Future doctors named to first All-Maryland Academic Team
June 02, 2017

Wor-Wic students Tanesha Mondestin of Salisbury and Jessica Strange of Fruitland were recently named to the All-Maryland Academic Team, a competition that recognizes academic excellence and community service of two-year college students. The annual competition, sponsored by the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) international honor society, is recognized by the Maryland Council of Community College Presidents and the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.

Mondestin and Strange were two of 16 students in Maryland to make the first team. The two friends, who met through PTK, had much in common. Mondestin had a devastating knee injury that required multiple surgeries and Strange was working as an ophthalmic technician while taking care of her legally-blind mother, whom she lost last year to diabetes. They say these experiences shaped the career paths they have chosen. Both plan to become doctors.

Mondestin began her studies at Wor-Wic as a dual-enrolled student, earning high school and college credits at the same time. She had torn three ligaments in her knee and missed a week of high school during the spring of 2015. Her guidance counselor suggested that she take biology at Wor-Wic. A year and several college classes later, after graduating from high school, Mondestin chose to stay at Wor-Wic to earn her associate degree because of the support she received as a dual-enrolled student. She also took advantage of the Wicomico Economic Impact Scholarship. “I have grown so much because of Wor-Wic,” she said. “The professors are amazing and they truly care about what they do.” A dean¹s list student with a 3.79 grade point average (GPA), she completed her associate of arts degree with honors at Wor-Wic in December and now attends the University of Maryland in College Park, where she plans to major in physiology and neurobiology. Mondestin¹s future plans include earning her medical degree and eventually becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

Strange is an honors student with a 3.77 GPA who expects to graduate from Wor-Wic next year. She is president of Wor-Wic¹s Alpha Nu Omicron chapter of PTK and was also recently elected as the Middle States Regional Maryland State president. Strange plans to pursue a bachelor¹s degree in biology with a career goal of becoming a neuro-ophthalmologist. She said she chose Wor-Wic for “the individualized attention offered at a community college. I also needed a flexible schedule in order to care for my ill mother.” Strange said she realizes the dedication and commitment it takes to reach her goal and that taking honors classes and joining PTK are helping her achieve it. “PTK stresses making a difference in yourself, your school and your community,” she explained. “Tanesha and I are constantly talking via email and Facebook,” Strange added. “The level of support, friendship and camaraderie of people with similar goals is important.”

PTK is an internationally-recognized honor society serving America's two-year colleges. The Alpha Nu Omicron chapter was chartered at Wor-Wic in 1987. Advisors of the chapter include Terry Thompson, professor of biological science; Dr. Lynn M. Derickson, associate professor of nursing; Allison Metro, assistant professor of English; Dr. Heidi Walker, assistant professor of biological science; and Dr. Coleen M. Weil, professor of nursing.