Meet Rio Salado College’s 2024 All-Arizona Academic Scholars


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Monday, January 29, 2024
All-AZ Honorees Kesha Shelton and Beka Namachanja pose in a graphic

Left: Kesha Shelton, Right: Beka Namachanja

Rio Salado students Beka Namachanja and Kesha Shelton are the Rio Salado College’s representatives to the 2024 All-Arizona Academic Team and will join honorees at a recognition ceremony on Feb. 28.

The All-Arizona Academic Team is part of the All-USA Scholarship competition sponsored by PTK. Students selected to the team receive undergraduate tuition transfer scholarships toward pursuing their first bachelor’s degree at an Arizona university.

Beka Namachanja

Namachanja enrolled at Rio Salado after seeing the impact of mental health issues during the COVID19 pandemic. Her major focus is on Behavioral Health Science, particularly in the Addictions and Substance Abuse Disorders program. With a diverse professional background, she realized the importance of aligning her career with her passion. She will complete her associate degree this spring and plans to enroll at Arizona State University, aiming for a bachelor's and master's in psychology. Her long-term goals include completing a doctorate, delving into the clinical side of mental health, possibly exploring psychology and neuroscience, with a potential interest in teaching.

Namachanja currently serves as Rio Salado College’s student senator and chair of the Maricopa Community College District’s student senate. She is also a member of Rio Salado’s Phi Theta Kappa, or PTK, chapter, the national community college honors and leadership program.

Kesha Shelton

Kesha Shelton decided to seek a better career to support herself and her three children after moving to the Phoenix area a few years ago. The flexibility of the online college allowed her to work on her studies while also working, a necessity as a single mom. She is finishing her degree in Early Childhood Education with plans to attend a state university to complete a bachelor’s degree, possibly in justice studies, followed by a master's in educational leadership. She is exploring a future role in educational leadership.

She credits community and college support for helping her achieve her goal - and her 4.0 GPA. Shelton, like Namachanja, is also a member of the college’s PTK, chapter, the national community college honors and leadership program, as well as the college’s National Student Leadership Society.

Keep watch on the Rio Salado website for additional stories and videos about our Rio Salado representatives. Congratulations and get wishes to you both!

All AZ Scholars Criteria

To be eligible, students must have a GPA of 3.50 or higher (4.0 scale), be in good academic standing and demonstrate leadership skills and involvement in campus or community volunteerism.

Each year Rio Salado College selects two students to join the All-Arizona Academic Team. Not only is being chosen for this prestigious team an honor, it comes with a scholarship ($500, $750, or $1,000), plus a two-year full-time (or four-year part-time) tuition waiver scholarship to one of Arizona’s three state universities (Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, or the University of Arizona). In addition to those substantial awards, members of the All-Arizona Team are also eligible to apply for more scholarships, including the All-USA Academic Team scholarship, which can award up to $5,000.