NICC student Maren Larsen named to All-USA Academic Team and a New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar
Friday, March 10, 2023
The All-USA program is widely recognized as the most prestigious academic honor for students attending associate’s degree-granting institutions. All-USA Academic Team members were selected for their outstanding intellectual achievement, leadership, and community and campus engagement.
CALMAR & PEOSTA, Iowa—Maren Larsen, a Computer Science and Security – Associate of Applied Science student at Northeast Iowa Community College, has received two of the nation’s top scholarships recognizing outstanding academic achievement among college students.
Larsen is one of 20 students to be named to the USA TODAY’s All-USA Academic Team and will receive a $2,500 scholarship. The All-USA program is widely recognized as the most prestigious academic honor for students attending associate’s degree-granting institutions. All-USA Academic Team members were selected for their outstanding intellectual achievement, leadership, and community and campus engagement.
Larsen has also been named a 2023 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar and will receive an additional $1,250 scholarship. New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, service and significant endeavors. More than 2,400 students were nominated from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar is selected from each state.
“The evening when I received these awards was a blur. I remember when I was named to the All-USA Academic Team everyone in the room stood up and clapped. That made me so proud. I was in awe of that moment,” said Larsen, who was honored at the Phi Theta Kappa state conference on Feb. 27. “I'm proud to represent Iowa. Our state has long been a leader in higher education. I went to two other schools in Iowa – Luther College, where I earned a B.A. in English and Iowa State University, where I earned an M.A. in English. And now I’m finishing another educational goal at a school in Iowa, an Associate of Applied Science degree from Northeast Iowa Community College.”
Larsen is looking forward to a future career in cybersecurity, at a time when computer security threats and breaches are reported nationwide frequently. She served as president and past secretary of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at the Calmar campus and will graduate from NICC in May.
“With the increasing threats in cybersecurity, I feel it’s important for computer science professionals to be well-versed in this area. I find it frightening how people take advantage of networks to exploit vulnerabilities in order to steal data or hold it for ransom. In a couple of my classes, we learned about the different attacks and how to ‘harden’ networks against them. I think it would be interesting to monitor different types of attacks and work on ways to mitigate them,” she said.
The scholarships awarded to Larsen are the second time a Northeast Iowa Community College student has received the two honors. Carrie Klein, an NICC Nursing student, was honored in 2019.
At the Feb. 27 Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society conference, all four NICC student members of the All-Iowa Academic Team were recognized. The other students include Joe Stovall, an Associate of General Studies student from the Peosta campus; Emma Lueck, a Dental Assisting student from Peosta; and Olivia Hilby, an Agriculture Business program student from the Calmar campus.
NICC President Dr. Herbert H. J. Riedel will accompany Maren Larsen to the Association of American Community Colleges Conference in Denver, Colo., on April 3 where she will receive national recognition.
“We are extremely proud of Maren for her remarkable accomplishment. Congratulations to her and everyone at NICC who had a role in teaching, mentoring, and supporting her,” Riedel said.
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 10 nations. Learn more at ptk.org.