Pensacola State College student Yana Ramos was selected as a 2023 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar.
Ramos, a 28-year-old Bulgaria native, is one of 213 Phi Theta Kappa members selected for the award. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
Ramos is a general studies major with a 4.0 grade point average and is on track to graduate in May 2024.
“I plan to use the scholarship to complete my education,” said Ramos, who wants to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree in digital animation. “School is not cheap, but having a degree for career and employment networking is beneficial.”
Ramos said she aspires to work in video games, motion pictures, or even artificial intelligence animation.
A total of $213,000 will be awarded this year through the Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation provides $200,000 in funding for the scholarships, with $25,000 set aside for members who are veterans or active-duty members of the U.S. military. The remaining amount is supported by donations to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, which provides multiple Global Leaders of Promise Scholarships earmarked for international students.
Ramos and her husband, Hunter, who is also a Pensacola State student, moved to the U.S. in December 2021.
“The (COVID-19) pandemic delayed our entry, but we finally made it,” Ramos explained. “We met while playing video games online. He was living in Kuwait, and I was in Bulgaria. We visited each other, and the rest is history.”
Initially, the couple enrolled in online classes only, but this semester, Yana Ramos is taking courses on the Pensacola campus for the first time.
“I am here on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I love just being on campus – it is so beautiful,” she said. “This has been an amazing experience. The campus is like a little village in the middle of the city.”
Ramos also praised the faculty members at the College.
“I feel like I have been able to learn a lot better here,” said Ramos, whose second language is English.
“Many of my professors and instructors have refined teaching methods that are easier for me to understand and comprehend the subject matter, which is a big part of my success. They have made complex subjects easier to understand. The professors have really helped me.”
The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program helps new Phi Theta Kappa members defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs. Scholars are encouraged to assume leadership roles by participating in Society programs and are selected based on academic achievement, community service, and leadership potential. Nearly 1,100 applications were received.
“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said Jane Hale Hopkins, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, in a prepared statement.
“We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa to make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals and support tomorrow’s global community leaders.”
The funds provided by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation aid college completion and allow students to engage in Society programs and develop leadership skills to become future community leaders.
“Research shows that Phi Theta Kappa members are four times more likely to complete a college degree than their peers,” said Dr. Monica Marlowe, Executive Director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, in a prepared statement.
“The Leaders of Promise Scholarships recognize students for what they have achieved already and assure that financial need isn’t an obstacle to achieving their academic goals.”
Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing students’ academic achievement at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.8 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 countries, with approximately 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges.