Public 2-Year Schools

Warren County Community College’s Helmken Named 2017 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar

Dorothy Helmken of Warren County Community College has been named one of 207 Phi Theta Kappa members from around the country as a 2017 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar. Helmken, who is President of WCCC’s chapter, will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program helps new Phi Theta Kappa members defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs. Scholars are also encouraged to assume leadership roles by participating in Society programs and are selected based on scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership potential. Nearly 1,000 applications were received.

“As President of Alpha Upsilon Rho at Warren County Community College, Dorothy embodies the qualities that the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society represents : Service, Fellowship, Scholarship and Leadership,” said Genevieve Vasko, Advisor for WCCC’s PTK organization. “She is truly deserving of being named a 2017 Coca –Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar and reflects on the caliber of students who are enrolled at the College.”

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.

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said J. Mark Davis, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa, make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals, and support tomorrow’s leaders of the global community.”

Helmken, a resident of Mansfield Township, is a sophomore at WCCC majoring in Elementary and Secondary Education. She is scheduled to graduate in May 2018 and is looking to then go on to a 4-year college in the area. Ultimately, she wants to teach Math and Science to Middle School grade levels.

Helmken is thrilled – and a bit surprised – to have won the scholarship.

“When I had applied for the scholarship I was hopeful but I knew that there was a lot of competition from other stellar applicants, many of whom I have met at regional and national conventions with Phi Theta Kappa,” she said. “When I was notified that I was an award recipient I was shocked and excited. This scholarship is extremely helpful in my journey to complete my educational and career goals. I am extremely thankful to Phi Theta Kappa for giving me this opportunity, and the Coca Cola Leaders of Promise team for seeing my potential.

In addition to her activities as President of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter, Helmken is also involved in other areas of the campus. She is the Vice-President of the math honors society, Mu Alpha Theta; the Vice-President of the Warren County College Democrats club; the Treasurer of the Future Educators’ Club; and is an English tutor with the WCCC Instructional Support Center.

Helmken does all of this as a non-traditional student (currently working full-time and not completing her first attempt at college right after high school in New York). As a result, she “frequently tries to motivate other non-traditional students to complete their educational goals despite any hardships they face.”

The funds provided by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation not only aid college completion, but also give students the opportunity to engage in Society programs and develop leadership skills to become future leaders in their communities.

“Research shows that Phi Theta Kappa members are four times more likely to complete a college degree than their peers,” said Dr. Monica Marlowe, Executive Director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. “The Leaders of Promise Scholarships recognize students for what they have achieved already and assure that financial need isn’t an obstacle to achieving their academic goals.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations. Learn more at