Leading Women Event Raises $25,000 For Scholarships, Empowers Women Through Golf

Ambler, PA Women helping women—that’s the idea behind the Annual Karen A. Stout Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience, a marquee fundraising event for the Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Foundation.

More than 140 female role models came out to support scholarships and programming for MCCC’s female students at the 12th annual event, named in honor of MCCC President Emerita Dr. Karen A. Stout, on June 6 at Talamore Country Club in Ambler.  The event raised more than $25,000.

“Since the Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience started, we have raised more than $300,000!” shared Delores Lare, chair of the Foundation Board of Directors. “In 2015, the event provided $14,000 for seven KEYS Scholarship recipients and $23,000 for 15 Leading Women Scholarship recipients.”

Two of those recipients—Beth Holleger and Tamara Ali—were invited to share their stories during the brunch symposium portion of the event.

Holleger, who graduated from MCCC in 2014 and is entering her senior year at East Stroudsburg University, shared the impact scholarships had on her education.

“It was so incredibly humbling and inspiring to know that people I had never even met were investing in me,” shared the early childhood education major. “When you invest in scholarships, you invest in people. You enrich their lives by giving them a chance at a quality education, and this, in turn, enriches the community.”

Ali, who is a KEYS Scholarship recipient, graduated in May 2016 with an associate’s degree in human services.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for women such as yourselves,” she told the attendees. “At the very end of my program, my financial aid ran out. If it wasn’t for the Leading Women Scholarship funds, I would still be struggling to pay for my education. The scholarship allowed me to pay for my education, eliminate stress, bury the burden of unpaid tuition and focus on completing my goals!”

Leading Women arose from conversations between Dr. Stout and Deb Takes, who, with a dynamic group of female leaders affectionately referred to as the “founding mothers,” started a Woman-Owned Business Network and a course, “Starting a Successful Woman-Owned Business,” to support female entrepreneurs.

The motivation behind the golf portion of the event is the need to break down gender barriers that may exist for women in business. As such, Leading Women is not your typical golf fundraiser. Because business deals and networking often occur on the golf course, the event has a unique learner portion, during which participants learn the fundamentals of the game.  As learners get taught how to chip, putt and drive, foursomes of more experienced golfers—many of whom started as learners—play in a scramble format.

Dr. Stout, who now serves as president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, a national student success reform network, delivered a keynote address that focused on ways in which organizations and individuals can move out of their comfort zones and move into learning zones.

“As philanthropists, we need to think not in terms of empowering female students, but in how we can break down barriers that prevent them from succeeding,” she said. “We need to unlock the transformative power of education for those who need it most and can contribute back in meaningful ways in their community.”

The organizing committee for 2016 Leading Women Golf Symposium was led by two MCCC alumna and Alumni Hall of Fame inductees, Cindi Diccianni and Pat Nunan, both of whom are business owners.

This year’s event was made possible by the following sponsors: ADT, Baker Tilly, Diccianni Financial Group, Fox Rothschild, Alma Jacobs, Ambler Savings Bank, Apollo Granite & Marble, Chartwell Law Offices, State Representative Madeleine Dean, Nance Dicciani, Saul Ewing, Joe and Kathy Gallagher, State Representative Kate Harper, J.O.B. Design & Construction, Keiffer’s Appliances, Lakeview Dental, Lifestyles Design, Motz Wealth Management, Universal Credit Services, Wilmington Trust and UNIVEST-Banking, Insurance, Investments.

In-kind sponsors included 4 Seasons Tanning, Act II Playhouse, Alma Jacobs, Ambler Theater, Blue Bell Country Club, Body Serene Day Spa, Center Square Golf Club, Cindy Diccianni, Comcast, Costco Wholesale, Crown Plaza Philadelphia West, The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College, Dolores Lare, Fireman’s Hall Museum, Gallagher Fluid Seals, Inc., Gerhard’s Appliances, Glasses by Amanda, GolfSmith, HCAM, Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, Maureen Thompson, Motivs Cosmetics, Norristown Bell Credit Union, A&C Kitchens, Nu Waves Salon, Pat Nunan, Penn Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Pinecrest Country Club, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Sovereign Security, Stark & Stark, Target, Tattoo Alley, TransAmerica Life, Uncorked Artist and the Leading Women Committee.

For more information, email foundation@mc3.edu or call 215-461-1139.

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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