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Two NTCC scholars win $100 Eckman Awards

eckman winners

By: Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors Director

For their performance in challenging honors courses at NTCC in relation to their peers, two students of Honors Northeastwill win $100 checks.  NTCC’s Dr. Jerry Wesson Scholar, Aaliyah Avellaneda, received the highest GPA in the double-course fall Honors seminar known as “HuMusic,” taught by Drs. Daniel, and Fulgham. Maiko Estrada won his award as the honors freshman, ranking number one in the “BioTex” Honors Seminar this past spring, a combination of Biology and Texas History, taught by professors Ward and Yox.

Both winners have contributed in other ways to the academic vitality of NTCC.  Avellaneda is the winner of two intervarsity awards, a Texas Caldwell and a Britt Award of the Great Plains Honors Council, both secured by her incisive work on former Lieutenant Governor, Bill Ratliff.  Estrada acted last summer in the upcoming Carroll Shelby film, as Val Scroggie, the physician who gave Shelby pills containing nitroglycerin for his angina, so he could keep on racing.

NTCC Honors Director, Dr. Andrew Yox notes: “Avellaneda now has tied our All-USA Team scholar, Noah Griffin (2012-2013) as the only person in the history of honors at NTCC to win such academic distinction in the first three seminars.  She actually might surpass Griffin if she wins again, as Lauren Fennimore surged ahead of other sophomores in the spring of 2014.  Estrada, meanwhile, reminds me of the half-miler Dave Wottle–the guy with the golf cap–in the 1972 Olympics. Seemingly out of contention at first, and inconspicuous, Estrada mastered all the topics of biology, and conceptualized brilliantly in his history essay on Texas physician, Red Duke. In the very last month of the semester, I was astonished by his exuberant performance and level of excellence.”

An anonymous donor has funded now twenty Eckman Awards at NTCC in memory of the late Richard and Joan Eckman.  Richard Eckman was a long-time inventor for Dresser Industries, a signature Texas oilfield corporation.  Many NTCC Eckman Award winners such as Verania Leyva (2020, 2018) Matthew Chambers (2017, 2018), Chesney Davis (2017), and Brenda Godoy (2016), have obtained excellent transfers.  In 2019, Eckman winner, Jordan Whelchel, won a full-ride to Rice University.

Aaliyah is the daughter of Blanca and Francisco Avellaneda of Mount Pleasant.  Maiko is the son of José and Maria Estrada, also of Mount Pleasant.

Honors Northeast is now accepting applications for the 2022-23 school year. 1 March is the deadline for obtaining an optimal scholarship The program confers institutional and private scholarships, as well as many other amenities. Talented public high school students, high school seniors, homeschoolers in transition, and parents are welcome to contact Dr. Andrew P. Yox, Honors Director, at, and/or apply through the honors website: <>.

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