Mustangs Soccer Players Earn First Team All-Conference Accolades

by Bob Kent

Tenzin Wangyal (left); Wilson Gonzalez (right)

Tenzin Wangyal (left); Wilson Gonzalez (right)

Mustangs men’s soccer players Wilson Gonzalez and Tenzin Wangyal have been named First Team All-EPAC.

The pair of midfielders was instrumental in securing key wins for head coach Obed Arango’s squad during an 8-4-1 season.

“The honor is well deserved,” said Arango. “Both players have a tremendous work ethic and great vision.”

A resident of Oreland, Pa., Wangyal played four years of soccer at Springfield High School. He moved to the United States with his family in 2008 from India and has certainly found a home with the Mustangs.

“Obviously, it’s a great honor to be included in the all-conference team,” said Wangyal. “But I want to give a big shout-out to my teammates and my coaches, because without them it wouldn’t have been possible.”

Gonzalez echoed those same sentiments, noting that while being named all-conference was a personal goal, his “main goal entering the season was to see the team do well.”

Gonzalez found his stride in the Sept. 20 game at CCP, where he posted a hat trick in an 8-0 shutout win. Wangyal, meanwhile, was a steady presence as a defensive midfielder. On the field the two developed some great chemistry.

“Tenzin’s a very good player who I clicked with since the beginning of season,” said Gonzalez, a graduate of Souderton Area High School. “He’s a very technical and very skilled player.”

As students at Montgomery County Community College, both are carving out their career paths.

Gonzalez is enrolled in the the Exercise Science and Wellness program as he plans to pursue a career as a physical therapist. He hopes to eventually transfer to Temple University, University of Pittsburgh or West Chester University. Wangyal is an Engineering major.

Medical Billing and Coding Class Opens Door to Rewarding Career

by Alana J. Mauger

Holly Gately, Audubon, found a new career—one that she’s “excited” about—in the growing field of medical billing and coding thanks to Montgomery County Community College.

“I was a 30-something year old mother whose children were all in school for the first time. I had no career or post-secondary education,” shared Gately, who, like many adult students, was nervous about going back to school.

“I talked about it with my family and decided to try this new career. I registered for class and got my books. My life was changed. This was a path I could get excited about,” she said.

The College’s Medical Billing and Coding course—funded in part by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and offered through the Commonwealth’s JobTrakPA program—is designed for those who want to begin medical billing and coding careers or prepare for certification examinations. The course teaches students the principles of medical coding using the health industry coding manuals of CPT, ICD-9 and ICD-10 and HCPCS.

“It wasn’t always easy to get all the homework and studying done with family [obligations], but I thrived. I excelled in the course and was given the opportunity to extern for a billing company,” said Gately, who completed the course among the top in her class.

Gately went on to pass the rigorous Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam on her first try, and she is currently employed in a billing and coding position with an ophthalmology practice.

“I am so glad that I decided to take a chance on a new path. I have a new career, self confidence, amazing people that I now call friends, and, most of all, I have pride in knowing that I accomplished something big and wonderful,” she said.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook cites that careers in medical records and health information technology are expected to grow by 22 percent through 2022—11 percent higher than the average occupation growth rate.

Registration is going on now for the next Medical Building and Coding cohort at MCCC. The class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-10 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (with a one hour break for lunch) starting Dec. 2 and running through Feb. 17 at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tuition is $1,350.

For more information about JobTrakPA programs at Montgomery County Community College, visit mc3.edu/workforcedevelopment/jobtrak, call the JobTrakPA hotline at 215-461-1468 or email jobtrakpa@mc3.edu.

Culinary Arts Institute Opens ‘Forty Foot Café

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College celebrated the launch of its newest entrepreneurial initiative today with a ribbon cutting ceremony for a retail bakery café at its Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) in Towamencin Township.

Opening its doors to the community next Wednesday, Oct. 15, Forty Foot Café will offer assorted baked goods, coffee, sandwiches and other items prepared and sold by CAI students. Revenue from the sales will support the Culinary Arts programs, and tips will help students pay for competition and event fees, aprons and other program-related items. The café will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8:30-11:30 a.m., with easy access and convenient parking from Forty Foot Road.

“The bakery café provides a hands-on opportunity for students to learn the soft skills of operating a business, including how to handle customers and any issues that may arise, like running out coffee,” CAI Director Francine Marz told the roomful of attendees who gathered for the ceremony. “The students operating the café are part of our new course, Retails Operations I, in which students learn these invaluable customer service skills, along with how to produce culinary items and baked goods on a large scale.”

College President Karen A. Stout praised the partnerships that facilitated CAI’s construction and growth.

“Vision and collaboration are necessary for a new business endeavor to prosper, and that is what we see at work here today,” she said. “This state-of-the-art facility for our culinary program was made possible by a public-private partnership with Towamencin Township and Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation.

“Our partners also include benefactors like Alma Jacobs, emeritus member of our Foundation Board of Directors and longtime supporter of the College, who invest in our students by providing scholarships,” Stout continued. “And our CAI team of instructors and administrators, who develop and implement programs that will provide our students with a well-developed spectrum of skills to succeed.”

The CAI’s future plans call for the opening of a restaurant bistro in the spring to coincide with the Retails Operations II and Quantitative Food courses that will be offered. Like the café, the bistro will feature rotating menu options prepared by the students in their courses.

For second-year culinary student Jennifer Rejniak, 38, of Glenside, the CAI and the J. Alexander and Alma Jacobs’ culinary scholarship enabled her to make a life-changing career decision. Rejniak worked as a park ranger for 10 years when she was seriously injured in a car accident and was advised not to return to that type of physically demanding work. So instead, she pursued her passion for cooking.

“It was a tough struggle to get here, but meeting my fellow classmates and hearing their hopes, fears and dreams solidified everything that I was feeling. . . Being a part of the inaugural class to step foot inside this beautiful facility has opened my eyes to the fact that I am part of something very special,” she said.

The name of the new retail bakery, Forty Foot Café, was the result of a contest and was submitted by Baking and Pastry Arts student Shannon Booker. As a result of her winning entry, she received a certificate and VIP luncheon for her and five guests.

Dean of Business & Entrepreneurial Initiatives/Strategic Advisor to the President Philip Needles, Culinary Arts Institute Director Chef Francine Marz, College President Karen A. Stout, College Board of Trustees Chairperson Michael D’Aniello and Culinary Arts Student Jennifer Rejniak cut the ceremonial ribbon for the opening of the Culinary Arts Institute’s new retail bakery café, Forty Foot Café. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Dean of Business & Entrepreneurial Initiatives/Strategic Advisor to the President Philip Needles, Culinary Arts Institute Director Chef Francine Marz, College President Karen A. Stout, College Board of Trustees Chairperson Michael D’Aniello and Culinary Arts Student Jennifer Rejniak cut the ceremonial ribbon for the opening of the Culinary Arts Institute’s new retail bakery café, Forty Foot Café. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Revisions to Education Curriculum Completed

by Alana J. Mauger

From pre-k to high school, teachers play an integral role in shaping students’ lives. And for decades, Montgomery County Community College’s Education programs have helped prepare teachers for the task. That preparation starts with an innovative curriculum that keeps pace with industry trends and transfer standards.

The College completed a multi-phase redesign of its Education programs in September, when the College’s Board of Trustees approved changes to the Secondary Education Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree program. That program completes the College’s redesigned Education portfolio, which also includes Education in the Early Years: Birth Through Grade Four A.A. and Education in the Middle Years: Grades Four through Eight A.A., approved in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

The Secondary Education A.A. program prepares students for transfer and ultimately certification to teach grades seven through 12. The program is divided into three distinct areas: liberal arts courses, professional education courses, and specific subject matter courses.

The College’s Education in the Early Years A.A. program, accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, prepares graduates for professional opportunities as teachers in early childhood settings and/or enables them to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree and teach elementary school up to grade four. The curriculum aligns with the statewide requirements for Early Childhood programs that ensure transfer to any of the fourteen universities in the state system of higher education.

Students enrolled in Education in the Middle Years A.A. program are required to select two areas of concentration, such as science and math, reading/language arts and social studies, or a similar combination (depending on the transfer institution). Graduates are prepared to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree and receive a Middle Years certification.

All three programs align with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) certification requirements, for which students must complete nine credits of special education courses and a three-credit course for teaching English language learners. Students must also take MCCC’s Introduction to Education course (EDU 100), which allows students to observe different classrooms at different grade levels and to learn about certification options and requirements, as well as Public Speaking (SPC 120) for Secondary and Teaching with Technology (EDU 120) for Middle Years and Secondary.

The Education program modifications also ensure that MCCC students can transfer seamlessly in to programs at four-year colleges and universities. In fact, the College worked closely with regional institutions to ensure that  students will transfer as juniors, having already fulfilled the schools’ first and second year requirements as long as they earn passing scores on the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) exams.

Visit the College’s Education webpage online to learn more.

Focus on Student Learning Earns College Recertification From Achieving the Dream

by Alana J. Mauger

AtD logoMontgomery County Community College continues to position itself at the forefront of student learning with recertification as a Leader College by Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (ATD), a national non-profit organization committed to helping more community college students succeed.

Even before joining ATD in 2006, the College was hard at work improving student learning outcomes by placing student access and success as top priorities in its strategic planning.

“Montgomery County Community College takes a holistic approach to student success,” explained Dr. Karen A. Stout, president. “By leveraging data to align our strategic planning efforts and budget decisions with student success goals, we are able to continually make improvements and remove barriers that impact retention and completion. At the same time, we’re able to engage faculty, administrators and staff from across disciplines and departments in our student success work.”

As part of its overarching Student Success Initiative, the College’s faculty and staff systematically examine all aspects of its students’ educational experiences both inside and outside the classroom—from enhancing student services, like advising and mentoring; to identifying and developing interventions for at-risk cohorts; to redesigning developmental curriculum and placement; to strengthening its focus on completion and increasing transfer opportunities.

Several of the College’s student success projects have national appeal. For example, Barbara Lontz, assistant professor of mathematics, developed a new way of teaching basic developmental math by conceptual units rather than topics. Her curriculum, “Concepts of Numbers,” encourages active learning by starting with a problem, solving it as a group, and then learning the applicable algorithms. The method has increased basic math success rates by 20 percent and math confidence rates by 20-35 percent at the College, and institutions are adopting Lontz’s curriculum and textbook across the U.S. “Concepts of Numbers” was honored as a national 2010 “Innovation of the Year” recipient by the League for Innovation in the Community College.

Another example of a project with broad appeal is “Montco Money Matters” a multimedia financial literacy prototype that helps students understand how to pay for college. The 30-minute, self-guided pilot program, funded through a Next Generation Learning Challenges EDUCAUSE grant, introduces students to the concept of paying for college through topics such as financial aid, loans, grants, scholarships and the long-term implications of current and future debt. The project’s next steps are to build out additional modules under the umbrella of financial literacy and to make the program accessible to school districts within Montgomery County and to the general population at large.

In addition to its work with Achieving the Dream and EDUCAUSE, the College’s student access and success efforts continue to gain momentum with President Stout’s participation in White House Summit for College Opportunity. First held in December 2013 and continuing through next year, the Summit has enabled the College to further develop initiatives around student advising and planning, financial literacy and mentoring—specifically designed to improve college access and completion for at-risk students.

Montgomery is one of 16 institutions in the country to be recertified as Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges in 2014. ATD also welcomed 16 new Leader College institutions to its ranks, bringing the total number of active Leader Colleges to 79. Other Pennsylvania institutions earning recertification this year include Community College of Beaver County, Community College of Philadelphia, and Delaware County Community College.

According to Achieving the Dream, Leader Colleges demonstrate the way in which data can inform policy and practice to help community college students achieve their goals, resulting in improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for families, communities, and the nation as a whole.

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s Student Success Initiative, visit its website at mc3.edu or its Think Success blog at mc3success.wordpress.com. To learn more about the work of Achieving the Dream, visit achievingthedream.org.

Students Visit Harrisburg for Legislator Shadowing Program

by Diane VanDyke

As part of a new pilot program, four Montgomery County Community College  female students recently spent a day with women members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in Harrisburg to explore careers in public service.

Last spring, the College hosted a legislative panel discussion, which was facilitated by Dr. Karen Stout, President, and featured Pennsylvania Representatives Madeline Dean, Kate Harper and Marcy Toepel, who shared their experiences as female members of the state Legislature. As a result of the discussion, the idea of a Legislator Shadowing Program was developed with a focus on introducing female students to career options in government.

Nationwide, only 1,784 women, or approximately 24.2 percent, serve in 50 state legislatures in 2014, according to data reported on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website. In Pennsylvania, there are 45 women, or about 17.8 percent, who serve in the legislature.

For the Legislator Shadowing Pilot, students Danielle Leonhardt and Gabrielle Scotti, both of Lansdale, Lavinia Soliman of Harleysville and Elizabeth Waddell of West Conshohocken, met with host Representative Marcy Toepel and Representatives Kate Harper, and Mary Jo Daley to learn about their careers, achievements, and experience.

During a roundtable discussion, the students also met with lobbyist Ashley DeMauro, Public Relations Coordinator Abbey Fosnot, Deputy Director Tricia Harris of the Governor’s Office of Public Liaison and Director of Special Events Kelly Fedeli of the Speakers Office, among others. Montgomery County Community College alumnus, Rep. Mike Vereb, who provided the conference room space for the discussions as well as lunch, also spoke to the students.

“The discussion was very informational and empowering,” said Soliman, who graduated from North Penn High School in 2013 and traveled in Europe for a year before starting at the College in August 2014. “They offered great advice about taking risks, pursuing your passion and working hard, which applies to all careers. It’s good to see other community college graduates in successful careers, too. I am so grateful for this opportunity.”

In addition to the discussion, students attended Rep. Harper’s Local Government Committee meeting, observed House and Senate sessions and received a behind-the-scenes tour.

“This was a special opportunity to help the students explore legislative careers by sharing our unique experiences as female legislators, including the work we do in Harrisburg and how past jobs have prepared us for our current positions,” said Representative Marcy Toepel. “Ideally, the shadowing program will add another dimension to what the students have been learning in the classroom.”

The new Legislator Shadowing Pilot is an extension of the Legislator in Residence Program that was started in 2012 by Executive Director of Government Relations and Special Projects Peggy Lee-Clark and Assistant Professor of Political Science Jodi Empol-Schwartz.

For the Legislator in Residence program, members of the Montgomery County State Legislative Delegation and their staffs are invited into Empol-Schwartz’s American National Government and American State and Local Government classes during each semester to provide a firsthand perspective of the concepts students read in their textbooks, as well as their personal experiences.

Prior to the guest lectures, students are required to research the background and positions of each legislator and develop questions for discussion. The program has prompted a number of students to seek internships in legislative offices, one of whom was later hired as staff. The program was expanded this fall to include new topics, and state legislators have been added to an Introduction to Economics class taught by Assistant Professor of Economics Jill Beccaris-Pescatore.

The Legislator Shadowing Program will be an ongoing opportunity for students to personally witness and better understand our state’s legislative process and the leadership roles of public servants. Students are required to submit an application with a brief essay about why they want to attend and how the experience could benefit their future education and career goals.

From left, Representative Marcy Toepel with students Danielle Leonhardt, Lavinia Soliman, Elizabeth Waddell and Gabrielle Scotti and Representative Kate Harper on the floor of the House of Representatives before the session started. Photo by Diane VanDyke

From left, Representative Marcy Toepel with students Danielle Leonhardt, Lavinia Soliman, Elizabeth Waddell and Gabrielle Scotti and Representative Kate Harper on the floor of the House of Representatives before the session started. Photo by Diane VanDyke

Civic Hacking for Real-World Experience

by Sam Strike

Despite graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Statistics and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, Barbara Donnini of Plymouth Meeting had no idea she also would need to know computer programming for her career.

Enter Montgomery County Community College, where Donnini enrolled in spring 2014 to attain the additional computer skills she needed. She said she learned “a ton” in her first semester classes, and over the summer was looking for “a real-life coding experience.”

Kendall Martin, professor of Computer Science at the College, introduced her to the Philadelphia Brigade of Code for America, a non-profit organization that enlists the talent of the web industry into public service to use their skills to solve local and global problems.

“Code for Philly,” as it is called, allows “civic hackers” a way to organize, meet and help each other on projects using open source technology, which is accessible by everyone and not proprietary.

“These people can really run the world,” Donnini said of her fellow hackers who are working on projects like creating an app that allows people to forage for food and a handicap access map that can help plan accessible routes.

This summer Donnini is working with a group that is creating Climate Tracker, a device that can be attached to modes of transportation to collect real-time and long-term data on pollution in the city. Read more about the project in Donnini’s blog post at climatetrackerbd.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/why-climate-tracker.

She has taken on a very significant role on the Climate Tracker team, Martin said. As Donnini learns how to install software and hardware, she’s blogging instructions for others to use in the future. Her independent study project, for which she is getting credits at Montgomery, includes documenting and blogging all the experiences she’s having and the problems she is solving.

“I think when students start to see another student describe it in that detail it will reframe the possibilities of joining a project like this,” Martin said. “It puts her in position to help restructure what happens in the classroom because she has had such a high level of group experience.”

Read all of Donnini’s blog entries and watch the videos she has posted of Code for Philly here at climatetrackerbd.wordpress.com/blog.

In addition to learning hard skills, she says “once you get coding, you can learn unbelievably powerful things.” Donnini said she will definitely consider a career in computer science down the road and can see the value of using her new skills in her personal life, too.

“They imagine something, and they can do it,” she said of her fellow civic hackers at Code for Philly. She said she hopes to continue to work with the group after her independent study ends and the fall semester begins.

“She was very independent and very willing to learn,” Martin said of Donnini, and said she hopes that other MCCC students will move out of their comfort zones and venture into the city for new learning experiences. It could also help with their careers.

“There’s a big market in Philadelphia for all kinds of programming positions from web and mobile app programming to software design,” she said. “There are a lot of opportunities right now.”

Computer Science Professor Kendall Martin, left, helped student Barbara Donnini gain hands-on coding skills by introducing her to the Philadelphia Brigade of Code for America, a non-profit organization that enlists the talent of the web industry into public service to use their skills to solve local and global problems. Photo by John Welsh

Computer Science Professor Kendall Martin, left, helped student Barbara Donnini gain hands-on coding skills by introducing her to the Philadelphia Brigade of Code for America, a non-profit organization that enlists the talent of the web industry into public service to use their skills to solve local and global problems. Photo by John Welsh

Gateway to College Receives $10,000 Grant from PECO

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College received a $10,000 PECO grant on Sept. 3 to support the College’s Gateway to College program. The funds will be used for textbooks, transportation, meal subsidies and other costs not covered by the program.

Gateway to College is a national initiative that helps students who have dropped out of high school or are not on track to graduate to earn a diploma and college credits. In November 2012, MCCC was one of only 43 colleges in the country and only the second college in Pennsylvania selected to participate in the Gateway to College National Network. In September 2013, the College launched the program, which is held at the college’s Central Campus in Blue Bell and West Campus in Pottstown.

“Montgomery County Community College is committed to helping students succeed, and the Gateway to College program provides students with a supportive environment where they can complete their high school requirements, graduate and attain their post-secondary credential,” said College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “We appreciate PECO’s generous investment and ongoing support of our work and our students.”

In its inaugural year, the Gateway program had 50 participants and 11 graduates. This year, 55 students are enrolled, including returning and new students. Eighteen school districts and the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board partner with MCCC and refer students for the program.

“Education is invaluable, and we know how important it is to help students develop skills that prepare them for future success,” said Mike Innocenzo, senior vice president and COO, PECO. “PECO has been a proud partner of Montgomery County Community College since 2005, and this is one of many programs we have supported to help improve access to higher education for local high school students.”

For Upper Moreland High School student William Dobnak, the Gateway program gave him a second chance to achieve his true potential.

“I was failing my classes in high school,” Dobnak told the incoming Gateway students at orientation. “I barely passed my sophomore year and was at risk for failing my junior year when my school counselor told me about Gateway. Being here and taking classes 8on a college campus helped my stress level and overall happiness.”

The college environment and caring professors and staff made all the difference, he said, noting that his GPA after his first term in Gateway is 4.0.

“We deeply appreciate our partners—the school districts, Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board and PECO—and their investment in this program,” said Dr. Stout. “Programs like Gateway to College not only transform lives but create a ripple effect of positive benefits for the community and local and state economies, too.”

For more information about Gateway to College, contact Director Keima Sheriff at ksheriff@mc3.edu.

From left, PECO Senior Vice President and COO Michael Innocenzo, Director of Gateway to College Program Keima Sheriff, student William Dobnak and College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

From left, PECO Senior Vice President and COO Michael Innocenzo, Director of Gateway to College Program Keima Sheriff, student William Dobnak and College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

College Joins ‘Yellow Ribbon Program’ to Benefit Student Veterans

by Ben Litman and Alana J. Mauger

Yellow RibbonMontgomery County Community College was recently selected to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the 2014-15 academic year. The program enables the College to assist up to 10 student veterans with fees associated with out-of-state residency.

“Many students return or relocate to Pennsylvania after their military service only to be charged as ‘out-of-state’ residents, which the VA does not cover under normal Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits,” explains former U.S. Marine Justin Machain, coordinator of veterans services at Montgomery. “The College applied to, and was accepted by, the Yellow Ribbon Program to assist these students with out-of-state costs starting this fall.”

To qualify for funding, veterans must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and cannot be on active duty. Visit benefits.va.gov/gibill/yellow_ribbon.asp for full eligibility requirements.

Montgomery County Community College’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program builds on its commitment to a student veteran population that has grown by close to 130 percent since 2007. Fiscal year 2013-14 saw 705 student veterans enrolled at the College, which is nationally designated as a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media for five years running.

The College’s support services for student veterans include a dedicated resource center, lounge, new student orientation, study groups, career counseling and yoga, among others, facilitated by a dedicated Veterans Support Team. The College also has an active Student Veterans Organization, which is an official chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA).

Veteran services are a part of the College’s overarching Student Success Initiative—expanding access to higher education and increasing student success through process improvements and support strategies that reduce the barriers for students to complete their education.

To learn more about Veterans Affairs at Montgomery County Community College, visit mc3.edu/student-resources/vrc or contact Justin Machain at 215-619-7307 or veterans@mc3.edu. For information about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, visit gibill.va.gov.

New Certificate Launched to Fill Pharmacy Technician Demand

by Alana J. Mauger

Pharmacy technician jobs are expected to grow by 20 percent through 2022—nine percent higher than the average growth rate for all occupations nationally according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. The demand holds true in Pennsylvania as well; the Commonwealth is ranked fourth among states in the number of pharmacy technicians currently employed.

To help fill the demand in this growing field, Montgomery County Community College is introducing a Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program this fall. Classes are held Saturdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. starting Oct. 4 and ending Dec. 20 at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Program tuition is $1,638. To learn more, call 215-641-6374 or click here.

The College’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program is comprised of 55 hours of classroom instruction along with Health 21, a 21-hour online component that provides an overview of the health care industry. Students are required to complete homework assignments, as well as mid-term and final exams. Upon successful completion, graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician.

Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health care professionals. Fifty-three percent of technicians are employed in pharmacies and drug stores, with others employed in hospitals, general merchandise and grocery stores, and ambulatory health care services. Positions may be full or part time and often include evenings and weekends.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reports that candidates with formal training or prior experience have the best opportunity for employment as pharmacy technicians. In 2012, the median salary for pharmacy technicians was $29,320 nationally.

EITC Funding Helps Qualifying Families with Preschool Costs

by Alana J. Mauger

The Children’s Center at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is offering subsidized preschool education to low-income families for the 2014-15 academic year through Educational Investment Tax Credit (EITC) funding from North Penn United Way.

Funding is available for children ages three and four with a household income that is under 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and who live in the North Penn or Souderton school districts. Those who qualify will have 70 percent of their weekly child care tuition covered. Funding is available on a first-come, first served basis and is open to current MCCC students and members of the community.

To learn more, contact Children’s Center Director Debbie Ravacon at 215-641-6618 or dravacon@mc3.edu.

The Children’s Center, which is located at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, is a fully licensed child care center that is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). It is recognized by NAEYC as an exemplary early childhood education program in the nation for its work to engage diverse families, has a top Keystone Stars rating of four, and is a consistent recipient of the Start4 Merit Award.

Research identifies cost and accessibility to affordable child care as reasons why lower-income students do not complete college. The Children’s Center supports Montgomery’s strategic goal to expand access to education and increase student success by offering accessible child care at discounted rates and flexible schedules to maximize affordability.

For more information about the College’s Children’s Center, visit mc3.edu/student-resources/child-care.

Registration for accelerated fall semester classes, which start on Sept. 24 and Oct. 15 at Montgomery County Community College, is going on now. Visit mc3.edu/Fall2014 to learn more.

New Office Assistant Certificate Part of National Job Ready, Willing and Able Initiative

by Alana J. Mauger and Susan Williams

Montgomery County Community College is offering a twist to traditional workforce development with the introduction of its new Office Assistant Certificate this fall. The program—part of the national Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) Initiative—provides built-in job placement assistance and a coach to guide students through the training and certificate completion.

The fall iteration of this 11-week program runs from Sept. 29 through Dec. 11. Classes are held Monday through Thursday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Students are also required to attend six workshop sessions, which are held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13, Oct. 28, Nov. 11 and Dec. 4, and from 9:30 a.m.-noon on Saturdays, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13. The cost is $495, which includes instruction, workshops, course textbooks and Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam fees. To learn more or to apply, call 215-461-1468 or email JobTrakPA@mc3.edu.

Students enrolled in the Office Assistant Certificate Program will learn critical computer literacy and other skills expected by employers in business environments. Course modules include Business Software Essentials, Microsoft Word Applications and Modern Office Management.

“Local industry is in search of qualified office assistants,” said Suzanne Holloman, dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education. “This 135-hour certificate is laser-focused to train individuals who are unemployed for a middle-skills job.”

After completing the certificate, students may pursue the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam for Microsoft Word 2013. This sought-after credential provides students with marketable skills that will further increase their chances for employment. In addition, students who complete the certificate can apply the courses to the College’s Office Administration Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, office and administrative support occupations comprise one of the largest occupation groups in the Commonwealth. The Center for Workforce Information and Analysis projects 105 annual openings in this field in Montgomery County. Additionally, there is a growing need in the Montgomery County Region for general office clerks, with an expected 338 annual openings in the County and an estimated 14,620 total jobs in 2016.

Through JRWA, Montgomery  joins 17 other community colleges across the country in providing middle-skills training, industry recognized credentials, and access to employment across varying industry sectors for unemployed individuals. The initiative is funded by a three-year grant from the Walmart Foundation and is led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Candace Benson of Pottstown is Runner-Up in BET’s Sunday Best Competition

by Diane Vandyke

Candace Benson

Candace Benson

Montgomery County Community College student Candace Benson of Pottstown is the runner-up on BET’s Sunday Best gospel-based music competition with Geoffrey Golden of Cleveland, Ohio, taking the top spot.

The results were announced Aug. 31 at the conclusion of a special two-hour finale, during which both finalists performed. After hearing her sing “I Won’t go Back” and “He Heals Me,” judges Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin and Kierra Sheard praised Benson, stating she had “grown by leaps and bounds” through the competition and was “truly gifted” and “multi-faceted.”

The 22-year-old Music major auditioned last April with hundreds of hopeful singers. She was one of 20 contestants selected to sing on the weekly television competition that started in July. Throughout the past several weeks, she successfully made it through each round. After the judges selected the two finalists, the competition was open to the public Aug. 24-30 to vote for their favorite performer via phone, online or mobile app.

Benson will continue her studies this fall to finish her associate’s degree at Montgomery’s Central Campus in Blue Bell. In addition to her classes, she sings in the College Choir and during Music Wednesdays, when students can perform for the campus during the lunch-time hour. Her professors, Andrew Kosciesza and Michael Kelly, among others, have been encouraging her throughout the competition and look forward to having her back in classes and the choir.

Passionate about music, Benson started playing the piano when she was only four years old. She has been singing in choirs and bands at church and with her family for many years. She currently serves as the music director at Bethel A.M.E. Church in West Chester. To see her performances, visit her website at candacebensonmusic.com. For more information about the College’s Music program, visit mc3.edu.

Officials Sign First ‘Reverse Transfer’ Agreement Between Community College and State System Institutions in Commonwealth

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Montgomery County Community College and Kutztown University (KU) signed a “reverse transfer” agreement on Aug. 20—the first agreement of its kind between a community college and a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (State System) university.

Under the new agreement, students who complete at least 15 credits at the College now have the opportunity to transfer credits they earn at Kutztown back to Montgomery in order to earn an associate’s degree in a parallel field en route to earning a bachelor’s degree.

According to President Dr. Karen A. Stout, the agreement builds on Montgomery’s strategic efforts to increase student access, progression and completion rates, and on work being done nationally to support community college degree completion.

“The associate’s degree has value and is an important credential for community college students,” said Dr. Stout. “By earning an associate’s degree, students demonstrate their ability to complete an area of study, which can help them in the job market or with career advancement while pursing their baccalaureate degree. While we encourage our students to earn their degree before transferring, it’s important for us to understand that our students take multiple pathways to complete their education.”

Close to 70 percent of the college’s students enter each year with the intention to transfer to a four-year institution, and Kutztown is a popular choice. In fact, last year, 182 of the College’s students transferred an average 44 credits to KU.

The institutions’ leaders envision that the new agreement will serve as a model partnership for Pennsylvania community colleges and State System institutions. MCCC and KU are not strangers to such innovation; in 2007, Montgomery became the first community college with which Kutztown signed a dual-admissions and core-to-core transfer agreement.

“Kutztown University is excited to once again partner with Montgomery County Community College in developing another program to benefit students of our region,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto, KU’s acting president.  “Serving students is at the core of all that we do, and this is truly a student-centric program.”

Business Students Rank Eighth in National Competition

by Alana J. Mauger

PhiBetalogoBuilding on their success at Phi Beta Lambda’s (PBL) Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in the spring, Montgomery County Community College students Lindsey Montague, Wyncote, and Jacob Robertston, Malvern, gave a repeat performance on the national stage this summer.

Montague and Robertson, both members of the College’s PBL chapter, were awarded eighth place in the Business Decision Making competition at PBL’s National Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tenn. in June. They qualified for the national competition by taking first place at the state level.

“This is a huge accomplishment for Lindsey and Jacob, who competed against students from four-year colleges and universities from across the country, many of whom recently graduated with bachelor’s degrees,” said Eileen Kearney, Assistant Professor of Marketing and PBL Advisor. “Their success speaks to the quality of education at Montgomery County Community College and the value of organizations like Phi Beta Lambda in preparing students for their careers after college.”

Montgomery County Community College student Ariel Mookherji, Plymouth Meeting, was also elected to the office of National Eastern Regional Vice President during the conference. Mookherji, who enrolled at the College to complete prerequisites toward an MBA in Marketing, previously served as the College’s PBL chapter president and as PA State vice president. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Design from Moore College of Art and Design, and she ultimately hopes to work at a marketing firm or with a non-profit organization.

Each year, thousands of students from across the country attend PBL’s National Leadership Conference. Along with the competitions, students attend workshops and business events during the conference.

Phi Beta Lambda is a student-led, collegiate-level organization of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). For more information, visit fbla-pbl.org.

GIS Certificate of Completion: Cross-Industry Appeal in Competitive Job Market

by Alana J. Mauger

Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, has applications far beyond maps and geography.

Law enforcement, health care, urban planning, economics, environmental science, history, business, real estate and information technology—these are just some of the growing number of industries that incorporate GIS into their daily work.

In fact, according to Montgomery County Community College  Assistant Professor of Geography Samuel Wallace, virtually every field of study today uses some form of GIS, making knowledge of its use critical for students and employees across all disciplines.

“GIS requires people who have basic understanding of spatial relationships, along with the system software,” said Wallace.

Montgomery offers a nine-credit Certificate of Completion program in GIS that provides students with valuable skills that can lead to immediate employment in a GIS-related field. The program is ideal for current students, as well as for working individuals who want to add a GIS credential to their resume.

The College’s GIS program prepares students to operate industry leader ESRI’s ArcGIS 10.2 software. The Certificate of Completion is comprised of three courses: Introduction to Geographic Information, Map Design in GIS and GIS Applications. Courses are offered evenings to accommodate working adults, and the entire certificate can be completed in under a year.

The intro course, GEO 210, is being offered Thursday evenings this fall at the College’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The next course, GEO 220, is tentatively scheduled to run at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, in spring 2015.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, GIS-related occupations are expected to grow by 20 percent overall through 2022—nine percent higher than the average occupation growth rate.

To learn more about GIS at Montgomery County Community College, email Assistant Professor Samuel Wallace at swallace@mc3.edu.

Fall semester classes at Montgomery County Community College begin on Aug. 27. Visit mc3.edu/fall2014 for registration information.

Dr. Stout Returns to White House for College Opportunity Working Session

by Alana J. Mauger

White House logo copyMontgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout returned to the White House Aug. 12 to continue the national dialog on college readiness that began on Jan. 16, 2014 during a summit convened by U.S. President Barack Obama. That summit saw approximately 140 leaders from higher education, philanthropic organizations, businesses and local and state governments launch a plan of action for increasing college opportunity for low-income and disadvantaged students.

Summit participants are reconvening Aug. 12 to provide updates on their institutional commitments made in January and to discuss challenges and next steps. Montgomery’s commitments include three specific initiatives aimed improving access for low-income and disadvantaged students. These include redesigning student entry and advising processes, developing a multi-platform model for student engagement, and expanding its minority student mentoring initiative.

First, to improve student entry and advising processes, the College launched a pilot Student Success Network in March. The network includes college-wide mid-term reporting, which garnered a 96 percent faculty participation rate and positive student and faculty feedback. The network also employs Starfish Retention and Connect software, through which students are able to see and connect with members of their student success team—advisors, faculty and staff from other support programs, like veterans’ resources and disability services. Faculty can refer students to tutoring and can address concerns and reinforce positive academic behaviors throughout the semester. These tools will be brought to scale this fall.

In September, the College will also launch student educational planning, which requires advisors to meet with all first-time college students prior to spring registration to map out their educational plans for their entire degree programs. In addition, analytical tools, including student and advisor dashboards, will be available by end of 2014.

The College also made significant progress on its second commitment—developing a multi-platform model for student engagement—by creating a “Montco Money Matters” financial literacy prototype. The module introduces students to the concept of paying for college. The 30-minute, self-guided program introduces students to concepts of financial aid, loans and grants; highlights the long-term implications of loans and future debt; and makes them aware of other resources, like scholarships, to help pay for college.

A total of 425 students actively engaged in the pilot program during a seven-week period. Of those, 95 percent of students who provided feedback indicated they will recommend the online resources to others, and 80 percent said the course will influence future academic decisions. MCCC’s next step is to build out additional modules under the umbrella of financial literacy and to make the program accessible to school districts within Montgomery County and to the general population at large.

Finally, the College delivered on its third commitment to transition its Minority Male Mentoring Program (MMMP) into a Minority Student Mentoring Initiative (MSMI). Twenty-five African-American and Latina female students joined MSMI in spring 2014, comprising almost 27 percent of all participants. The program connects students with caring mentors for guidance and support while providing opportunities for civic engagement, academic advisement, personal development and leadership development. The participants’ cumulative GPA is currently 2.45, up from 2.15 three years ago.

All three programs are part of the College’s overarching Student Success Initiative, which works to expand access to higher education and increase student success through process improvements and support strategies that reduce the barriers for students to complete their education. In 2011, Montgomery was designed as an Achieving the Dream Leader College, an elite group of 73 community colleges across the country that have demonstrated committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and systematic institutional improvement. In February, the College earned the prestigious Leah Meyer Austin Award from Achieving the Dream for its continued improvement of student access and success.

During her 13-year tenure as President, Dr. Stout’s unwavering commitment to student access and success has impacted thousands of students, their families, and the community. In addition to laying the groundwork for Montgomery’s selection as an Achieving the Dream Leader College, Dr. Stout helped to design and launch the College’s first comprehensive Honors Program and Minority Student Mentoring Program; expand support services for student veterans; re-introduce an intercollegiate athletics program; collaborate with the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board to deliver GED instruction to more than 800 community residents; and re-energize the College’s facilities to enhance teaching and learning, among many other accomplishments.

The impact of Dr. Stout’s leadership extends nationally, evidenced by her selection to participate in the White House’s College Opportunity initiatives. A passionate advocate for community colleges, Dr. Stout serves as Chair of the President’s Advisory Board to the Community College Research Center at Columbia University Teacher’s College and is a Commissioner with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. She previously served as a member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Board of Directors and as co-chair of the American Association of Community College’s (AACC) 21st-Century Initiative Steering Committee.

Dr. Stout holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and a bachelor’s degree in English from University of Delaware, as well as a master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Baltimore.

G-STEM Introduces Teens to the World of Environmental Science

by Diane VanDyke

Shakeem Lynch holds up a crayfish he found in the Schuylkill River. Photo by Diane VanDyke

Shakeem Lynch holds up a crayfish he found in the Schuylkill River. Photo by Diane VanDyke

For participating Pottstown Middle School students, Montgomery County Community College’s G-STEM— Green Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—program was the first opportunity they ever had to explore the Schuylkill River, hold crayfish or see schools of minnows swim by their legs.

By testing the water quality at various locations along the river, as well as in the Manatawny Creek tributary, students learned about what may impact the life cycle and inhabitants of this river aquarium.

“It is interesting and makes you think,” says Tyler Carter, one of the participants. “It’s a higher level of learning. We get to use what we learn in the classroom right here.”

“We learned scientific terms and concepts,” added Payton Reid, explaining that the program covers more material than what he has learned in school. “It’s good practice for college.”

Carter and Reid were two of 13 Pottstown Middle School students who participated in the one-week, academically intensive summer camp held June 23-27 at the College’s West Campus in Pottstown. G-STEM’s objective is to improve scientific literacy, environmental stewardship and appreciation of humanity’s responsibility in sustaining the environment.

“The philosophical goal is to provide an environment where students are exposed to and use scientific methodology and in doing so experience a success in a high-intensity science program with the expectation that will translate into a desire to pursue a college career in the sciences.

G-STEM provides a unique opportunity for these students to experience the career of a scientist,” Biology Associate Professor Dr. Davi Gonzales said.

In addition to the learning the basic concepts of scientific methodology, students learned about chemical concepts and data analysis. Each hands-on activity focused on environmental issues relevant to their community. At the conclusion of the program, the students displayed and shared their results using graphs, tables and Power Point programs with family, faculty and visitors.

For the past four years under the direction of Dr. Gonzales, MCCC has offered G-STEM to Pottstown area youth at no cost to the students, thanks to the generous funding of TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank.

Participating Pottstown Middle School students included Kha’la Frazier, Tyler Carter, Lamar Green, Dazah Regusters, Rebecca Harper, Terrell Taylor-Williams, Shakayla Sergent, Shakeem Lynch, Floyd Dashieel, Payton Reid, Alexandria Olvera, Shanyia Johnson and Keirsten Hickey.

Students work directly with College faculty, including Dr. Gonzales, program director and recruiter, teacher assistant trainer and faculty; Geology Professor Robert Kuhlman; Microbiology Assistant Professor Dr. James Bretz; Chemistry Assistant Professor Dr. Janet Graden; Biology Lecturer Dr. Matt Bobiak; Biology Lecturer Dr. Adam Meacham; and Mathematics Instructor Stephanie Isaac. Teaching assistants included Kaitlyn DeJohn, Patrick Robenoet and Amy Shaw.

Pottstown Middle School students waded through various parts of the Schuylkill River to take water and animal specimens for examination. Photo by Diane VanDyke

Pottstown Middle School students waded through various parts of the Schuylkill River to take water and animal specimens for examination. Photo by Diane VanDyke

Future Engineers Build Pasta Bridges at Johns Hopkins Summer Program

by Diane VanDyke

After spending a month at Montgomery County Community College in the Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation Summer Program, 17 area high school students shared their newly acquired engineering knowledge and design skills in a friendly competition to test the endurance of their bridges constructed with spaghetti pasta and epoxy.

The bridge competition was the culminating event of the Summer Engineering Innovation Program provided by Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering at MCCC from June 23 through July 24. Dow Chemical Company, with a large research and development presence in Montgomery County, provided a grant for scholarships for eligible participants to help offset tuition costs.

“We are passionate about our commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and recognize that by stimulating an interest in, providing access to, and improving the quality of STEM education in the U.S. and the world, we will ensure a steady pipeline of talent for the future,” said Justin Land, Northeast public affairs manager at Dow. “This program has provided high school students the opportunity to use the power of collaboration and science in solving challenges that face us.”

Taught by the College’s Faculty Diversity Fellow Gayathri Moorthy, Ph.D., and adjunct science instructor Frederick Schlick, the program included lab activities in computer, chemical, electrical, civil and mechanical engineering, as well as material science and robotics. Students who earned an A or B in the course are awarded three credits from JHU.

For the students, the program offered them a chance to explore the field of engineering in consideration of future education and careers.

“This experience has truly changed my life. The exposure to the different fields of engineering has completely opened up my eyes to all that the career has to offer. I am now 100% positive that engineering is the path for me, thanks to this program. I have always excelled in the areas of math and science at school, but I never knew how to apply my skills to a career. This program has changed my outlook on engineering, along with my future,” said participant Carolyn Sweeney, in a letter thanking Dow for its generous support.

Omkar Katta shared similar sentiments in his thank you letter, “This course is a wonderful and rare experience to understand how conceptual knowledge is applied to reality. I knew that I wanted to be an engineer, but I did not understand what that entailed. Engineering Innovation gave me a taste of what an engineer’s career feels like.”

Participants included Albert Abrevaya (Blue Bell), Satya Butler (Philadelphia) Allison Carrigan (Lansdale), Rebecca Cohen (Conshohocken), Erin Dempsey (Collegeville), Katy Gerace (Lansdale), Sidarth Giddu (Lansdale), Alekhya Gunturi (New Hope), Haebin Rho (Korea), Omar Katta (Souderton), Juyeong Oh (Lansdale), Gordon Robertson (Philadelphia), Yashveer Singh (Schwenksville), Carolyn Sweeney (Conshohocken), Sandy Tang (Philadelphia), Saul Thomas (Blue Bell) and Roger Yu (Newtown).

During the final weeks of the program, students designed and built their bridges using only spaghetti and epoxy mixed with a hardening agent. The criteria for the completed bridges included a maximum weight of 250 grams, height of 25 centimeters, span of 50 centimeters and minimum width of five centimeters. The winning bridge, built by Roger Yu, Haebin Rho, Carolyn Sweeney, and Juyeong Oh, held 35 pounds, beating last year’s record of 16.5 pounds. The second place winners were Albert Abrevaya, Sandy Tang and Yashveer Singh and their bridge held 20 pounds. The third place winners were Satya Butler, Saul Thomas and Rebecca Cohen and their bridge held 12 pounds.

Through this partnership with Johns Hopkins and the generous support of Dow, MCCC is able to offer programs like this for high school students to encourage them to explore careers in the high-demand fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

For students pursuing engineering careers, MCCC offers an Engineering Associate of Science degree program to ensure the seamless transfer of credits to four-year engineering programs accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology.

For more information about engineering or other courses offered at Montgomery County Community College or the dual enrollment program for high school students, visit mc.edu.

Students tested their bridges built with uncooked pasta and epoxy adhesive to see how much weight the bridges could hold. They continued to add weights until the bridges snapped. Photos by Sandi Yanisko

Students tested their bridges built with uncooked pasta and epoxy adhesive to see how much weight the bridges could hold. They continued to add weights until the bridges snapped. Photos by Sandi Yanisko

50 Cadets Graduate from the College’s Municipal Police Academy

by Diane VanDyke

Fifty police cadets of Classes 1303 and 1401graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on July 16 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell—a fitting number as the College celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

FBI Special Agent Scott A. Duffey and District Justice Paul N. Leo, who both teach at the academy, served as the keynote speakers.

Duffey told the cadets and audience members the jobs for today’s police officers are 24/7.

“You not only have to combat crime and protect the public, but you need to find innovative ways to reduce crime. . . you must be both proactive and ready to react,” he said.

Leo similarly advised the graduates to think creatively as well as proactively.

“You must think outside the box, not that you will trample any of the rights under the Constitution, but you must realize there are many ways to solve a problem,” he said.

The Valedictorian for Class 1303, Lt. David Vernacchio, reminded his classmates about three important concepts for all police officers to remember: professionalism, integrity and family.

The Valedictorian for Class 1401, Joshua Bills cited Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” drawing a comparison that the life of a police officer is often like “the road less traveled—and that makes all the difference.”

Academy Deputy Director Jude T. McKenna presented the James R. Miller Marksmanship Awards to Staff Sergeant Steven Bauman (1303) and to Christopher Sheffer (1401) and the Spirit of Distinction Awards to Josh Taormino (1303) and Sergeant Brendan O’Connor (1401).

During the ceremony, Karen and John McGowan IV presented the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,500 to Lauren Hart, North Wales. The scholarship honors East Norriton Police Chief John McGowan, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010.

Hart, 23, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Delaware Valley College and then enrolled at the Police Academy. She has done internships with the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, Upper Dublin Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security. She started her new job as an officer with the Whitemarsh Township Police Department on July 21.

Director Frank Williar, who has led the academy since 2005, congratulated the new graduates saying, “No matter how many times I stand here, I find myself awed and even humbled by the quality of the graduates. You have done yourselves and us proud.”

The 33 graduates of Class 1401, who attended the 22-week full-time program, are Joshua Bills (Pocono Summit, Pa.), Eric Blood (Philadelphia), Andrew Burrows (Doylestown), Ralph Burrows (Bellingham, Wash.), Raymond Clayton (Philadelphia), Brett Cortis (Boyertown), Kyle Crawford (Collegeville), Thomasz Czarnuszewicz (Yardley), Peter Gubicza (Holland, Pa.), Elliott Guffey (Royersford), Justin Harris (Philadelphia), Lauren Hart (North Wales), Justin Johnson (Harleysville), Kevin Junod (Glenside), William Kane (Harleysville), Matthew Maciejewski (Buffalo, New York), Kevin Marvill (Ambler), Greg Meinhardt (Harleysville), Lauren Mergen (Harleysville), Brendan O’Connor (Conshohocken), Nick Ratschof (Southampton), Imran Raza (Warrington), Shaun Roberts (Fallsington, Pa.), Erich Rumsey (Doylestown), Gregory Sedgwick (East Norriton), Christopher Sheffer (Bridgeport), Robert Steck (Warminster), Adam Szewczyk (Lansdale), Vincenzo Tucciarone (Perkasie), Zachary Waltman (Feasterville), Douglas Wang (Levittown), Greg Waters (Churchville) and Joel Williams (Horsham).

The 17 graduates of Class 1303, who attended the 42-week, part-time evening program, are Brian Armstrong (Lansdale), Steven Bauman (Sellersville), Michael Cantrell (King of Prussia), Albert Chan (Philadelphia), Carlito Cortez (Richboro, Pa.), Brad Craig (Conshohocken), Anthony Long (Bethlehem), Lora Martin (Bethlehem), Brandon Martinez (Philadelphia), Jonathan Matthews (Horsham), Randall Pompei (Quakertown), Brittany Rosenfeld (Hatfield), Joshua Samuels (Quakertown), Alana Stanziano (Harleysville), Josh Taormino (San Jose, Calif.), Michelle Williamson (Levittown) and David Vernacchio (West Norriton).

Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken, PA 19428.

The Academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,800 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.

Fifty police cadets of Classes 1303 and 1401graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on July 16. Photo by John Welsh

Fifty police cadets of Classes 1303 and 1401graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on July 16. Photo by John Welsh