April Cole

GHC student and PTK president a New Century Scholar

April Cole, a student at Georgia Highlands College (GHC), has been named a 2023 Coca-Cola Foundation New Century Transfer Scholar and will receive a $2,250 scholarship. Cole serves as Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Chapter President-Regional Officer for the college’s Alpha Psi Omicron chapter as well as President of the Student Government Association (SGA) and editor of the Old Red Kimono student literary magazine. 

New Century Transfer Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, activities and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. Over 2,400 students were nominated from more than 1,300 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Transfer Scholar is selected from each state. 

Cole will be recognized this April at the PTK Presidents Breakfast, held during the American Association of Community Colleges Convention (AACCC) in Denver.   

“I was grateful to be named top in my state, and ecstatic that I have their support to continue with my education,” Cole said. “Winning the New Century scholarship instilled some GHC pride about my hard work I’ve put into PTK, SGA and Old Red Kimono. I love Georgia Highlands College and contributing to my community – and I’m thankful the judges could see my vision.” 

Cole, who earned an associate degree from GHC in December 2022, plans to transfer to the Georgia Institute of Technology to pursue a degree in biochemistry as well as organizational leadership and editorial opportunities.  

“At Georgia Highlands, strong women and professors have inspired me to get involved with our campus,” she said. “They saw my potential through my coursework and suggested that I utilize my passion and dedication to more than just classes. For this, I am forever thankful.” 

Cole said these opportunities have had a direct impact on developing her identity. She said she is grateful to have platforms at GHC to share her point of view and to utilize her education to help create change. 

“I’ve created the first online version of Old Red Kimono, I’ve contributed to changing the perception of lab manuals for students, I’ve added to the opportunities students can experience in SGA by creating new positions, and through PTK, I’ve become a founder for GHC’s first student ambassador program and developed a documentary about the need for play in foster care homes,” Cole said. “I’ve stayed involved because I know the potential of being connected and finding your voice, not only for yourself, but for your community and your college. I’ve met many wonderful advisors that have had a hand in my growth, and it’s hard to turn that switch off.” 

Cole recommends students become involved in Registered Student Organizations and internship opportunities not only to improve their experience at GHC, but to learn new skills that can be applied as they continue their education. In addition, she said being involved helps students to appreciate the community of faculty and staff at GHC who work to ensure students meet their full potential. 

“I’ve taken on internships that involved me working in research labs with post-doctorate colleagues, studying blood cancer at the undergraduate level, because the community of GHC told me ‘I can,’” Cole said. “That is something that is rarely experienced in the harsh reality of our world. GHC makes their student’s voices heard, which starts this chain reaction.”  

She continued, “Since I was young, I’ve always been enamored with the power of education, and GHC jumpstarted this passion. My career goals are to find a way to continue with higher education so I can give back to students what I was given as a student at GHC.” 


About The Coca-Cola Foundation  

The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, please visit coca-colagivingback.com 

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation celebrates and empowers visionary leaders who are refreshing the world. Supporting more than 1,400 exceptional college students each year, it awards $3.55 million in scholarships annually through three nationally recognized programs. Learn more at coca-colascholarsfoundation.org. 

About Phi Theta Kappa   

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The GHC chapter, Alpha Psi Omicron, is part of the Georgia Region. 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. Learn more at ptk.org