Three Edmonds College students recognized on All-Washington Academic Team

L-R: Dariga Rakhat, Louella Cook and Xiang Gao

Edmonds College students Louella Cook, Xiang Gao and Dariga Rakhat have been selected as members of the 2024 All-Washington (All-WA) Academic Team.

The three were scheduled to be honored during a ceremony at South Puget Sound Community College Thursday, April 25. Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an honor society serving two-year colleges, selects team members based on their academic achievements and community service each year.

“Louella, Xiang, and Dariga are outstanding students and making an impact on campus and in their communities,” said Edmonds College President Dr. Amit B. Singh. “Their educational journeys are commendable and inspirational. They are all very deserving members of the All-Washington Academic Team.”

This year’s team of over 90 students will receive a $250 KeyBank scholarship and All-WA recognition at the ceremony. In addition, Rakhat is among the top 16 students, as ranked by PTK, who will receive an additional $750 from WSECU. The top three will receive an extra $1,000 from the Washington State Association of College Trustees.

About the scholars:

Dariga Rakhat – Transfer Pathway Scholarship

Rakhat maintains a 3.85 GPA and is among the top 16 All-Washington Scholarship recipients and will receive an additional $750 from WSECU. She will earn an associate in engineering this spring and intends to enroll at a four-year institution this fall.

“This major will help me become a better version of myself,” she wrote in her scholarship application. “My goal is to help people solve problems and develop new things. I want to enjoy the work. Engineering can help me get my dream job and open a new world of opportunities.”

At Edmonds College, Rakhat is the president of the chess club, vice president of the robotics club, secretary of the rocketry club, a member of the Society of Women Engineers club and participated on the cross country team. She also volunteers at the Lynnwood Food Bank and numerous campus events.

Louella Cook – Transfer Pathway Scholarship

Over the last five years, Cook has overcome homelessness, addiction and a physical disability to excel in the classroom and become a leader in the community. She has been an impactful speaker at diversion centers, managed a clean and sober facility, and mentored women in their recovery journey and people with a substance use disorder. She has also selflessly served others experiencing homelessness.

“I have turned my life around and will be a substance use disorder professional,” she wrote. “After a year (of sobriety), I became the manager of Hineline Solutions, a halfway house helping people rebuild their lives. I then realized I could become someone important in the community. I get a lot of joy in helping people recovering from addictions succeed in life.”

Cook will earn her associate in addiction studies this spring and plans to enroll in the Edmonds College Child, Youth, and Families Studies BAS program this fall.

Xiang Gao – Workforce Pathway Scholarship

Gao is an honor roll student with a 3.99 GPA in construction management and hopes to be a project manager with a general contracting firm. He won the 2023 CMAA (Construction Management Association of America) scholarship and is an official in the Construction Management Student Association (CMSA).

“I have loved construction since I was a kid,” wrote Gao, who attended engineering school in China. “As I got older, I still loved to work with my hands with wood, stones and all kinds of building materials. My parents selected mechanical engineering as my career path despite my interest. Although I succeeded in that field, I always wanted to make a career change.”

Gao graduated from Tsinghua University and headed E-business sales for a Chinese company. He has also worked for i9 Sports, where he volunteered as a youth football coach and helped prepare food at local homeless shelters.

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