MCCC, TD Bank To Host Free Workshops On Building, Keeping Great Credit

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA — April is National Financial Literacy Month, and Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) and TD Bank will offer free workshops to help students and community members learn how to build and keep great credit.

The workshops will be held on April 23 from 12:15-1:15 p.m. and April 24 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Parkhouse Hall room 121 at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and on April 29 from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in South Hall room 221 at MCCC’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

The workshops are free of charge and are open to the public. Questions can be directed to MCCC’s Financial Aid Office at 215-641-6566.

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MCCC Fast Track PA Real Estate Salesperson Program Offered Fully Online

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA— Building on the success of its Fast Track Real Estate pilot program launched in January, Montgomery County Community College will incorporate even more flexibility when it offers Real Estate 101 and 102 again in May.

“We’re leveraging many of the College’s technology resources to maximize students’ time,” said Ayisha Sereni, administrative director of MCCC’s BEI division and a licensed Pennsylvania real estate broker.

According to Sereni, the College wants to help professionals get their start in real estate sales – a high priority occupation that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is projected to grow by 12 percent through 2020.

To encourage participation, the May-start classes will be taught fully online, which differs from the hybrid format used in the pilot. Now, virtual meetings will take the place of face-to-face instruction in a classroom setting.

The fast track program can be completed in less than one month. Students who successfully complete the 30-hour Real Estate Fundamentals (RES 101) and Real Estate Practice (RES 102) courses are eligible to sit for the Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Exam. Individuals who acquire their Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson License may seek employment as commissioned or salaried residential or commercial real estate agents, property managers, leasing agents or real estate assistants. Both courses must be completed prior to taking the exam.

Real Estate Fundamentals runs from May 8-20, and Real Estate Practice runs from May 27-June 5.

To learn more about MCCC’s Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Pre-licensing Fast Track Program, email Ayisha Sereni at asereni@mc3.edu or call 215-641-6374.

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Montgomery County Community College’s Alumnus Coach Geno Auriemma Receives American Association For Community Colleges’ 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award

Auriemma_GenoBlue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College is pleased to announce that alumnus Geno Auriemma, head coach of the women’s basketball team for the University of Connecticut, received the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award from the American Association for Community Colleges (AACC) on April 8, 2014, during the 2014 Annual AACC Convention inWashington D.C.

Auriemma was unable to personally attend the ceremony because the UConn’s women’s basketball team again made it to the Final Four of the National Championship and are scheduled to play against Notre Dame in Nashville, Tenn., during the evening of April 8.

“From his humble beginnings in Norristown throughout his coaching career, Geno has persistently pushed to achieve the best for the players he coaches and for himself and has redefined the meaning of success in college women’s basketball,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, MCCC president, who accepted the award on his behalf. “His success story and his continual achievements, both on and off the court, serve as an inspiration for all, and particularly for community college students who are starting at the same place he did.”

When he was seven years of age, Auriemma immigrated with his family to Norristown, Pa., where he grew up and attended Bishop Kenrick High School. Following graduation, he enrolled at Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell. During his time at MCCC from 1972-1975, he played on the basketball and tennis teams. He also met his wife, Kathryn Osler, at MCCC, and they were married in 1978. He subsequently completed his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1981 at West Chester University, Pa. Following his passion for sports, he landed his first coaching job as an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Bishop McDevitt High School in Cheltenham Township, Pa.

Auriemma started his college coaching career in 1978 when he was hired as an assistant women’s coach at Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, Pa. He returned to his high school alma mater to coach from 1979-81 and then coached at the University of Virginia from 1981-85. In 1985, he was hired by the University of Connecticut, and in 1995, the team won the first national championship and then proceeded to win the NCAA title seven more times.

In 2006, Coach Auriemma was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Tenn., and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Mass. In 2007, he was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. He was named U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Coach of the Year in 1995, 2003, 2008 and 2009. In 2010, he shared the Big East Conference Coach of the Year award with Mike Carey of West Virginia, and in 2011, he won the award again. In 2013, he received the Winged Foot Award by the New York Athletic Club for winning the Division I National Championship.

In 2010, Auriemma coached the U.S. women to gold at the World Championships, and in 2012, he led the women’s U.S. National Team to gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. This summer, Auriemma will be coaching the U.S. women’s team again at the 2014 World Championships in Turkey, where a title would qualify the team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Beyond coaching, Auriemma has authored a book with the Boston Globe’s Jackie MacMullen, “Geno. In Pursuit of Perfection.” Additionally, he owns several restaurants in Connecticut, including Geno’s Fast Break and a new Geno’s Grille. He has served on several boards, including Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc., Kay Yow/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Cancer Fund, American Heart Association, Why-Me of New England and the Connecticut Arthritis Foundation. As a motivational speaker, Auriemma often speaks to groups across the country, sharing words of encouragement “to be great at what you do.”

About Montgomery County Community College

Since 1964, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational and workforce development needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes 100+ associate degree/certificate programs, as well as specialized workforce development training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, Pa., online through an extensive array of e-Learning options, or at the brand new Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, Pa. The College also offers first-responder training programs at the Public Safety Training Campus in Conshohocken. Supporting its mission to offer high-quality, affordable and accessible educational opportunities, the College is funded by the County, the State, student tuition and private contributions. Governed by a 15-person Board of Trustees appointed by the Montgomery County Commissioners, the College is fully accredited by the Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

For more information, visit www.mc3.edu.

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34 Cadets Graduate From MCCC Municipal Police Academy

Police 1: Class 1304 graduates are congratulated by Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., MCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, and MCCC Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Aaron Shatzman.  Photos by John Welsh

Police 1: Class 1304 graduates are congratulated by Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., MCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, and MCCC Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Aaron Shatzman. Photos by John Welsh

Blue Bell, PA Thirty-four cadets graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy Class 1304 on March 26 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

Academy alumnus Wayne T. Johnson, Deputy Sheriff with Chester County Sherriff’s Department, sang the National Anthem to begin the ceremony, followed by a moment of reflection from Director of Criminal Justice & Fire Science Programs Benn Prybutok. The Philadelphia Police Department Honor Guard and the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band led the procession.

Patrol Commander Darren Nyce from Upper Dublin Township Police Department was selected by class 1304 to give the keynote address, during which he stressed the importance of preparation.

“Prepare for opportunity, [so that you’re] ready for opportunity when it comes. Being prepared to do the right thing at the right moment takes tremendous heart, courage and perseverance, and, at times, great sacrifice,” shared Nyce, who is an alumnus of the Academy as well as an instructor.

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., County Deputy Chief Detective Samuel Gallen, and County Coordinator of School Safety Steven A. Beck were also in attendance, along with representatives from Tredyffrin, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, Upper Moreland and Whitpain police departments and the FBI.

Earning the highest GPA in his class, Cadet Cpl. Jason Kesack, Lansdale, offered remarks on behalf of the graduates.

“I think love is probably the most important thing, not only in police work but in life in general,” he shared. “It’s about community policing and how you interact with the people around you. Everyone is someone’s mother, someone’s brother. I think it’s important that we remember that golden rule—that we should treat people the way we would want our families treated.”

Academy Director Frank Williar presented Cadet Lt. Laina Stevens, Philadelphia, with the Platoon Commander Award, describing her as “a breath of fresh air.” Stevens, who is now an officer with the Upper Darby Police Department, then ceremonially handed Academy command over to Class 1401 Cadet Lt. Andrew Burrows, Doylestown.

Williar also presented the Director’s Spirit of Distinction Award to Cadet Cpl. James Apgar, Frenchtown, N.J., adding that the award goes to “the MVP of the group; to an individual whose personality is instrumental in making the class what it is.”

Stevens presented the James R. Miller Marksmanship Award to Eric Meoli, Lansdale. The award is presented in memory of Upper Dublin Police Sergeant Jim Miller, who died in an automobile accident while on duty in 2004.

Police 2: Karen McGowan and her sons Scott McGowan and John McGowan IV present the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship to Robert Calvin Wiley, Willow Grove.  Photos by John Welsh

Police 2: Karen McGowan and her sons Scott McGowan and John McGowan IV present the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship to Robert Calvin Wiley, Willow Grove. Photos by John Welsh

During the ceremony, members of the McGowan family—Karen and her sons Scott and John McGowan IV, presented the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,500 to Robert Calvin Wiley, Willow Grove. The scholarship honors the late East Norriton Police Chief John McGowan, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010. Wiley thanked the McGowan family for the honor, adding that he will use the scholarship to continue his education in MCCC’s Criminal Justice program in the fall.

Cadets from class 1304 attended the academy full time, Monday through Friday for 22 weeks. Graduates include Cadet Cpl. James Apgar, Frenchtown, N.J.; Ryan Benner, Drexel Hill; Steve Berg, Levittown; Cadet Sgt. Andrew Brown, Exton; Cadet Sgt. Michael Cabry, Coatesville; Michael Carlson, Elkins Park; Liz Cartwright, Telford; Timothy Clark, Abington; Amber Culton, Quakertown; Zachary Danowski, Skippack; Kevin Deegan, Downington; James Falatovich, Birdsboro; Cadet SSgt. Evan Flora, Collegeville; Jarett Gordon, Collegeville; Patrick Halcovage, Hatfield; Jonathan Huber, Souderton; Cadet Cpl. Jason Kesack, Lansdale; Patrick Kitchenman, Levittown; Cadet Cpl. John Kreuer, Ephrata; Kevin Lowry, Willow Grove; Brett Mackow, Green Lane; Eric Meoli, Lansdale; Jay Nakahara, Allentown; Nicholas O’Connor, Conshohocken; David Pagan, Philadelphia; Stephen Romanic, Coopersburg; Cadet SSgt. David Rosenblit, Philadelphia; Cadet Sgt. Nicholas Ruud, Doylestown; Kathleen Ryan, Horsham; Alex Sansone, Huntingdon Valley; Cadet Lt. Laina Stevens, Philadelphia; Ryan Umberger, Bristol, Gabriel Wasserman, Ambler; Calvin Wiley, Willow Grove.

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.

The academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,500 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 Studies.

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MCCC Students Named To All-PA Academic Team

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout (far left) and Board of Trustees Chairman Michael D’Aniello (far right) stand with MCCC’s All-PA Academic Team members (from left) Serena Dunlap, Elizabeth Holleger, Angelique Moon and Shari Nelson. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout (far left) and Board of Trustees Chairman Michael D’Aniello (far right) stand with MCCC’s All-PA Academic Team members (from left) Serena Dunlap, Elizabeth Holleger, Angelique Moon and Shari Nelson. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Harrisburg, PA — Four Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) students were among 45 students from across the Commonwealth recognized this week for their academic and community achievements.

MCCC students include Serena Dunlap, Gilbertsville; Elizabeth Holleger, Norristown; Angelique Moon, Pottstown; and Shari Nelson, Pottstown.

Collectively, the students comprise the All-PA Academic Team, which is administered nationally by Phi Theta Kappa, the national two-year college honors society. Students were recognized in Harrisburg on March 31, both on the floor of the House of Representatives at the State Capitol, and during a banquet facilitated by the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.

Serena Dunlap already graduated from MCCC’s Honors Program in December, earning an associate’s degree in Liberal Studies before transferring to Bryn Mawr College on full scholarship. Her long-term plans include earning a Ph.D. and specializing in art therapy.

After graduating from Boyertown Area High School, Serena spent a semester at a private university, struggling to pay the tuition price out-of-pocket.  Then she learned about MCCC’s Honors Program, which offers full-tuition scholarships for high-achieving students.

“I chose to attend community college because it was affordable,” Dunlap said. “Not only is it affordable, but it is very easy to get involved on campus and in the community itself, which makes it a pleasure to attend. Affordability was my goal when I decided to attend community college, but what community college gives in education and community is priceless.”

On campus, Dunlap was very engaged in student life, serving as vice president of the Student Government Association, president of the Environmental Club, member of Phi Theta Kappa, and as the Northwest Regional Representative of the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASACC). She also worked as a peer mentor in the College’s Upward Bound program and served as a student representative on the President’s Climate Council and Student Life Committee.

Elizabeth Holleger is an Education in the Early Years major who hopes to one day work as an elementary school teacher and reading specialist after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education. She dedicates her time to volunteering and performing service work in the community in memory of her mother, who lost her battle with invasive breast cancer in 2007.

“I decided to turn a difficult situation into a positive one, and I started volunteering and fundraising in my mother’s memory,” Holleger said. “I want to do all that I can to help others who are also affected by breast cancer. It has become a huge part of my life, and I often volunteer together with my sisters and brothers. My mother’s death has allowed me to grow as a person and to think positively about any situation.”

On campus, Holleger was instrumental in helping to charter the College’s first-ever Rotaract community service club, and she serves as its secretary. She is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa honors society, and she participated in Alternative Spring Break, during which she volunteered for five days at The Samaritan Woman in Baltimore, Md.

Holleger currently holds a 4.0 grade point average (GPA), which she plans to maintain through next December when she will graduate from MCCC with an associate’s degree.

Angelique Moon proudly became the first woman in her family to earn a college degree when she completed her associate’s degree coursework in December at MCCC. A mother of three boys, Moon was majoring in Business when she signed up for a drawing class to fill an elective.

 “I never really knew what I wanted or who I was until after I took this [drawing] class. It changed my life,” she expressed.

Because art helped Moon overcome her social anxiety, she wants to help others to help themselves through art, too. She is currently taking more Fine Arts classes at MCCC and hopes to continue her studies at Kutztown University.

“As far as my long-term goals, I would love to teach but I know that many public schools are removing the arts; therefore, I am keeping an open mind to possibly curating at a museum,” she said. “I also plan to show my work as often as possible and to volunteer my services as an instructor to spread the love of art and to teach others how to express themselves through art.”

Shari Nelson chose to attend MCCC so that she could pursue a degree while helping with her family’s business–Nelson Illusions, a theater company specializing in magic and illusion. A Liberal Studies major at MCCC’s West Campus, Nelson plans to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics and hopes to one day teach math, while continuing to work in the arts and to travel as a professional magician and illusionist.

“Learning has always been important to me, and I love understanding new things and applying them to my life and work,” shared Nelson. “Montgomery County Community College has given me the opportunity to achieve my education and work with wonderful professors while still being able to continue my jobs. At college I aim to learn the most I can to better myself and, hopefully, my future family.”

Nelson will graduate this summer from MCCC with an associate’s degree in Liberal Studies. On campus, she co-founded the West End Student Theatre club and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She also volunteered during MLK Day of Service and as a new student orientation leader. As a magician, Nelson has earned four major awards, including the Magicians Alliance of the Eastern States Award of Excellence, and has competed nationally in magic competitions.

Members of the All-PA Academic Team qualify for two-year scholarships to any of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) institutions and compete at the national level for scholarships from the All-USA Academic Team and the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team. To learn more, visit http://www.pacommunitycolleges.org.

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MCCC Needs Your Vote In National Sustainability Contest

Lansdale, PA — Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is a finalist for Second Nature’s 2014 Climate Leadership Award and needs the community’s help!

While the award itself is based on a formal application and supporting data, Second Nature is  hosting a supplemental popular vote video contest, for which MCCC is one of 15 contestants nationally, and is the only one from Pennsylvania. Individuals can vote daily (one vote daily per IP address) through April 15. Winning videos will receive national media play throughout the year.

To view and vote for MCCC’s video, visit http://www.planetforward.org/idea/cooking-green-cuisine.

MCCC’s video, “Cooking Green Cuisine,” focuses on the Landfill-Free initiative at its new Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. The Culinary Arts Institute partners with Sustainable Waste Solutions (SWS), of Souderton, to convert all waste—trash, recycling and food trimmings—into energy or materials.

To learn more about this, and other green initiatives at the College, visit http://www.mc3green.wordpress.com.

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Archaeological Adventure On Tap For MCCC Students At The Speaker’s House

2013 Field school st#CC0F77 (1)

PHOTO: Field School students dig at The Speaker’s House in 2013. Photo courtesy of The Speaker’s House

Trappe, PA — Students who participate in the Archaeology Field School at The Speaker’s House in Trappe, Pa. this summer can earn college credits for their work, thanks to a new partnership with Montgomery County Community College.

In its sixth year, the Archaeology Field School is an intensive three-week program led by archaeologist Dr. Lydia Garver at The Speaker’s House, which was the home of Frederick Muhlenberg, first Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and first signer of the Bill of Rights. The program runs Tuesdays-Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. from June 10–28. No previous experience is necessary, and the program is open to anyone age 15 or over.  To learn more, visit www.speakershouse.org/archaeology  or contact Lisa Minardi at info@speakershouse.org.

Participants will receive training in excavation techniques, record keeping, artifact identification, processing, cataloging, and classification. The Field School will focus on the area surrounding the original kitchen wing, built in the 1760s, including the foundation of the bake oven.  As part of their work, students will conduct shovel tests in an area where an authentic Pennsylvania German kitchen garden is planned. Optional field trips and guest lectures will also be offered.

For the first time, students can earn three college credits for their participation in the Field School by enrolling through MCCC. To enroll as a guest student, visit mc3.edu/admissions, select course selection and registration, then follow the instructions for guest students. Current MCCC students and alumni should register through Web Advisor by logging into the MyMC3 Portal. The course title is Archaeology Field School (ANT 120, section AW).

Enrollment is limited to 20 participants, and preference will be given to students taking the course for credit through MCCC. Students will pay standard MCCC tuition and fees plus an addition $75 supply fee. Tuition information is available at mc3.edu/admissions. All participants will receive a complimentary one-year student membership in The Speaker’s House.

An optional add-on week will run June 30-July 5. Activities will focus on artifact preservation, such as cleaning, washing, sorting, labeling, cataloging, and preparation for storage.  Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about historic preservation and assist with various hands-on restoration projects at The Speaker’s House.

Built in 1763 by German immigrant John Schrack, The Speaker’s House was owned by the Muhlenberg family from 1781-1803. Other notable owners include Charles Albrecht, a piano maker; Dr. Lewis Royer, physician and legislator; and Ursinus College, which used the house as a dormitory from 1924-1944. The property is also the location of a general store, built in 1782 by Frederick Muhlenberg, and is one of the few archaeological sites in the region that yields information on commercial as well as domestic activities.

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Criminal Justice, Public Safety Careers Focus Of Biennial Event

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Bell, PAMontgomery County Community College (MCCC) will host its 15th Biennial Criminal Justice and Public Safety Career Day on Wednesday, April 23, from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The event is free of charge and is open to the public, including students from other institutions. For information, contact MCCC Director of Criminal Justice Studies and Fire Science and Emergency Management & Planning Benn Prybutok at 215-641-6428 or bprybuto@mc3.edu .

The event begins with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m., which will include remarks by Montgomery County and MCCC officials and presentation of awards. Then, starting at 10 a.m. participants will have the opportunity to meet with top law enforcement, criminal justice and public safety agencies and recruiters in order to become better acquainted with opportunities in these fields.

More than 50 exhibitors will be in attendance, including municipal police departments, state and federal law enforcement and investigative agencies, private security companies, public safety agencies, four-year baccalaureate programs and area law schools.

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QuadForge UVA Research Project Is MCCC’s ‘Innovation Of The Year’

Innovation of the Year: MCCC’s 2014 Innovation of the Year award recipients (from left) Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Andrew Ippolito; Associate Professor of Engineering William Brownlowe and Adjunct Engineering Lecturer Jean Jacques Reymond. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Innovation of the Year: MCCC’s 2014 Innovation of the Year award recipients (from left) Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Andrew Ippolito; Associate Professor of Engineering William Brownlowe and Adjunct Engineering Lecturer Jean Jacques Reymond. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA— The QuadForge Undergraduate Research Program earned Montgomery County Community College’s 2014 Innovation of the Year award last week during an annual ceremony recognizing projects that advance the College’s mission and strategic goals.

MCCC’s QuadForge program is an open source research project that provides freshmen and sophomore Engineering and Computer Science students with the unique opportunity to develop autonomous quad rotor flight vehicles, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UVAs). The project is made possible by a unique collaboration with the Science and Technology Competence Center in Switzerland, which provides funding for the program.

The QuadForge program partners with industry and government entities to provide real-word product deliverables. To date, students and faculty involved with the project have delivered four quad rotor UVAs to the Suisse Government, which is using them to survey and deliver data between weather stations to aid in predicting potential disasters, such as landslides.

The team’s accomplishments include developing modular flight platforms that feature onboard wi-fi and 4G communications, first-person view, high definition video recording, customized mission computers and the world’s first full weatherization, which enables the UVAs to fly in any environment, such as saltwater, snow and rain.

Those recognized as part of the QuadForge Undergraduate Research Program include Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Andrew Ippolito; Associate Professor of Engineering William Brownlowe and Adjunct Engineering Lecturer Jean Jacques Reymond.

To learn more about the QuadForge project at MCCC, visit http://www.quadforge.net.

MCCC’s Innovation of the Year nominees are evaluated against criteria established by the League for Innovation in the Community College—an international organization committed to improving community colleges through innovation. Award criteria include quality, efficiency, cost effectiveness, replication, creativity and timeliness.

As recipient of MCCC’s award, the QuadForge Undergraduate Research Program will be forwarded to the League for Innovation in the Community College for national recognition in a program that is designed to showcase innovation at America’s community colleges.

Other projects nominated the 2014 Innovation of the Year at MCCC included the Cone 6 Transition project that reduces the carbon footprint of the College’s Ceramics firing; the Mustangs Academic Success Program in support of the College’s student athletes; the Green Office Initiative; the College Pathway Academy for Health Professions, in partnership with Phoenixville High School and Phoenixville Hospital; the Production Internship Program with MCCC’s Lively Arts program; the University Center framework; and the Veterans Resource Center.

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Beech Street Factory: Arts-Based Community Revitalization In Pottstown

The Beech Street Factory is a $12.5-million, 30-year investment in Pottstown’s future. With this project, Genesis Housing Corporation and Housing Visions propose not only to rehabilitate a vacant, prominent building in the Borough’s National Register Historic District, but also to spark renewed focus on the arts in Pottstown.

Pottstown has seen a cultural resurgence in recent years. Decades of hard work by organizations such as ArtFusion, Steel River Playhouse, the Pottstown Area Artists’ Guild, Montgomery County Community College, The Hill School Farnsworth Art Museum, and other arts-oriented organizations have highlighted the importance of cultivating visual, performing, and fine arts in Pottstown. More recently, the formation of CreativeMontCo has solidified county-wide interest in the arts. And ongoing investment by Genesis Housing Corporation, Mosaic Community Land Trust, the National Trust Main Street Program, and the Borough of Pottstown have helped to strengthen the overall quality of life in in the Borough by enhancing the public streetscape and laying the groundwork for further investment.

The Beech Street Factory proposes to capitalize on these long-standing efforts and help take them to the next level. Through their development expertise and knowledge of funding programs, Housing Visions and Genesis are planning to convert the old Fecera’s furniture warehouse into a 60,000-square-foot, mixed-use arts center. The ground floor will include 3,000 square feet of energy-efficient, financially sustainable space for ArtFusion, Pottstown’s long-running and much-loved non-profit community arts center.. And the remainder of the building will provide 43 loft, industrial-style apartments to artists and other interested residents. With 14 unique floor plans, exposed brick walls, plenty of natural light, and amenities including a landscaped courtyard, community room, resident computer lab, elevator, and off-street parking, the Beech Street Factory will provide inspiring spaces for Pottstown’s creative community to call home.

The combination of commercial and residential space will ensure a “24-hour” community at the Beech Street Factory, where the busy hum of ArtFusion students during the day gives way to quiet creativity among individual residents at night. The Beech Street Factory will seek to engage with the larger Pottstown community by hosting gallery events at ArtFusion and in the building’s resident community room and open front porch. Residents will be encouraged through Housing Visions scholarships to take classes at ArtFusion, and similarly, members of ArtFusion may wish to apply for residency at the Factory. Additionally, Housing Visions plans to market the residential units to qualified tenants throughout the region by advertising in local arts publications, print and social media, and at local arts events.

The Beech Street Factory provides the catalyst for a renewed conversation about creating a formal Pottstown Arts District. The developers plan to participate on a new Arts Task Force, supporting the Mosaic Community Land Trust in their effort to create an Artist Relocation Program around homeownership in the Beech Street Neighborhood. Through Housing Tax Credit funding, Housing Visions commits its expertise and resources to help improve the quality of life in Pottstown over the next 30 years. By sharing their extensive experience in creative financing and redevelopment of historic properties, Housing Visions and Genesis hope to foster a renewed, stronger emphasis on neighborhood revitalization and quality of life in Pottstown.

By Heather Schroeder, Development Project Manager, Housing Visions

Editor’s thoughts:  This project is gaining supporters. Here is this list, so far:

U.S. Representative Gerlach

Creative MontCo

ArtFusion

Steel River Playhouse

Genesis

Michael Horn, Architect

We feel this project could be the “game changing” catalyst that will finally propel Pottstown’s Arts Revitalization movement forward. Successful completion of a major project in Pottstown would send the signal to funding agencies, investors and developers that Pottstown is now working together toward a common goal. We urge Pottstown Borough Council to get on board with this project.

The biggest thing holding Pottstown back has been the inability of all parties to find common ground and work together. Now that Housing Visions has gotten on board with Pottstown’s desire to be something more than another dumping ground for Montgomery County’s social service ills, and made significant changes to this project, we feel this version is now worthy of our support as well.

We feel the last paragraph regarding the creation of an “arts district” and an artist relocation program is a key component of this project. We have posted about Oil City‘s artist relocation program and how it has helped transform this much smaller and more remote community in Venango County. Pottstown’s excellent location and easy access to Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, Reading and Lancaster only improve the chances for success.

We think you will see support continue to build from other stakeholders in the Tri-County area. A revitalized Pottstown benefits EVERYBODY in the 19464,19465 zip codes, and beyond.

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Pennsylvania Community College Leaders Make Funding Case In Harrisburg

Harrisburg, PA — Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) President Dr. Karen A. Stout testified before the Pa. House Appropriations Committee in Harrisburg on Feb. 20 on the issue of community college funding for Fiscal Year 2014-15. She joined Pa. Commission for Community Colleges (PACCC) President and CEO Elizabeth A. Bolden and Butler County Community College President Dr. Nick Neupauer, who also serves as PACCC’s Board Chairman.

Together the three leaders testified about the critical need for increased operating and capital funding for the Commonwealth’s 14 community colleges. Governor Corbett’s proposed FY 14-15 budget does not include any increase in the community college operating appropriation. If approved, this will be the fourth consecutive year of flat funding in operating following a 10 percent funding cut five years ago. Allowing for inflation, the recommended appropriation is $12 million below the necessary level.

During her testimony, Dr. Stout revealed that, if the proposed budget is passed, MCCC will receive less in operating dollars in FY 14-15 than eight years ago.

“The operating efficiencies used to manage these cuts have already been implemented, and gains from them already realized and exhausted,” she said in her testimony. “Even modest tuition increases are difficult for our students to manage. Last year, we deregistered more than 2,500 students for non-payment. Approximately half return to us at some point, but half are shut out of higher education, even with Pell and PHEAA grants.”

Three MCCC students – Octavia Beyah, Tyler Tucker and Elizabeth Waddell – accompanied Dr. Stout to Harrisburg to lend their support to Pennsylvania’s community colleges.

Beyah, a first-generation college student, is funding her own education. She started her journey at a four-year university, but reverse transferred to MCCC to graduate without debt. Likewise, Tucker chose to attend MCCC to balance life and work to avoid early debt; she aspires to be an appellate court judge. And Waddell comes from a single parent household and acknowledges that education tends to go on the “back burner” when living paycheck to paycheck.

“Students like Octavia, Tyler and Elizabeth build the economic and civic capacity of our community, one dream fulfilled at a time,” shared Dr. Stout in her testimony.

Stout went on to share how the economic impact of MCCC’s students extends to all Pennsylvania residents. For example, taxpayers, see a return rate of 7.2 percent on their investment, and every one dollar of state and local tax money invested in the College yields a cumulative $21.60 in benefits that accrue to all Pennsylvania residents in terms of added taxable income and avoided social costs.

“Fifty years ago, a group of visionary State and local leaders from across the Commonwealth passed the Community College Act, and with it, a commitment to invest in the hopes, dreams and aspirations of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians to access affordable, high quality, transfer education and workforce training programs that could lead them into the middle class and thus build the quality of life and civic development and economic competitiveness of Pennsylvania. Over these 50 years, nearly 400,000 Montgomery County residents have benefitted from access to these programs. The ripple effect of those attending – on our community – is multi-generational,” shared Dr. Stout.

In addition to restoring operating funds, Bolden and PACCC asked the House Appropriations Committee for capital funding to be increased in order to address the $726 million in documented infrastructure improvements for the State’s 14 community colleges over the next five years.  As it stands now, the Governor’s proposed budget calls for a $1 million cut in capital.

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Layoffs At Aetna

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An undisclosed number of Aetna Inc. employees, including case managers, received layoff notices Wednesday at the health insurer’s Blue Bell office. One employee said that seven out of 18 supervisors lost their jobs, and each supervisor oversaw a staff of 15 to 20.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140227_Layoffs_at_Aetna.html#CJofKpH9CJpMxLSP.99

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National Award Recognizes MCCC’s College-Wide Commitment To Student Success

Orlando, Fla.— Montgomery County Community College was honored for its ongoing commitment to student access and success on Feb. 24 during the annual Achieving the Dream Strategy Institute in Orlando, Fla. The College was one of two institutions presented with the sixth annual Leah Meyer Austin Award by Achieving the Dream.

The Leah Meyer Austin Award, sponsored by The Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was established in 2008 to recognize outstanding achievement in supporting and promoting student success through the creation of a culture of evidence, continuous improvement, systemic institutional change, broad engagement of stakeholders, and equity, with particular attention to low-income students and students of color.

Austin, whose visionary leadership shaped the development of Achieving the Dream, is the former Senior Vice President for Program Development and Organizational Learning at the Lumina Foundation, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Achieving the Dream.

Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), Pennsylvania, and Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), Massachusetts, were each awarded $25,000 to support their ongoing student success efforts. According to Achieving the Dream, both institutions were recognized for “building whole-college solutions to improve student success and equity, which have resulted in noteworthy increases in student success.”

“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.”

“The College’s selection as a Leah Meyer Austin Award recipient underscores our continued commitment to advance the areas of student access, success and completion that anchor our work as an Achieving the Dream Leader College,” she continued.

In addition to building college-wide solutions and engaging in data-informed decision making, Achieving the Dream commended MCCC for its work to improve developmental education outcomes, college readiness, and student persistence.

One highlight is the College’s efforts to reduce the number of students who place in developmental English by 31 percent, without impacting their subsequent success in college-level English courses. This was achieved through a combination of adjusting placement cut-off scores, moving from an ACCUPLACER placement test to a WritePlacer exam, and allowing students with SAT scores of 500 and up to enroll directly in college-level English. In fall 2011, more than 900 students benefited from these changes, successfully completing Composition I (ENG 101) at the same rate as those students who placed in college-level English under the old cut score.

MCCC also continues to build momentum in its efforts to improve success in developmental mathematics. The College was previously recognized by Achieving the Dream for the complete redesign of its basic arithmetic curriculum, which increased student success rates by 20 percent and math confidence rates by 20 to 35 percent. MCCC also developed two-week accelerated basic arithmetic and beginning algebra “boot camp” review courses for students whose ACCUPLACER test scores are close to the cutoff. To date, 300 students have completed the accelerated courses, outperforming students who follow the traditional path.

Achieving the Dream also noted MCCC’s efforts to improve the college readiness of students from feeder high schools through a variety of initiatives. Among these is MCCC’s participation in the national Gateway to College Network, designed for young adults ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school or who are significantly behind in credits and are unlikely to graduate. The program enables qualifying students to complete their high school diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credits toward an associate’s degree or certificate. In addition, MCCC developed a College Pathway Academy for Health Professions in partnership with the Phoenixville School District and Phoenixville Hospital. The Academy enables students to earn college credits in the health sciences while completing their high school graduation requirements.

Another highlight is the College’s success in improve persistence rates for minority students. In 2009, MCCC first launched its Minority Male Mentoring Program (MMMP) to close the nationally documented achievement gap for African-American male students. The program connects participating students with caring mentors for guidance and support while providing opportunities for civic engagement, academic advisement, personal development and leadership development. Between 2009 and 2013, participants showed a term-to-term persistence rate of close to 80 percent – significantly higher than the 63 percent for non-participants. This spring, the initiative was expanded to include African-American and Latina female students and was renamed the Minority Student Mentoring Initiative (MSMI).

To learn more about MCCC’s Student Success Initiative, visit its website at mc3.edu or its Think Success blog at mc3success.wordpress.com.

Achieving the Dream, Inc.

Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. The Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, including over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams – working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia – helps nearly 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services.  Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. Through its National Education Program, the Trust views education as a lever to advance both American economic competitiveness and individual social mobility.  In K-12, the Trust focuses on ensuring all students graduate high school prepared for college or careers by supporting teacher effectiveness and the adoption and implementation of high academic standards. In postsecondary education, the Trust is primarily interested in increasing the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates who can participate in high growth sectors of the economy.  The Trust also focuses on policy levers that improve postsecondary completion, particularly for underrepresented populations.

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MCCC Culinary Students Learn Revolutionary Era Baking For Presidents’ Day Event

WashingtonValley Forge, Pa.— Pastry Arts students from the Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) got an historical lesson in baking as they partnered with Valley Forge National Historical Park to celebrate the 282nd birthday of first U.S. President George Washington on Feb. 17.

The CAI was tapped to recreate Martha Washington’s cake recipe, which 25 students, under the guidance of adjunct instructor and Chef Julia Quay, used to create one large birthday cake and 500 patriotically-decorated cupcakes for hundreds of children and families in attendance.

The Park’s annual Presidents’ Day celebration also included arts and crafts, singing, dancing and a formal cake-cutting ceremony by General Washington himself.

The creation of Washington’s birthday cake is one of MCCC’s “50 Acts of Kindness” as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout 2014, MCCC students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters are committed organizing 50 acts of community service – one for every year of the College’s existence. To learn more at the College’s 50th anniversary activities, visit mc3.edu/50.

To learn more about the Culinary Arts Institute at Montgomery County Community College, visit mc3.edu/culinary, or stop by the CAI’s spring open house, 1400 Forty Foot Road, Lansdale, on April 26 from 10 a.m.-noon.

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 PHOTO: General George Washington prepares to cut his birthday cake, which was prepared by students from the Culinary Arts Institute at Montgomery County Community College. He is joined by CAI student and faculty representatives, as well as by his wife, Martha, on Feb. 17 at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

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MCCC Students Raise $420 For West Campus Scholarship Fund‏

Lasagna Dinner CheckPottstown, Pa.— Student leaders at Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus in Pottstown raised $420 during their 13th Annual Lasagna Dinner on Feb. 19.

Proceeds from the dinner benefit the West Campus Student Scholarship fund through the College’s Foundation. The scholarship is awarded annually to a West Campus student who is engaged in community service and is in good academic standing.

The buffet meal of meat or veggie lasagna, salad, bread, dessert and beverage was served by MCCC student leaders and was available for dine-in or take-out. Between 6-7 p.m., members of MCCC’s West End Student Theatre (WEST) presented an interactive improv dating show that had diners roaring with laughter.

The West Campus Lasagna Dinner is one of MCCC’s “50 Acts of Kindness” as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout 2014, MCCC students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters are committed organizing 50 acts of community service – one for every year of the College’s existence. To learn more at the College’s 50th anniversary activities, visit mc3.edu/50.

To learn more about scholarship opportunities through MCCC’s Foundation, visit mc3.edu/giving.

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PHOTO: West Campus student leaders present a $420 check to Montgomery County Community College’s Foundation following the 13th Annual Lasagna Dinner on Feb. 19. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

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Montgomery County Community College Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As 2014 begins to unfold, Montgomery County Community College’s will start to celebrate its 50th year of thinking big and providing high-quality, accessible higher education for the citizens of Montgomery County and beyond.

“Fifty years ago, Montgomery County Community College was founded on the bold belief that education has the power to transform lives and communities. The College’s early visionaries laid the framework for what we are today—a community hub for education, innovation, workforce training and cultural activity,” says MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “We are proud to celebrate our 50th anniversary. This is a special time to reflect upon our accomplishments, thank the people who made those achievements possible and look forward to thinking bigger for the next 50 years.”

More than 50 years ago in 1963, Pennsylvania passed the Community College Act, which provides the legal framework for the establishment of community colleges in the Commonwealth. Even before the ink was dry on the new legislation, a Montgomery County steering committee investigated and confirmed the need for a community college in the County. The College was officially established on Dec. 8, 1964 and opened its doors in October 1966 in the former Conshohocken High School Building at Fayette and 7th streets in Conshohocken. In 1972, it moved to its current location at 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and in 1996, the West Campus in Pottstown opened. In the fall 2013, the College opened its new state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Institute, 1400 Forty Foot Rd., Lansdale. For the future, the College is currently in the planning stages of transforming its existing Physical Education building into a Health Sciences Center.

Read more: http://mc3bignews.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/montgomery-county-community-college-celebrates-50th-anniversary/

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Poll Workers Needed In Pottstown, Change In 5th Ward Polling Place

Pottstown Polling LocationsPOTTSTOWN, PA — There may be some hiccups at the polls Tuesday in the borough.

Two polling places in the First Ward — Invictus Ministries Inc. at North Hanover and Chestnut streets, and the Pottstown campus of Montgomery County Community College — have no personnel to work the polls.

Mark Lawler, judge of elections in the Fifth Ward, said election officials have been unable to contact those who have done it in the past, or that those who have done it in the past are unavailable.

“We need a judge of elections, which pays $110 for the day, and majority clerk and minority clerk, which each pay $90 a day, for both 2-1 at Invictus and 2-2 at the college,” Lawler said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131101/poll-workers-needed-in-pottstown-change-in-5th-ward-polling-place

State of the Borough Address To Be Given By Mark Flanders And Erica Weekley At TCN Monthly Meeting

State of the Borough Address

Receive new and exciting updates on:

Community Collaborative Initiatives

Pottstown Area Rapid Transit

Pottstown Municipal Airport

Infrastructure Projects

Manatawny Gateway & Mini Golf Complex

TCN Membership Meeting

Tuesday, October 15th, 8am-10am

Montgomery County Community College, West Campus

101 College Drive, Pottstown

Community Room

You’re invited to join a TCN Committee and help address community issues.  Committees will meet during the second hour.
Caregivers Support – Community Partners Against Abuse – Environmental Health & Safety – Homeless Services – Workforce Development – Youth Development 

The Fundraising Gala Committee will meet 10am-10:30am. 

Registration required.  Click here to register or call 610-705-3301, Ext. 2.

Building Boom Resumes In Towamencin Township

Location of Towamencin Township in Montgomery ...

Location of Towamencin Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the curved pedestrian bridge Towamencin Township built over the crossroads village of Kulpsville, you can see the next suburban boomtown rising.

It’s taken long enough, says Robert Nicoletti, 82, who bought ground there in 1958.

From the bridge, against a backdrop of the behind-schedule Pennsylvania Turnpike widening at the nearby Lansdale exit, you can watch crews build the four-story Bridgeview apartment complex, which will start renting next month; the thick concrete core of a six-story Courtyard by Marriott hotel, due in the fall;, and the Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College, which will enroll its first students in the spring.  Farther north stands ball-bearing maker SKF Corp.’s U.S. headquarters, certified “platinum” by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The apartments, hotel, cooking school, and corporate headquarters all are the work of Nicoletti’s Philadelphia Suburban Development Corp., better known in the city as a major landlord of parole and welfare offices and other state agencies, as well as a South Philly site proposed by Penn National Corp. for a casino.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130311_Building_boom_resumes_in_Towamencin.html#ixzz2NF5kBdso
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TriCounty Community Network To Hold Meeting On Preventing & Preparing For School Emergencies

The TriCounty Community Network (TCN) Build Up Youth Committee will be hosting a meeting on “School Emergencies: Prevention, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery”.  In the wake of recent tragedies, the speaker, Matthew Moyer, principal at Rupert Elementary School will talk about how the TriCounty community can help our schools protect our children.

State Rep. Mark Painter will also be at the event and will speak to the attendees.

Tuesday, February 19, 8am – 10am

Montgomery County Community College, West Campus

Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown

  Breakfast Sponsor: Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Click here to register or call TCN at 610-705-3301 ext. 2.

TCN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, membership-based organization that partners with nonprofits, businesses and community members to improve health, social and environmental conditions.  Serving Western Montgomery, Northern Chester and Eastern Berks counties in Pennsylvania, TCN offers six key programs: Build Up Youth, CARE (caregivers support), Environmental Awareness, Homeless Services, SAFE (Supporting Abuse Free Environments), and Workforce Development.  For more information on TCN, visit www.tcnetwork.org.