All-Minnesota Academic Team Celebration


Jessica Jackson & Andrew Akem represent DCTC as  PTK scholars

Dakota County Technical College hosted the 2012 All-Minnesota Academic Team Celebration March 30, 2012, at the Eagan Community Center in Eagan, Minn. Students from 21 two-year colleges in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system were honored for their selection to the 2011–2012 All-Minnesota Academic Team, which recognizes scholars for their hard work and dedication in pursuit of personal and academic goals while contributing to the success of friends, family and the community.

Two DCTC students, Jessica Jackson, a double major in Early Childhood and Youth Development and Child Life Assistant, and Andrew Akem, an Information Systems Management major, represented the college on this prestigious team. Both are active members in the college’s Beta Theta Tau chapter.

Team history

The All-State Academic Team was introduced nearly 20 years ago to honor and recognize two-year college students for their leadership, academic achievement, and community and college service.

In 1994, state academic teams were introduced as a way to provide scholarships and scholastic recognition to Phi Theta Kappa members while promoting excellence at two-year colleges. The state academic teams are a division of the Academic All-American Team for Community, Technical and Junior College Students, an international program sponsored annually by Phi Theta Kappa, USA Today, and the American Association of Community Colleges.

Minnesota’s public community and technical colleges are proud to be part of a tradition that showcases the high achievements of students who are committed to success in the classroom and service to their communities. By recognizing these students, Minnesota demonstrates a commitment to scholarship and community service as essential objectives in the state’s public community and technical colleges.

Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, symbolizes excellence in higher education and a commitment to students. Phi Theta Kappa has recognized and encouraged scholarship among two-year college students for 80 years, providing stimulation and enrichment while promoting the academic integrity of the associate degree program. For these reasons, the American Association of Community Colleges has designated Phi Theta Kappa the official honor society for two-year colleges.

The celebration’s recognition program included:
  • Welcome from DCTC President Ronald E. Thomas, Ph.D.
  • Remarks from Christine Rice, MnSCU Board of Trustees, and Doug Knowlton, MnSCU Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
  • Student Recognition led by Linda Tetzlaff, English Faculty & PTK Advisor, Normandale Community College, & Sue Grove, Emeritus Faculty & PTK Advisor, Riverland Community College
  • New Century Scholar Recognition: Bradley Conley, Minneapolis Community and Technical College
  • Closing Remarks from President Thomas
Visit the DCTC Photostream on Flickr for photographs from the event.
Jessica Jackson | All-Minnesota Academic TeamJessica Jackson, 28, served during the Iraq War as a U.S. Army sergeant and unit supply specialist with the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky. She did a one-year tour of duty in Mosul, Iraq, and was in-country when hostilities commenced. A native of  Florence, S.C., Jessica plans to graduate from the Early Childhood & Youth Development and Child Life Assistant programs in spring 2012. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree (and then possibly her master’s) at either UW-Stout or UW-River Falls, but she is leaning toward Stout (it’s closer to Green Bay and Jessica is a huge Packers fan).

Jessica was a top-10 finisher at the SkillsUSA Championships June 22 and 23, 2011, during the 47th Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference in  Kansas City, Mo. She placed fourth nationally in the Preschool Teaching Assistant competition. At the 45th Annual Minnesota SkillsUSA Championship Conference in Bloomington, Minn., March 23–25, 2012, she took a silver medal in the same category. She enjoys competing and highly recommends SkillsUSA for leadership development and the chance to apply academic knowledge in high-pressure situations.

Jessica testified before the Veterans Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives on behalf of the Higher Education Veterans Program of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. She is married with two children, Jaden, 7, and Justin, 2. Her husband, Jerome, is also a U.S. Army veteran. They both have experience working in our Veterans Resource Center. The Jackson family moved to Rosemount in December 2011.

Andrew Akem | All-Minnesota Academic TeamAndrew Akem, 50, is originally from Fundong, a town in the Northwest Region of Cameroon, a country of 19 million people in Central Africa. Andrew studied law at the University of Yaoundéin Yaoundé, Cameroon’s national capital. He practiced criminal and human rights law for many years in Cameroon. Protecting the human rights of his fellow Cameroonians became his life’s passion. Deeply impressed with his work, the British Consul brought him to London for human rights training, a move that angered the Cameroon authorities.

Andrew and his family took asylum in the U.S. in 2005, first settling in Texas. The family eventually moved to Minnesota after Andrew visited the state and loved what he found. He is switching careers to IT and chose DCTC due the hands-on, practical nature of its Information Systems programs. He is majoring in Information Systems Management and plans to attend Metro State, first to earn a bachelor’s and then his master’s degree. His career goals are focused on working as a database administrator.

Andrew is married with four children, Alexandra, 10, Eugenia, 16, Sandrine, 20, and Bernard, 21. His wife, Martina, has a master’s degree in biology. Bernard is majoring in medical engineering at Normandale and also serves as the college’s PTK president. Sandrine also attends Normandale and is pursuing a career in pharmacy. The Akem family will soon move to Rosemount.

To learn more about Phi Theta Kappa at DCTC, contact:
  • Sara Woodward
    Exercise and Sport Science Instructor | PTK Advisor
  • Carrie Schneider
    Director of Institutional Research | PTK Advisor