Montgomery County Community College News Brief – Summer Edition, June 2016

mccc-logoMontgomery County Community College’s Office of Marketing and Communications provides News Briefs that offer a snapshot of news, press coverage and events of interest to the College community and beyond. The News Briefs meet the College’s strategic goals to "develop an engaged community" and to "create a sense of place to support learning.”


Congratulations Graduates!

Montgomery County Community College celebrated the success of 1,555 graduates during its 2016 Commencement ceremony on May 19 in Blue Bell. Ranging in age from 18-70, from 11 countries throughout the world, graduating with 1,597 degrees and certificates in more than 30 areas of study—the class of 2016 reflects the diversity of MCCC’s student body.

Among the members of the class of 2016 are 34 military veterans, 17 international students, 32 student athletes, 294 members of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, 30 graduates from MCCC’s Culinary Arts Institute, 62 graduates from the MCCC Municipal Police Academy, and 45 Virtual Campus students who completed their degrees entirely online. In addition, 133 graduates started their education as dual enrollment students from 30 different high schools.

Watch the Commencement Pre-Show hosted by Communication student Marlee Synder. Video by Matt Porter

A highlight of the evening was the student address, given by 2016 MCCC Culinary Arts Institute graduate Jacqueline Ramos. Jacquie passionately shared her experiences as a student, drawing laughter when she recalled Lecturer and Chef Julia Quay creating a ServSafe version of Justin Timberlake’s song “Suit and Tie” to teach the students about foodborne illnesses.

“Never did I feel such a part of my school as I do here. Thanks to Montco and the Culinary Arts Institute, I became part of a family,” she said.

Jacqueline Ramos

Baking and Pastry Arts major Jacqueline Ramos was selected as the 2016 student graduation speaker. Photo by John Welsh

In addition to serving as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez presented several awards for teaching excellence to MCCC faculty based on nominations by their colleagues and students. 

The late Dr. Lee Bender, who passed away recently after serving MCCC for 48 years as a Professor of Economics and Dean of Business and Computer Science, was posthumously honored with the Pearlstine Award for Teaching Excellence, presented bi-annually to a full-time faculty member.

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Carol Shilling, wife of the late Dr. Lee Bender, accepts the Pearlstine Award for Teaching Excellence from Vice President and Provost Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez and Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Aaron Shatzman. Photo by John Welsh

Part-Time Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards, sponsored by Barnes & Noble and presented for only the second time, were awarded to Senior Psychology Lecturer Mary Breanna Burch and Senior Biology Lecturer Ricardo Lopez.

Part-Time Faculty Award

Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez presents the Part-Time Faculty Teaching Excellence Award to Senior Psychology Lecturer Mary-Brenna Burch. Senior Biology Lecturer Ricardo Lopez also received the award but was not able to attend the ceremony. Photo by John Welsh

During graduation activities, the College asked graduates, faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends to share their photos and posts on social media using the hashtag #mc3grad. The posts are compiled in a Storify article below. Click here to read the full Commencement press release.


Lavina Soliman Awarded Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship

Prior to Commencement, MCCC announced that 2016 graduate Lavinia Soliman was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship worth up to $40,000 a year to complete a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university of her choosing.

Lavinia was one of 75 community college students in the country to receive this prestigious scholarship and award and was selected from a nationwide pool of more than 2,000 applicants. All of the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars have financial need and strong records of academic achievement as shown by grades, leadership skills, awards, extraordinary service to others and perseverance in the face of adversity.

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Lavinia Soliman (center) stands with Assistant Professor of Economics Jill Beccaris-Pescatore, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Dr. Lynn O'Brien, Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Aaron Shatzman, and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

While a student at MCCC, Soliman took on leadership roles in the Student Government Association, MCCC’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, the Environmental Sustainability Club and the Anthropology and Archeology Club. Additionally, she served as a representative on the Student Board for the Pennsylvania State Board of Education and volunteered with several community projects.

Read the press release


Students & Graduates Are Bucknell Bound

Eleven Montgomery County Community College students will soon be attending Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania through Bucknell’s Community College Scholars Program.

Six of the students—Alexa Colon, Chante Forde, Stephanie Harper, Daniel Krantman, Julia Tartaglia and Sarah Wochele—will participate in Bucknell’s Summer 2016 Residency Program. During the summer program, selected students enroll in two courses and work with student and faculty mentors for six weeks. The program is free for the students and includes tuition, room and board and books. Participating students then have the opportunity to apply to Bucknell in 2017, and if accepted, they will transfer to the university with junior status on full-tuition scholarships.

Bucknell Summer

Bucknell Summer students. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Five of the students who participated in last year’s summer program—Regina Guzman, Seth Hartley, Charles Hennessey, Malachi Musick and Kyle Steinke—were selected to transfer to the university in the fall as juniors with full-tuition scholarships from Bucknell.

Bucknell Transfer

Bucknell Transfer students. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Read the press release


A Promising Place to Work

PPWCC 2016Montgomery County Community College is recognized as one of nine 2016 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges based on findings from a study conducted by the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE). Commissioned by NISOD, a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges, and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine, the study examines six “Promising Practices” at NISOD member institutions.

Practices include a demonstrated commitment to student success; recognition of good work; intentional focus on meeting the needs of the local community and region; institutional support for continuous improvement and innovation; and institutional and practical support of work-life balance. CHEE’s study highlights examples from winning institutions in each of the Promising Practices. A full summary of the study is available at

Read the press release


Mustangs Update Mustangs logo

Eighteen Mustangs student-athletes were recognized for their work inside and outside of the classroom during the 2015-16 academic year. Seven achieved Distinguished Scholar-Athlete honors for earning GPA between 3.74 and 4.00, and 11 earned Scholar-Athlete honors for maintaining GPA between 3.25 and 3.74. Read the press release

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News & Notes

MCCC alumnus and Pottsgrove High School Principal Dr. William Ziegler was named Pennsylvania Principal of the Year by the Pennsylvania Principals Association for 2016-17.


Springfield Township Police Officers Sean Badolato and Krista Schmalbach were promoted to Corporal in the department's patrol unit. Both are graduates of MCCC's Municipal Police Academy.


Communication graduate Coraline Pettine was the recipient of the 2016 Rhoda and Henry Sandler Memorial Audiovisual Library Prize, presented by MCCC Libraries. Read about the award in Berks-Mont News. below.


This spring, the College, once again, made available certification classes in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED), as well as, in First Aid for employees at Central and West campuses at no cost. 19 employees took advantage of this “on campus” training opportunity to learn skills that could prove to be life-saving when least expected.

According to Grace Ann Spena, former MCCC Director of Health & Wellness Initiatives, this employee training program, initiated in spring 2009, has certified 188 employees to date. Both training programs are through the American Heart Association and grant a two year certification upon successful completion. The classes were taught by Joseph Ritvalsky, MCCC ESW lecturer and member and an American Heart Association CPR Instructor. Future certification trainings in both CPR-AED and First Aid are anticipated for 2016-17.


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