PECO Donates $25,000 to College for STEM Scholarships

 In honor of Montgomery County Community College’s 50th anniversary last year, PECO presented a check in the amount of $25,000 for $500 scholarships for 50 students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields. Thirty-one of the 50 students were available to attend the luncheon event on April 7, 2015, to receive their certificate of awards. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

In honor of Montgomery County Community College’s 50th anniversary last year, PECO presented a check in the amount of $25,000 for $500 scholarships for 50 students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields. Thirty-one of the 50 students were available to attend the luncheon event on April 7, 2015, to receive their certificate of awards. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

In honor of its recent 50th anniversary, Montgomery County Community College received $25,000 from PECO on April 7, 2015, for 50 scholarship awards to students to support their education in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“As we conclude the celebration of the College’s 50th anniversary, we look ahead to ensure the continued success of our current and future students,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president. “The growth and competitiveness of our country’s economy requires an educated, skilled workforce in high-demand STEM career fields, and as a result, we have strengthened our STEM program to provide more opportunities to engage students through hands-on learning experiences both on campus and through community partnerships. PECO’s generous donation will help our STEM students with their financial needs and further support their achievements.”

The scholarships will help high-achieving STEM students—including veterans, active duty military or reservists, single parents, women, minorities and nontraditional students—defray the cost of tuition, textbooks, lab supplies, technology fees and other program-related costs.

For Computer Science major and Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society member, Victor Hall, the scholarship will help him pursue his passion for writing code, particularly for electronic game and simulation design. While attending classes at MCCC, Hall hopes to participate in the QuadForge Undergraduate Research Program and wants to pursue internships in his field. Upon graduation, he plans to continue his education at the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Engineering studying Digital Media Design.

“I am thankful to receive the PECO STEM scholarship,” Hall said, noting that this will help him to pay for tuition and avoid accruing debt. “This award has inspired me to continue to think big about my education and potential.”

MCCC’s STEM programs integrate the key areas of experiential learning, professional development, connections with local businesses and academia, and direct access to defined college and career pathways.

“Thanks to the generosity of PECO, students in the STEM programs can build solid mathematical and scientific foundations that will stabilize their future pathways. Through STEM courses, students become familiar with scientific methodology and analytical skills that are critical in today’s STEM related workforce,” said MCCC’s Dean of STEM Dr. David DiMattio.

In the Engineering program, for example, the College immerses students in a research and development experience with its QuadForge Undergraduate Research Program in which students, using open-source materials, create and develop unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with computers, WiFi and 4G communications, high-definition video recording and embedded electronics with full weatherization.

As an ongoing initiative, the College continues to build relationships with STEM partners to provide more opportunities for students. The College is part of the Northeast Biomanufacturing Center and Collaborative (NBC2) that consists of 22 industry partners from nine states and 14 education partners from 10 states. In recent years, NBC2 received three National Science Foundation grants to implement outreach programs and create a standardized biomanufacturing textbook.

For more information about the College’s STEM programs, visit mc3.edu/academics/areas-of-study/stem.

~ by Diane VanDyke

Sustainability Festival, Keynote Speaker Kick Off Earth Day Activities

Office Depot's Yalmaz Siddiqui will deliver an Earth Day presentation titled “Purchasing For Positive Impact,” on April 15.

Office Depot’s Yalmaz Siddiqui will deliver an Earth Day presentation titled “Purchasing For Positive Impact,” on April 15.

Montgomery County Community College will join communities across the world in celebrating Earth Day 2015 with a series of activities that engage students and community members with the institution’s sustainability efforts.

While Earth Day itself is observed annually on April 22, the College’s celebration kicks off with a Sustainability Festival on April 15 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the quad at Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and in the South Hall Community Room at the West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Free and open to the public, both events will feature student and College exhibits, as well as information and activities from green vendors and community organizations. The Central Campus festival will also include a student ceramic arts sale and an eco-car exhibit.

Also on April 15, Yalmaz Siddiqui, senior director of environmental and supplier diversity strategy with Office Depot, will deliver a keynote presentation titled “Purchasing For Positive Impact,” at 12:20 p.m. in the Science Center Theater at the Central Campus, with a simulcast to the South Hall Community Room at the West Campus. The presentation is free and is open to the public; however, tickets are required. Free tickets can be reserved and downloaded at mc3.edu/livelyarts.

Siddiqui has led global environmental strategy efforts at Office Depot since 2006 and supplier diversity strategy efforts since 2014. He helped initiate and integrate environmental initiatives into all functional areas of the organization, resulting in Office Depot earning the number one rank as America’s “Greenest Large Retailer” by Newsweek Magazine for three years.

Office Depot helped the College launch its Green Office Initiative in 2013. The initiative empowers offices to progress through a four-tier program based on sustainable purchasing and practices that ultimately save both resources and money. The College earned two awards last year for its Green Office work: the Greener Purchasing Award from the Philadelphia Area Collegiate Cooperative and the Community College Leadership in Greener Purchasing Award from Office Depot.

In addition to the public events on April 15, the College will host programs for its students, faculty and staff through April 22. These include a World Café-style five-year planning session facilitated by MCCC’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council and a “Service Rewind” celebration that recognizes student community service projects and activities.

Since signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, sustainability has become a core value at Montgomery County Community College and is incorporated into the institution’s strategic plan, core curriculum, and in everyday best practices as they relate to facilities management, campus operations and transportation. Chaired by President Dr. Karen A. Stout, a team of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members comprise the Climate Commitment Advisory Council, which guides sustainability efforts toward attaining carbon neutrality by 2050.

~ by Alana J. Mauger

6th Annual International Night Celebrates Global Diversity

International performances and cuisine are highlights of Montgomery County Community College’s annual International Festival. 2014 photo by Sandi Yanisko

International performances and cuisine are highlights of Montgomery County Community College’s annual International Festival. 2014 photo by Sandi Yanisko

Montgomery County Community College’s International Club and ESL/International Student Services invite the community to the 6th Annual International Night on Tuesday, April 21, from 5-9 p.m. General admission is $5; admission for children under age 12 is $3. MCCC students will be admitted free of charge with a valid student ID.

The festivities will be held in the cafeteria and adjoining conference area in the lower level of College Hall at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Students will transform space into a multi-cultural celebration. Highlights will include cultural performances, international cuisine from more than 30 countries, educational information, raffles and more.

International Night brings together the College and local community to celebrate diversity and collective cultures. In past years, up to 1,000 people have attended or participated in this family-friendly event.

For more information or to sponsor an activity, contact Dilek Arig at darig@mc3.edu.

VIDEO: ‘The Buzz Update,’ Week of 4/6/15

Check out “The Buzz Update” for the week of April 6, 2015.  The program is student produced by the Communicating Arts Production Group (CAPG) at Montgomery County Community College.

West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts Program to Present Peter Shaffer’s ‘Black Comedy’

Cast members rehearse for the upcoming performances of Peter Shaffer’s “Black Comedy” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 23, 24 and 25, at 7 p.m. and on Friday, April 24, at 12:30 p.m. in Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus. Photo by Diane VanDyke

Cast members rehearse for the upcoming performances of Peter Shaffer’s “Black Comedy” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 23, 24 and 25, at 7 p.m. and on Friday, April 24, at 12:30 p.m. in Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus. Photo by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program are proud to present “Black Comedy,” a farce by Sir Peter Shaffer. Show dates are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 23, 24 and 25 at 7 p.m., with a special afternoon performance on Friday, April 24, at 12:30 p.m. All performances will be held in the College’s South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, call 215-641-6518 or visit www.mc3.edu/livelyarts. Free parking is available.

“Black Comedy” is a wild, comic farce by renowned British playwright Sir Peter Shaffer, author of “Amadeus.” In it, a desperate sculptor hopes to impress his fiancée’s father and a millionaire patron by “borrowing” a few antiques from his absent neighbor. But after a fuse blows in his apartment and plunges them all into darkness, a hilarious race against time ensues to set things right before the lights come back on and the neighbor returns.

“This production of ‘Black Comedy’ is akin to Mel Brooks and Dick Van Dyke having a baby – it’s a racy, raunchy, and raucous good time,” says Director Samantha Clarke. This production contains adult themes and language.

Directed by Clarke and stage managed by Anna Taylor, the cast includes Joe Donely, Carly Watson, Allison Wentzel, Zach Clark, Jeff Chernesky, Myasia Bynum, Nicholas Bartelmo, and Joseph Borders. The production is designed, produced and presented by the students of the West End Student Theatre, which includes Morgan Carrasquillo, Desiree Humes, Zachary Clark, Joe Donley, Andrew Miller, Alex Hollowell, Christian Flint, Tess Devlin, Tom Keller, Merissa Crabtree, Anthony Confino, Rianna Isbell and Mariah Blank, under the guidance of Theatre Instructor Tim Gallagher.

~ by Diane VanDyke

Lively Arts Series to Present Chromatic Harmonica Player Grégoire Maret

Grégoire Maret

Grégoire Maret

Grégoire Maret, one of the world’s most sought-after harmonica players, will bring his diverse interpretations of jazz-infused world music to Montgomery County Community College on Saturday, April 18, at 8 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tickets cost $28. Visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518 for more information and tickets.

Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Maret was exposed to a wide array of musical influences from his Harlem, New York-born mother and Swiss father, a local jazz musician. A graduate of the Music Conservatory in Geneva, he studied jazz at the New School University in New York.

“I listen to a lot of music from different parts of the world [and] try to find new things and new sounds to play on my instruments,” says Maret, who has created his own harmonica series for Suzuki. “The chromatic harmonica…has a voice-like quality. It can do things that no other instrument can express or play [and] can fit into any musical setting, yet there is still very little that has been explored with it. So there is a lot to be done and discovered.”

Hailed by National Public Radio as a “restless creative spirit who can’t keep still on stage” and by Pat Metheny as “an exceptional young musician who is taking the harmonica to an exciting new place in jazz,” Maret was named “Player of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and earned a Grammy award for best contemporary jazz album for his work with Metheny. He has performed at the “Concert for the Rainforest” with Elton John and Sting and has played with such legendary musicians as Herbie Hancock, Youssou N’Dour, Meshell Ndegeocello, Pete Seeger, David Sanborn and George Benson.

Funded by a grant from William Penn Foundation, Maret’s performance is part of the College’s 2014-15 Lively Arts series, “Old School, New School.” Upcoming performances include political satirist comedy troupe The Capitol Steps on May 2 and the annual Betzwood Film Festival on May 9.

The Lively Arts programs have connected the community for more than a quarter century. In addition to performances from internationally acclaimed artists, each season features a Young Arts Explorers series; student choral, jazz ensemble, guitar, dance and theater performances; the Presidential Symposium and Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship for Peace and Social Justice; and the Betzwood Film Festival.

For more information, visit mc3.edu/livelyarts, email livelyarts@mc3.edu or call the Box Office at 215-641-6518. Follow the College’s “Destination Arts” page on Facebook at facebook.com/DestinationArts.

~ by Diane VanDyke

Salute to Excellence Scholarship Event Highlights Students and Supporters

Donors Kenneth and Valerie Baker are proud to award the 2014-15 KVB Foundation Scholarship to Jeremiah Garcia, a Liberal Studies major who will graduate in May 2015. Photo by Anita Jerva

Donors Kenneth and Valerie Baker are proud to award the 2014-15 KVB Foundation Scholarship to Jeremiah Garcia, a Liberal Studies major who will graduate in May 2015. Photo by Anita Jerva

Montgomery County Community College’s annual Salute to Excellence Scholarship event embodies the College’s solid commitment to access to higher education, student success and community engagement.

This year, thanks to the support of generous donors and the success of its Futures Rising comprehensive fundraising campaign, the College’s Foundation awarded 305 students with more than $522,500 from nearly 150 donor-funded scholarships—the largest number of recipients awarded and the most scholarship money raised in the Foundation’s history.

This includes more than 80 new scholarship funds established since July 1, 2013, when the College’s Foundation initially launched its ambitious Futures Rising campaign to raise $9 million for student scholarships. The Foundation expects to reach and even exceed its goal by June 30, 2015.

“The support of the Futures Rising comprehensive fundraising campaign enables the College to keep the doors to higher education open to everyone who desires an education,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president. “Every year, we see an increase in the number of students who require financial aid to cover their educational expenses; in 2014-15, the total unmet need of our students exceeds $29 million. Scholarships enable our students to complete their education and graduate debt free, and we are grateful for the generosity of our donors and community partners.”

At the Salute to Excellence event held at Normandy Farms in Blue Bell on March 31, the College’s Foundation honored more than 320 donors and students. The evening provided an opportunity for scholarship recipients to share their experiences and personally thank the donors who helped them achieve their education goals.

For students like Jeremiah Garcia, 21, of Plymouth Meeting, scholarships not only provide financial security, but a message of encouragement and assurance.

“Last year, I was awarded the Alumni Association Scholarship, and this year I was awarded the KVB Foundation Endowed Scholarship,” said Garcia, who has been an orphan and in foster care since he was 4 years old. “Because of these scholarships, I was given some financial stability that allowed me to concentrate on my studies. A giant weight was lifted from my shoulders and allowed me to have time to get involved in campus. I am proud to say that during my first year as a student, I became the Student Government Association President, and I made first team on the men’s soccer team. In my second year, I was elected President of the American Student Association of Community Colleges, was nominated to be captain of the men’s soccer team, and was elected Vice President of the Student Government Association.”

Following his graduation from Montgomery, Garcia plans to continue his education, majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship at a four-year school.

“I will always remember the difference these scholarships made in my life, and some day, I hope I will be able to pay it forward for someone like me to succeed,” he added.

For more information about student scholarships at Montgomery County Community College or for information about establishing a named fund, please contact Stephanie Wittig, Director of Alumni Relations and Special Programs, at swittig@mc3.edu or 215-461-1139.

~ by Diane VanDyke