SAN MARCOS (August 6, 2015) –Palomar College student Maylin Caldwell was named along with nine other two-year college students nationwide as a recipient of the 2015 Phi Theta Kappa Hites Transfer Scholarship. The 10 students together are receiving a total of $75,000 to assist in the attainment of baccalaureate degrees.

The Hites Transfer Scholarship Program, made possible by support from the Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation and the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, supports the outstanding academic achievement of Phi Theta Kappa members.

Scholarships of $7,500 each have been awarded to each of this year’s 10 Hites Scholars. Students enrolled in associate degree programs and preparing to transfer to a regionally-accredited baccalaureate degree-granting senior institution in the fall of 2015 were eligible to apply. Judges reviewed and scored applications for academic rigor, leadership and engagement. The 2015 Hites Transfer Scholars were selected from more than 2,100 applicants worldwide.

This is the second year Caldwell has received a Phi Theta Kappa award. Last year, she was recognized as an “outstanding scholar” and selected for the Phi Theta Kappa All California Academic Team along with Palomar College student Anh Tran. Caldwell and Tran were honored at an awards luncheon in Sacramento by the Community College League of California (CCLC).

Caldwell, who was a tutor in Palomar’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Center this past year, has served as vice president of Palomar’s Alpha Omega Rho chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). Katy French, associate professor of library technology and one of the club’s advisors said of Caldwell, “Maylin possesses the energy, attitude and communication skills of a great leader…. she is devoted to improving herself and the lives of others.   I was thrilled to learn that she won the Hites Scholarship and can add that to her other academic successes.”


The 2015 Hites Transfer Scholarship recipients are:


Nathaniel Bush, Alpha Theta Delta Chapter, Central Arizona College, AZ

Maylin Caldwell, Alpha Omega Rho Chapter, Palomar College, CA

Mary Gladbach, Alpha Iota Gamma Chapter, Johnson County Community College, KS

Spencer Haydary, Omicron Eta Chapter, Rock Valley College, IL

Ryan Joseph, Omega Nu Chapter, Delgado Community College, LA

Robin Kay Keel, Alpha Xi Pi Chapter, Motlow State Community College, TN

Rachael Nelson, Pi Epsilon Chapter, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, MS

Hyo Jung Shin, Lambda Sigma Chapter, Queensborough Community College, NY

Andrew Sypher, Omicron Beta Chapter, Mesa Community College, AZ

Wafa Zeidan, Beta Theta Omicron Chapter, Skyline College, CA


In 2007, the Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation challenged the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation to raise $350,000, which would be matched almost 2-1 by the Hites Family Foundation to create the $1 million scholarship endowment. During the Society’s 2009 Annual Convention, Foundation Trustees announced that Phi Theta Kappa had not only met, but exceeded the challenge, and the Hites Foundation issued a second, equally-successful matching challenge. In 2010, the Hites Foundation gave an additional $250,000 grant to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation for the scholarship endowment to allow more scholarships to be awarded to Society members.

The Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation was established by Robert Hites, an executive with Ralston-Purina in St. Louis, Missouri. Upon his retirement he fulfilled a lifelong dream and became an instructor at St. Louis Community College.

Hites turned down opportunities to teach at prestigious senior institutions because he valued the educational experience offered by community colleges and he witnessed the determination and will to succeed of his community college students. He also came to understand their needs and was determined to help them achieve their dreams, as he had achieved his.

Ray Hites, President of the Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation and Robert’s brother, served as a Trustee for the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation until his death in 2015. His wife, Jackie Hites, now serves as a Trustee.

The Phi Theta Kappa Foundation is focused on long-term financial stability for Phi Theta Kappa. It is dependent upon the generosity of individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations to ensure its future through support of existing and establishment of new endowment funds. For more information on how to contribute to scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa members through the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, visit or contact Dr. Nancy Rieves, CEO, at 1.800.946.9995, ext. 3537.

Phi Theta Kappa, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, U.S. territorial possessions and eight sovereign nations. More than 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 134,000 students inducted annually.

For more information about the Phi Theta Kappa, go to


Melinda Finn, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365,
Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs Office, 760_744-1150, ext. 2152,
Katy French, Library 760-744-1150, ext. 3640,