised at the chapter’s fall haunted house went to the Alzheimer’s Association. Kiraly’s grandmother lives with the disease.
“You don’t understand the impact on a family until you have been through it,” Kiraly said. “My grandmother has influenced me in so many ways. I wanted to give back to the Alzheimer’s Association, which has helped her.”
Kiraly also ran for Tri-C’s nationally ranked women’s cross country and track teams and shaved nearly four minutes off of her personal best time in the 5,000-meter run.
Between those responsibilities, she also juggled part-time jobs to pay her tuition and developed her photography talents — all while earning stellar grades and making the dean’s list every semester.
Kiraly will graduate from Tri-C in May with an Associate of Arts degree. She intends to continue her studies and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Sustainability from Chatham University in Pittsburgh.
As Ohio’s New Century Scholar, Kiraly will receive a $2,000 scholarship and represent the state during the American Association of Community Colleges annual convention in April.
The New Century Scholars Program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges and Phi Theta Kappa.