Presidential Scholars

Presidential Scholar - Vanessajane Bayna

Vanessajane Bayna graduated fourth from Mount Pleasant High School (MPHS) last spring.  She was a member of the National Honor Society (NHS), and the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS). While at MPHS she designed a custom filament runout sensor for 3D printing machines. This past summer she performed research at the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University (SMU) for the NTCC film project. She will present some of this work at the 2023 Fall Meeting of the WPWS of Texas in Houston.




Presidential Scholar - Perla Guzman

Perla Guzman is the 2023-24 Texas Heritage National Bank Scholar of NTCC.  She was the 2023 salutatorian of MPHS.  She was a member of the NHS, the NTHS, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).  She helped the MPHS math team place first at several invitational meets through her University Interscholastic League (UIL) career, and helped coach Osias Hernandez mentor upcoming UIL competitors.  Guzman participated in the film research of last summer at SMU, and is treasurer of the Honors Student Council.




Presidential Scholar - Michelle Mejia

Michelle Mejia was the 2023 salutatorian of Como Pickton High School (CPHS).  She was a member of the NHS, Future Farmers of America (FFA), and the Family, Career, Community Leaders of America. One recommender described her as “extremely conscientious” in her studies. In biology at NTCC her sample of moss led to the first authenticated discovery of tardigrades in Hopkins County, Texas.




Presidential Scholar - Neida Perez

Neida Perez is the 2023-24 James and Elizabeth Whatley Scholar of Honors Northeast and NTCC’s nominee for student president of the Great Plains Honors Council.  A graduate of MPHS, in March of 2023, she won a second-in-state Caldwell Award for the upper (university) division for her essay on Texas’ struggles with pathogens.  The state board of the Touchstone journal has also elected to publish this article.  The Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) has also elected Perez to represent the “upper division” of students in higher education in Texas to present her work at their upcoming meeting in the spring of 2024 in College Station. Perez has won two $100 Eckman Awards for the highest honors seminar GPAs, and a $200 Dr. Charles Florio Award for leadership. Perez presented a variation of her work on microbes at the Meeting of the GPHS in Wichita Falls last spring.  In November, Perez will present her Texas-themed study at the meeting of the NCHC in Chicago.




Presidentail Scholar - Madelynn Smith

Madelynn Smith is the Gladys Winkle Scholar of NTCC.  A graduate of Mount Vernon High School, she has placed in every one of the three contests staged by Honors Northeast during her stay at NTCC:  She won $100, and 4th place in the 2022 Northeast Texas Poetry contest for her work, “The Nights of Days.”  She won $100 and fourth place for her poster presentation at the McGraw Hill Poster contest of 2023 for her work on pets and insomnia.  She won $300 and 2nd at the 2023 poetry contest for her work, “Our Texas Sky.”  Her work on pets and insomnia also won 2nd place in the poster division of the 2023 Red River Honors Symposium (RRHS) last spring. Smith is also an award-winning painter.




Presidentail Scholar - AmyVazquez

Amy Vazquez is the 2023-24 Cypress Bank Scholar on NTCC, receiving a new Dell laptop for use during her time at NTCC.  She graduated ninth in her class at MPHS last spring.  She was a member of the NHS, the NTHS, and HOSA.  She has won awards from the local Rotary as well as the National Hispanic Recognition Program.




Presidentail Scholar - Aubry Watkins

Aubrey Watkins’s essay on the rise of the Cowboy Church won a fourth-in-the-state Caldwell Award at the meeting of the Texas State Historical Association in El Paso in March of 2023.  The editors of the journal, Touchstone, have also accepted this article for publication. Watkins also placed first in the poster division of the 2023 RRHS for her work on self-esteem, and 2-year, and 4-year college students.  She has supported two years of filming at NTCC playing major roles, and helped present the suffragette film work at the 2022 fall meeting of the WPWS in Nacogdoches.  Last spring, her essay on Vikings placed second in the Bonny Spencer contest. Last summer, Watkins won a $250 Texas STAR award of Phi Theta Kappa.  A 2022 graduate of Paul Pewitt High School, Watkins has served as a legal clerk for the Luckey Law Firm of Omaha.