Dallas College News Update


Media Contact: Cherie Yurco; cmyurco@dallascollege.edu

For immediate release — Sept. 16, 2022

(DALLAS) — Four Dallas College students have been selected for 2022 Myers-LeCroy Scholarships, based on their personal achievements, community contributions and commitment to serve the less fortunate.

Administered by the Dallas College Foundation, the Myers-LeCroy Scholarship pays for tuition and books for up to six consecutive semesters at Dallas College. Dallas business leader Mike A. Myers established the scholarships in 1988 to honor friend and former Dallas College Chancellor Jan LeCroy. After the passing of Dr. LeCroy, his wife, Nancy LeCroy, partnered with Myers to mentor recipients with advice about life skills and the importance of helping their respective communities in order to become successful in their fields.

“The last couple of years have brought about many new challenges, but there always seem to be those select few who can rise to the top and press on, no matter what. The Myers-LeCroy Scholars are those select few,” said Myers. “It is an honor to continue to mentor such talented and exceptional young people and to watch them grow both academically and personally. They are world changers who will certainly make their mark of distinction in the years to come.”

The 2022 recipients and chosen fields of study at Dallas College are:

  • Janset Aydogdu, Associate of Science in Biology
  • Pammela Gilliam, Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Ligio Muthemba, Associate of Science
  • Kayla Thompson, Associate of Science

Biographies of 2022 Awardees

Janset Aydogdu

Janset Aydogdu — Currently working on an associate degree in biology, Aydogdu’s goal is to become an orthodontist and to make people feel more confident in their smiles. She is driven by her own story. “When I was a teenager, I was ashamed of my smile because I did not have straight teeth, and braces were too expensive at that time for my family to afford. When I got braces and my teeth were fixed, it was the best moment of my life because I was able to smile without being afraid.” Once she opens her own dental practice, Aydogdu hopes to spend part of the year providing free dental and health care in underdeveloped countries.

Aydogdu attended six different high schools and graduated high school in three countries: Iraq, Turkey and the United States, all the while earning honors. In 2019, she won the National Special Jury Award for her science fair project at the Iraq National Project Olympiad. Her name and artwork were featured on NASA’s website after winning the 2021 NASA James Webb Telescope Art Challenge. Aydogdu said she was proud to earn the Myers-LeCroy Scholarship. “It motivated me a lot,” she said.

As vice president of leadership for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Aydogdu has helped reorganize her chapter’s college project to better accommodate student needs. As a wellness influencer and health advisor at the North Lake Campus, she presents health topics to other students. She has also taught violin to children through the nonprofit Raindrop Foundation. A committed and motivated student who maintains a 4.0 GPA, she is eager to learn more about biology and health.​​​

Ligio Muthemba

Ligio Muthemba — After earning his Associate of Science, Muthemba plans to transfer to a university to study electrical and mechanical engineering, areas he has been interested in since childhood. After completing his education, Muthemba hopes to either launch his own company in his native Mozambique or work for an automotive maker.

Muthemba first came to the United States at age 16 with the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, leading a group of 11 students who spent a year attending American high schools. He went back to Mozambique for his final year of high school and then returned to the U.S. as a college student.

“When I found out I had been awarded the scholarship, the first thing that came to mind is that I would be able to achieve my academic goals,” he said. “The fact that it’s a mentoring scholarship is exciting, having someone who can help me find the right path and give me guidance.”

“I have faced many adversities that have affected me emotionally and motivationally,” he said. “In the same way that water flows through difficult terrains and finds a way to the sea, I have found ways to overcome.” He hopes to one day mentor others. Through volunteer work, he makes a positive impact. “I have always believed our actions impact others.”

Pammela Gilliam​​

Pammela Gilliam — When the pandemic hit, Gilliam was working full time and attending Texas Woman’s University. She could not afford to continue. She hopes to transfer back but not until she earns her associate degree in business administration from Dallas College.

Gilliam began working at Chick-fil-A in 2019 and moved up quickly. She was shift manager by the end of the year, became night assistant/closing director in 2020, guest relations director in 2020, marketing director in 2021, and she is now marketing director of a second store. “This sparked my interest in business,” she said, adding that after three semesters away from school, she applied to Dallas College on a whim. “A counselor answered the phone at almost midnight and helped me through the application process.“

Despite a hectic schedule of working and attending college full time, she has achieved perfect grades (4.0) at Dallas College. Gilliam said she cried when she found out she had won the Myers-LeCroy scholarship. Though the money will certainly help, she’s even more pleased about the opportunity to network and take advantage of the mentoring.

“As a first-generation college student, it was a real moment for me,” she said. “It set in motion something that will leave a legacy for my family. I love knowing that others believe in me as much as I believe in myself, especially coming back to college after a three-semester break.”

Kayla Thompson

Kayla Thompson — Thompson’s ultimate career goal is to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Her drive to help others grew out of her own experience with housing insecurity as a child. Volunteer work with mental health patients at Kaiser Permanente confirmed her choice. Thompson is certified in mental health first aid and is currently working on her Associate of Science with plans to transfer and earn a bachelor’s in nursing.

“My main goal is really to give back to the community. That’s what is needed in this world —some assistance for people who don’t have it. Homeless women and children on the streets strike a nerve for me.” Aside from volunteering at local hospitals in nursing and NICU departments, Thompson helps those without housing through the B.A.R.E. Truth Foundation. Every Saturday she heads to downtown Dallas to hand out hygiene products, food and water.

Thompson was a top student when she graduated high school with a 4.12 GPA and was inducted into the National Society of High School Scholars. She completed her first year at Dallas College with a 3.88 GPA.

As Dallas College welcomes this latest cohort of Myers-LeCroy scholars, the returning Myers-LeCroy scholars from 2021 continue to be recognized as they complete their Dallas College education. The 2021 scholars are Aryton Goodman, Francis Onyedionu, Sarah Gibbons and Johnny Rodriguez. Read about the 2021 Myers-LeCroy scholars.

Applications for the Myers-LeCroy Scholarship are accepted March 1-June 1. To find out more about the Myers-LeCroy Scholarship and other Dallas College Foundation scholarships, visit the Elite Scholarships webpage.

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About Dallas College

Dallas College, formerly the Dallas County Community College District, was founded in 1965 and consists of seven campuses: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. Dallas College offers online learning and serves more than 125,000 credit and continuing education students annually. Dallas College also offers dual credit for students in partner high schools and early college high schools throughout Dallas County. Students benefit from partnerships with local business leaders, school districts and four-year universities, and Dallas College offers associate degree and career/technical certificate programs in more than 100 areas of study, as well as a bachelor’s degree in education. Based on annual enrollment, it is the largest community college in Texas.

About Dallas College Foundation

Dallas College Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 whose mission is to advance students’ economic mobility and strengthen our community by partnering with donors and philanthropies to help Dallas College rise to new heights of equity, innovation and excellence. Since its creation in 1973, the foundation has raised more than $83 million in private donations and distributed more than $42 million in scholarships and grants to support thousands of students at Dallas College.