News - 02/28/2013

MiraCosta College Students Named to All-California Academic Team

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One was a student at Santana High School when a gunman opened fire at the crowded campus in 2001. Another was a Marine Corps sergeant who served at several military hospitals in Iraq.

Both are now MiraCosta College students and both have been named to the Phi Theta Kappa All-California Academic Team. Deangelo Brown and Amanda Lingenfelter will be honored for their achievements at a March 6 awards luncheon in Sacramento.

“It means a lot to me,” said Brown, a 32-year-old Oceanside resident who served 11 years with the Marine Corps. “I know I work hard, but it’s nice to be recognized by others.”

Brown was named to Phi Theta Kappa’s First Team, a rarity for MiraCosta College students. He earns a $300 regional scholarship, and is now in the running for state and national awards.

Phi Theta Kappa was founded in Missouri in 1918. Its mission is to “recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students” and “provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming.”

“They’re looking for well-rounded students,” Brown said. “People who are involved in the community and volunteer for different groups. It’s a great organization.”

Lingenfelter, a single mom who graduated from Santana High School and knew both of the victims killed in the 2001 shooting there, was named to Phi Theta Kappa’s Third Team and also is eligible for scholarships.

“I was stoked when I found out,” Lingenfelter said. “I was like, `I’m going to Sacramento!’”

It’s a long way from an odyssey that began at Santana High School in March of 2001 when two students she knew were killed after a gunman opened fire. She was just a few feet from a campus security guard who was wounded in the shooting. A junior at the time, she was excelling in her classes. But that suddenly changed.

“I had never missed a day of school up until that point,” she said. “But then I started ditching and I failed some classes.”

Lingenfelter still graduated with a 3.4 GPA, but passed on going to college. She was engaged at 19, married at 20, gave birth to a son at 21, and was divorced at 23.  

Her life changed again when she took a job taking care of an elderly San Diego woman. “During one of our last conversations, she asked what I wanted to do with my life. After going to her funeral, I decided I wanted to work with the elderly.”

Lingenfelter, who now works at two elder care centers while going to MiraCosta College, plans to transfer to San Diego State University next fall and earn a master’s degree in gerontology. Ultimately, she would like to open a home for the elder-care home, or perhaps run a hospice organization.  

“This recognition makes me feel like all the hard work is paying off,” she said.

Deangelo Brown feels the same way.  Brown joined the Marine Corps in 1998 and was stationed in Quantico, Va., Camp Pendleton and Okinawa, Japan, before being sent to Iraq, where he was stationed in 2006 and 2007.

The father of three left the Corps in 2011 and decided to enroll at MiraCosta College en route to earning a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. “MiraCosta has a reputation as being the Harvard of community colleges,” he said. “It’s a good school.”

Brown has a 3.96 GPA and plans to transfer to Harvey Mudd College, Harvard, USD or a University of California campus in the fall. He said he would like to do research on satellite communications equipment or teach on the university level. 

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