Three Collin College students have been named 2017 Coca-Cola Scholars. Brianna Becker and Taylor Vandersmitte were both named 2017 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars and Mateo Rivera was named a 2017 Coca-Cola Military Leader of Promise Scholar. Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

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 members of the U.S. military. The remaining amount is supported by donations to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation and provides Leaders of Promise Global Scholarships, earmarked for international students.

image of Brianna BeckerBecker, of Farmersville, is studying kinesiology and plans to eventually enter a physical therapy doctoral program. She is a member of the Baptist Student Ministry and a founding member of the Universal Positivity Society at Collin College.

Currently serving as the college’s dancer relation chair for an upcoming dance marathon for the Children’s Miracle Network, Becker says receiving this scholarship is an honor.

“I am truly honored by this tremendous opportunity. It has given me hope to pay for my education instead of going directly into debt. It has also shown me that my dream of becoming a physical therapist is achievable,” Becker said.

Rivera, of Anna, served eight years in the Navy. He is currently in his first semester of the Collin College nursing program and hopes to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Collin College after he receives an associate degree. As a service learning student, Rivera volunteered at the fire department and soon he will be volunteering at area hospitals.

“This took a load off my shoulders. It will help with books and nursing school expenses. I would have had to get a part time job to pay those expenses. This scholarship allows me to focus all my time and commitment to nursing school, and I am very grateful,” Rivera said.

image of Taylor VandersmitteeVandersmitte, of McKinney, is a dual credit student who is planning to earn an associate of science degree from the college. In the fall, she plans to transfer to Dallas Baptist University, majoring in communications and minoring in biblical counseling. Her goal is to help girls who have been affected by trafficking.

“This scholarship means a lot to me. My family and I moved to Texas about a year ago. My mom didn’t have a job when we came. This scholarship helps get the financial burden off my parents’ backs,” Vandersmitte said.

This year’s recipients were selected by a panel of independent judges from nearly 1,000 applicants. Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars are selected based on outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated leadership potential.