Special to The Collegian

Leéna Boone, who enrolled in her first class at Lorain County Community College when she was just 12 years old, has just been named one of the top 20 community college students in the country and the number one community college student in Ohio.

 Boone, of Grafton, is now 17 years old and a senior at Lorain County Early College High School, a combined high school and college experience on the LCCC campus.  The Lorain County Early College High School is a partnership between LCCC, Elyria City Schools and Lorain City Schools. In May, Boone will graduate with two LCCC associate degrees, a high school diploma, and a world of opportunity.

One of twenty

 Boone is one of just 20 students to be named to the All-USA Academic Team nationwide and will receive a $5,000 scholarship. The All-USA program is widely recognized as the most prestigious academic honor for students attending associate degree-granting institutions. All-USA Academic Team members were selected for their outstanding intellectual achievement, leadership, and community and campus engagement.

 Boone placed first in Ohio and was also named a 2020 New Century Transfer Scholar and will receive an additional $2,250 scholarship. Over 2,000 students were nominated from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Transfer Scholar is selected from each state.

 “Leéna is a stand-out student at LCCC and we are thrilled to see her recognized at the national level,” LCCC President Marcia J.  Ballinger, Ph.D., said. “In addition to her impressive academic achievements, Leéna is a leader on campus and has taken full advantage of every opportunity at LCCC and Early College. We are so proud of her and can’t wait to see what she will accomplish in the future.”

Boone                                 Submitted photo

 Boone, who first enrolled in LCCC classes through the College Credit Plus program at the age of 12, has served as president of the LCCC’s student chapter of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). She has also presented her research on the mechanisms of resistance to HIV infection at national, statewide and local conferences. At the ASM conference in 2017, she was one of the youngest presenters, and she won first place at the Microscopy Society of Northeast Ohio conference in Oberlin last year.

“Leéna Boone is an amazing individual. She has presented her work at two national conferences and has amazed scientists from Harvard to Stanford with her maturity sophistication and impressive drive,” said LCCC microbiology professor Harry Kestler, Ph.D. “She will accomplish great things. I am extremely proud of her.”

 Boone is also a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, an elite scholarship program for students transferring from community colleges to top-ranked or Ivy League colleges and universities. Boone is in the process of interviewing with Harvard University, Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, among other institutions.

 A car accident when she was 10 years old left Boone with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a rare disease that causes chronic pain. Boone aims to earn a Ph.D. and become a medical researcher, to help find relief for people who suffer from conditions like hers.

 The All-USA Academic Team is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group, with additional support provided by Phi Theta Kappa and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

 LCCC student Dulce Cintron also received a national ranking in the competition, earning the Coca Cola Silver Academic Team Award. Cintron is a senior in Lorain County Early College High School. She will receive a $1,250 scholarship and be recognized at the Phi Theta Kappa conference in April.

 “We congratulate Leéna and Dulce for receiving these prestigious and highly competitive scholarships that recognize outstanding achievements both inside and outside the classroom,” said Phi Theta Kappa’s President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “Scholarship programs like these not only recognize student achievement, but also create meaningful pathways for college students to succeed by putting completion within financial reach.

 The New Century Program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa, and AACC. The New Century Transfer Scholars and All-USA Academic Team will be recognized at Phi Theta Kappa’s Presidents Breakfast in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 30 during the AACC Convention.

 Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations, with approximately 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges.

 For more about Leena, visit https://www.lorainccc.edu/stories/scientific-superstar/