Justin Minyard

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Student Earns EMCC Golden Triangle’s First Guistwhite Award

EMCC Guistwhite Scholar

Rebecca Sepaugh of Mathiston is the first-ever East Mississippi Community College Golden Triangle campus student to win a Guistwhite Scholarship. She’ll graduate from EMCC May 9 before moving on to Ole Miss to study criminal justice.

MAYHEW, Miss. (Press Release) — Rebecca Sepaugh never got the chance to rack up scholarships in high school. But after two years at East Mississippi Community College, she’s sitting on nearly $20,000 and will soon take her place as one of the best students ever to come out of EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus.

A resident of Mathiston, Sepaugh will graduate May 9 as the only EMCC Golden Triangle student to earn a Guistwhite Scholarship. The $5,000 award is given annually to just 20 community college students across the country through Phi Theta Kappa honor society. The Starkville Christian School graduate also earned a Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship through PTK and a William Winter Scholarship, which is presented to one student from each institution of higher learning in the state.

After being home-schooled through her junior year in high school, Sepaugh wasn’t certain she was ready for a university atmosphere after just one year at Starkville Christian, so she opted for the smaller class sizes and individualized attention available at EMCC.

“I had some friends at EMCC and knew some teachers, so I thought it would be a great experience. It ended up being better than I could have imagined,” said Sepaugh.

Listing Sepaugh’s achievements through PTK, which also include a spot on the 2014 Mississippi All-Academic team, EMCC PTK sponsor and instructor Kelly Cantrell joked that the special medallions, cords and stoles Sepaugh will wear at graduation could pose a hazard.

“We’re hoping she doesn’t tip over from all the weight,” said Cantrell.

After instructing Sepaugh in eight courses over the past two years, Cantrell said it was quickly evident that Sepaugh would leave EMCC as one of its most decorated graduates.

“She’s quiet but she always participates in class. That hand just flies through the air. And she always has something interesting to add to class discussions,” said Cantrell. “She’s very driven. She’s not happy unless she makes an A on every exam.”

In addition to representing EMCC this year at PTK International Convention in Orlando, Fla., and Mississippi/Louisiana Regional Convention at Jones County Junior College, where she was honored with Order of the Golden Key recognition, Sepaugh earned outstanding student awards in criminal justice, art appreciation and sociology at EMCC. She served as a Journey East orientation leader and vice president of the Golden Triangle campus chapter of PTK and is currently serving an internship with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office’s chief investigator as she hopes one day to become an FBI agent.