Student Leaders Gain Advocacy Skills at National ASACC Conference

by Diane VanDyke

Seven members from Montgomery County Community College attended the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASACC) National Student Advocacy and Leadership Conference last month in Washington D.C.

The student representatives included Abu Chowdhury, Lansdale; Jessica Stewart, Pottstown; Daniel Wrubel, Pottstown; Serena Dunlap, Gilbertsville; Ariel Mookherji, Plymouth Meeting; Mike Guarini, Plymouth Meeting; and Brent Worthington, Norristown. The College’s Director of Student Leadership and Involvement Chris Coia accompanied the students.

Three students were selected for positions for ASACC during the upcoming 2013-14 term:

Worthington was selected as the new ASACC President.  At MCCC, he is a Student Government Association Senator and President of the Student Veterans Organization. He served in the military for 10 years and was deployed to combat zones three times.  In addition to his classes and campus activities, he volunteers with the Norristown Fire Department and local EMS 308 as a paramedic.

Dunlap was selected as the ASACC Northeast Regional Representative. At MCCC, she is a Student Government Association Senator, Vice President of the Environmental Club, a member of Phi Theta Kappa and is in the College’s Honors Program.

Chowdhury was selected by ASACC to become a liaison for students who transfer from community colleges to four-year institutions. He is currently the Student Government Association President for the Blue Bell campus and is a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance and Muslim Student Association. He also works in the Upward Bound program and in the College’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies Office. He participated in the Bucknell Summer Scholars program in 2012 and has applied to Bucknell to continue his education and earn his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and economics.

During the conference, the students met with Congressmen Jim Gerlach and Pat Meehan and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz. During these visits they discussed the importance of the Pell Grant, Perkins Funding for career and technical education, and the student debt crisis, among other concerns. The meetings and workshops held during the conference helped to prepare the students for their meetings with member of Congress.

One of the highlights of the conference was an address given by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, who received the ASACC National Service Award. Rice spoke about the importance of completing college and ensuring that access to college will continue to be available. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader also spoke to the students about the importance of advocating for the Pell Grant.

ASACC hosts the National Student Advocacy Conference each year in Washington D.C. to encourage students to become engaged citizens and leaders.

Pictured (from left) are:  Mike Guarini, Abu Chowdhury, Brent Worthington, Ariel Mookherji, Daniel Wrubel, Jessica Stewart,  and Serena Dunlap. Photo by Chris Coia

Pictured (from left) are: Mike Guarini, Abu Chowdhury, Brent Worthington, Ariel Mookherji, Daniel Wrubel, Jessica Stewart, and Serena Dunlap. Photo by Chris Coia

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