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OU Student Named Cooke Scholar

OU Student Named Cooke Scholar

Portrait of Tyler McKenzie

University of Oklahoma student Tyler McKenzie is one of 50 students nationwide to be named a 2020 Cooke Scholar.

McKenzie was recently awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship – a scholarship for the nation’s top community college students seeking to complete their bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.

A native of Mustang, Oklahoma, McKenzie earned an associate degree in pre-professional sciences from Redlands Community College and is now a biology major with a pre-med emphasis at OU.

“Being named a Cooke Scholar is still surreal to me,” said McKenzie. “The foundation has not only provided a path for me to complete my degree without financial burden, but it has also given me a family of immensely diverse individuals who I am so appreciative to know. I am extremely grateful for the foundation and their confidence in community college students like me.”

In addition to financial support, Cooke Scholars receive comprehensive educational advising from the foundation to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year college and preparing for their careers. Scholars will also receive opportunities for internships, study abroad and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a network of over 2,700 fellow Cooke Scholars and alumni.

For McKenzie, having grown up surrounded by a family full of OU graduates, deciding to continue his education at OU was an easy decision.

“With multiple relatives completing their degrees at OU, it only seemed fitting that I continued the tradition,” he said. “I was also eager to participate in the limitless opportunities for student involvement and undergraduate research that the university offers, and of course, Sooner football.”

McKenzie received numerous recognitions during his time at Redlands Community College, including the All-Oklahoma Academic Team Award, the President’s Award, and he was accepted into the George and Donna Nigh Leadership Scholarship Academy.

He was an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges, and he recently completed a term as the international vice president for Division 3, representing a nine-state region.

Nearly 1,500 students from 311 community colleges nationwide applied for the 2020 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The foundation evaluated each submission based on students’ academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, leadership and service to others. This year’s class of recipients represent 17 different states.

More information on McKenzie and the Cooke Scholars Program can be found at

By Mackenzie Scheer

Article Published:  Wednesday, October 21, 2020