Editors Note: This is the first in a series of four All-Pennsylvania Academic Team student profiles.
by Whitney L. Etter and Alana J. Mauger
As a freshman, Christine Chiodo, Glenside, joined Montgomery County Community College’s Student Government Association (SGA) to encourage campus involvement among her peers. Two years later, having served as senator and president, she has developed into a seasoned and passionate leader and scholar – characteristics that earned her a spot on Phi Theta Kappa’s All-USA Academic Team as a Coca-Cola Silver Scholar.
Sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, that award includes a $1,250 scholarship to help Chiodo continue her education and pursue a career in clinical psychology after she graduates from the College on May 17 with an associate’s degree in social sciences/psychology concentration.
During her time at the College, Chiodo was instrumental in rallying student support for issues like Pell grant and capital project funding, and she represented her peers in meetings with federal, state and local government officials.
“Legislators really responded to our stories of why our community college meant so much to us,” she explained. “What impacted me most about this experience was seeing how much we can accomplish. Everyone should have this experience so that they can realize how one voice can truly make a difference.”
Chiodo was able to further hone her skills by earning leadership certifications from the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASACC) L.E.A.P.S. program while attending national Leadership, Citizenship and Advocacy conferences in New Orleans, La. and Nashville, Tenn.
In addition to work with SGA, Chiodo also served as president of the College’s Psychology Club, secretary of A.C.E. Community Service Club, and as a member of the Adventure Club and the Alpha Kappa Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society. She also co-chaired the entertainment committee for the College’s inaugural and second annual Relay for Life events, which raised a combined total of more than $42,000 for the American Cancer Society.
“Throughout the preparation for Relay and during the event itself, I used many skills that I have either learned or improved upon at Montco,” she explained. “I needed to be very organized and have a timeline of when and what I wanted to get done in order to make the event the best it could be.”
Committed to service beyond the College’s campuses, Chiodo was one of 16 students who traveled to Amarillo, Texas during spring break to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, and she spent the past two Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Service cleaning and painting at the Police Athletic League in Norristown.
Chiodo plans to one day earn a doctorate in clinical psychology and hopes to work with individuals in a mental hospital or prison setting.
“The one thing that I have learned throughout my life is to do what makes you happy,” she explained, citing her mother as an example. “My mother was really interested in teaching, but instead earned an associate’s in dental hygiene and went off to work in a dental office. She waited until my sister and I were old enough to return to college to make her dream come true.”
Her mom’s graduation from Montgomery County Community College in 2009 ultimately led Christine to enroll.
“Now, my mother is a senior at Arcadia University, working diligently to become an elementary school teacher,” she said. “Seeing how hard my mom works to get straight A’s in college is all the motivation that I need. It makes me realize that I will not put anything on the back burner or wait until tomorrow to get it done.