North Florida Community College applauds students Reese Rutherford and Matthew Tucker for being named as members of the 2019 All-Florida Academic Team. Students are selected to this prestigious team and recognized for academic achievement, leadership on campus and service to the community. Rutherford and Tucker were honored among the most outstanding students in the Florida College System (FCS) at an awards ceremony sponsored by the FCS and the Florida region of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society of two-year colleges, in Kissimmee on April 4. Both are members of NFCC’s PTK Mu Xi Chapter.
Reese Rutherford is a Madison County High School senior and high school dual enrollment student at NFCC. She will receive her high school diploma this year and graduate with her Associate in Arts Degree from NFCC in May. She plans to continue her educational journey at Florida State University and is currently taking prerequisites for medical school.
“After medical school at FSU, I plan to be an orthopedic surgeon,” said Rutherford. “I am a softball player and CrossFit athlete, so I would love to go into orthopedics and be able to work with athletes.”
Rutherford has played softball for 11 years, pitched for 9 years and been a member of the MCHS varsity softball team since freshman year.
“Being a softball pitcher, I have learned that you have to be mentally tough at all times,” said Rutherford. “As a pitcher, you have to be in the game at all times even when things get tough. This has helped me in life and in school to always work hard, pursue my dreams and never give up.”
At MCHS, Rutherford is also a member of FCA, NHS and Beta Club, and freshman year was class vice president. In preparation for medical school, she earned a CNA certification this year as well.
“Taking college courses at NFCC has most definitely prepared me for my next step,” said Rutherford. “NFCC has taught me to work hard and has showed me how fun it is to learn something new.”
Matthew Tucker, a resident of Jasper and graduate of Westwood Christian School, began his journey at NFCC in 2016 as a high school dual enrollment student. He has since earned an Associate in Arts degree and his Certified Production Technician certification at the College and this May will complete his Associate in Science in Engineering Technology. Tucker plans to continue his education at the University of Florida to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering, and then hopes to attend MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to complete a PhD.
“Although my AS degree journey is reaching the final stages, the road paved to obtain such a degree is solely thanks to the career ladder and opportunities that NFCC has provided,” said Tucker. “I first got engaged in my AS degree pursuit by first attending a robotics camp hosted by the college, an opportunity which not only sparked the fire for higher learning but also showed a way in which to obtain such a learning.”
Matthew has excelled in his studies at NFCC and in April received the 2018-2019 Outstanding Student Award in Engineering Technology. He credits NFCC for helping pave “the metaphorical road” to his future through “the development of crucial cognitive thinking skills, the installation of mathematical ideal/manipulations, and the creation of a solid academic workmanship.”
Tucker now serves as an academic coach in the NFCC’s Wrap Around program, mentoring fellow students, and assists with teaching the robotics camps at the NFCC Career and Technical Education Center where his interest in pursuing an engineering career first began.
“The robotics camp is by far my most cherished moments [at NFCC],” said Tucker. “The first time that I attended the robotics camp in 2016 was both fascinating and educational, from programming to learning the mechanics of robotic movement, and from that moment seeded the interest of engineering into my mind. Several years after my first robotics camp experience, I was given the opportunity to help teach a robotics camp. From that opportunity, I was able to give back to the college and help others like NFCC helped me.”
His advice and encouragement to up-and-coming students and future NFCC graduates is that “you can achieve anything that you put your mind to.”
NFCC is proud to recognize and congratulate Reese Rutherford and Matthew Tucker on being named to the 2019 All-Florida Academic Team. For more information, contact the NFCC College Advancement office at 850-973-1653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.