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Two Presidential Scholars win $100 Eckman Awards

January 18, 2024

By: Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors Director

eckman winnersFor their performance in the fall of 2023 in challenging honors seminars at NTCC in relation to their peers, two Presidential Scholars will win $100 checks.  Sophomore Madellynn (Maddy) Smith (pictured left), the college’s Gladys Winkle Scholar as the top honors student in the humanities, came out ahead in the sophomore, HuMusic seminar. Perla Guzman (pictured right), winner of the prestigious Texas Heritage National Bank scholarship, and a biomedical major, scored the highest among first-year scholars in the BioTex seminar. The honors seminars each combine two general education courses, and feature the use of two professors to encourage mentoring.

“The Eckman winners from last fall,” notes Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors director, “were not only champions in classroom erudition, but with scholarship.  Smith is our ‘contest quasar.’ She has won awards in two poetry contests, the Red River Symposium, and the McGraw Hill poster contest last spring for her scholarly work on pets, and insomnia. Perla Guzman is our ‘captain of chemistry,’ the go-to person for questions about general and organic chemistry, and a scholar as well.  Last semester, the former Mount Pleasant salutatorian interviewed four local physicians to help complete her pioneering essay on the history of physicians in Texas.”

An anonymous donor has funded now twenty-four 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 (2019, 2020) Matthew Chambers (2017, 2018), Chesney Davis (2017), and Brenda Godoy (2016, obtained excellent transfers.  A 2019 Eckman winner, Jordan Whelchel, won a full-ride to Rice University. NTCC’s lone four-time Eckman-winner, Aaliyah Avellaneda, is now at Southern Methodist University with a full-ride scholarship, and is studying law.

Maddy is the daughter of Rhonda and Stephen Smith, and they live in Wood County. Perla is the daughter of Claudia and Santos Guzman, and they live in Titus County.

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