ʿⱦapp faculty and staff select one Academic Excellence Award winner each academic year during the spring semester.

Academic Excellence Award nominees must be actively pursuing an associate degree or diploma. Nominees also must have a cumulative grade point average of 4.0, have completed credits greater than or equal to 30, and be enrolled in the spring semester. A committee of three individuals reviews all applications and recommends a final nominee to ʿⱦapp President JB Buxton for selection.

2023 Academic Excellence Award Winner: Rufus King 

Rufus King has been named the recipient of the ʿⱦapp 2023 Academic Excellence Award, which recognizes outstanding academic achievements at the community college level. One student from each of the 58 North Carolina community colleges is awarded the honor.   

Rufus in hiking gear leading a backpacking trip in the mountains of NC/TennesseeKing is currently enrolled in the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) program and will be graduating with an Associate of Science degree. He will transfer to UNC-Chapel Hill to work towards his Bachelor of Science in psychology. 

His ultimate career goal is to earn a doctorate degree in psychology and run a medium-scale outdoor adventure organization with a focus on nature connection-based therapy. 

While a student at ʿⱦapp, he also worked on an independent research project, Sea-Phages, and served as board of directors for two non-profit organizations in Durham. 

“As a prior homeschooled student, the transition to the community college system was a bit daunting. However, once I arrived at ʿⱦappnical Community College I was quickly engulfed by a large network of support. Part of this support has come from the C-STEP program, which I am a member of, but also from the professors and students of ʿⱦapp,” said King. “One reason I love the community college system is that the smaller class sizes allow for students and professors to have a closer connection. This connection has been a vast help in my education. Community has always been a major part of my life, and here at ʿⱦapp, I have continued to feel like a part of a community.” 


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