WILBURTON, OK (May 16, 2022) – Jill Pruitt, a 2022 graduate of Eastern Oklahoma State College, is one of 100 community college students in the nation to be awarded a prestigious Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. The highly competitive national scholarship provides transfer students with up to $55,000 a year to complete their bachelor’s degree.
Pruitt, who graduated from Eastern this month with a degree in agronomy, said she does not take this scholarship for granted as she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science at West Texas A&M University (WT) in Canyon, Texas in the fall.
“I’m extremely blessed to have been selected among so many applicants. I plan to focus on maintaining a high GPA while also being involved on campus at WT,” Pruitt said. “I will forever be thankful to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for believing in me so that I can continue my undergraduate studies. They have relieved the financial burden that college brings to all students.”
More than 1,200 students from 332 community colleges applied to receive the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship and Pruitt is the only student from Oklahoma to receive the award this year. The Foundation evaluated each submission based on students’ academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, and leadership.
“Today, almost half of all college students begin their academic career at a community college. We know our community colleges are full of high-achieving students, and we’re committed to playing our part to ensure those students succeed,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “Congratulations to a cohort of students who have persisted in the midst of such unprecedented disruptions in our lives. We welcome you into our community and look forward to learning alongside you.”
New Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year college and preparing for their careers. Along with financial support, Scholars will additionally receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a thriving network of over nearly 3,000 Cooke Scholars and Alumni.
During her time at Eastern, Pruitt was named to the President’s Honor Roll all four semesters, maintaining an overall grade point average of 4.0. She was involved in numerous clubs and organizations, serving as the vice president of fellowship for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, treasurer for the Eastern Student Government Association, and a member of the meats judging team. She was also involved in the Aggie Club, Eastern Baptist Collegiate Ministries, and Trio Student Support Services while also serving as a peer tutor. Pruitt was the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2022 Eastern Agriculture Division’s “Cream of the Crop” award, the Outstanding Agronomy Student, Cobell Scholar, Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Award, and FEEA Award of Excellence.
Jill is from Stillwell, Oklahoma and is the daughter of Gary and Aretha Pruitt. While at WT, Pruitt plans to compete on the crops judging team. Following college, she hopes to pursue a career in natural resource conservation, crop consulting, crop insurance, or a related field.