MCC student receives national Phi Theta Kappa scholarship

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–After graduating from Columbus Community High School in Columbus Junction, Jennifer Solis considered attending Muscatine Community College to earn an associate’s degree in criminal justice a natural fit. “One of the main reasons that I chose to study criminal justice at MCC is I graduated from Columbus Community High School, which is a fairly small school, and I really wanted that one-on-one interaction with my professors and being able to connect more with my peers, as well as I was already dual enrolled during my senior year of high school,” she outlined.

When she started, Solis had no idea just how far she would come on her higher education journey in just two years. Sept. 29, Solis received the Gordon Graham Leadership and Ethics in Criminal Justice Scholarship from the International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute and the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

When Solis received her invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa, it hardly felt real to her. However, her advisor, Theresa Putnam-Genz, encouraged her to join, and Solis has found that the group has given her many opportunities. Since joining, Solis has especially enjoyed attending the regional convention and Catalyst national convention held last spring, which gave her the opportunity to meet and form friendships with community college students from all across the country.

As Solis prepares to graduate from Muscatine Community College in the spring, she felt deeply honored to receive the Gordon Graham Scholarship, as it has both affirmed her skills in her field of study and given her $1,000 to continue her education: “I cannot feel or be any more thankful to have receiving the scholarship. I am so honored to have won such a scholarship that only one recipient receives,” she said. Solis also hopes that her success will inspire other students to work hard towards attaining their goals, as they may find support and opportunities they never knew existed.

Jennifer Solis, recipient of the Gordon Graham Leadership and Ethics in Criminal Justice Scholarship. Photo courtesy Muscatine Community College.

Once Solis earns her associate’s degree, she plans to continue her education at either Saint Ambrose University or the University of Iowa and to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Ultimately, Solis intends to attend law school and to work as an immigration attorney.

Looking forward to the next steps in her education journey, Solis feels Muscatine Community College has prepared her well for what lies ahead. “Some of the things that I have most enjoyed about studying criminal justice at MCC is that one-on-one that I am able to have with my professors as well as having professors that have actually been in the criminal justice force,” she shared. “It really helps me understand the material, and it’s pretty interesting to hear from people that have dealt with scenarios in the criminal justice area.

I think that the scholarship has really busted up my confidence and allows me to believe in myself more, and to tell others, that if they really believe in something that they went to achieve that they can do it.”

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