by Diane VanDyke
Nine Montgomery County Community College students will soon be attending Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., through the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program.
Five of the students—Abu Chowdhury, Hatfield; Mona Elshorbagy, Harleysville; Abigail Galloway, Pottstown; Knell Gregory, Pottstown; and Mike Guarini, Plymouth Meeting —will participate in this summer’s Bucknell Residency Program.
During the summer program, the 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 2013, and if accepted, they will transfer to the university with junior status on full-tuition scholarships.
Three of the students who participated in last year’s summer program—Bethany Grandy, Pottstown; Andrew Mastrocola, Harleysville; and Nicholas Salvo, Worcester —were selected to attend the university in the fall as juniors with full-tuition scholarships from Bucknell. Gemma Dugan, Elkins Park, who also attended the 2011 summer program, started at Bucknell earlier this year for the spring semester.
Initially funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program enables high-achieving, low-income community college students to complete their undergraduate education at the university. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s scholarship programs are designed to encourage and support outstanding students who work hard, demonstrate a strong will to succeed, and have financial need.
During the scholarship reception on May 15, Nicola Manning-Davenport spoke about how the program enabled her to reach her goals. After earning her associate’s degree at Montgomery County Community College, she transferred to Bucknell on full-tuition scholarship and earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics. She then obtained a position with Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit and is now starting her graduate degree.
“Through this opportunity I was able to show my son that by working hard and believing in myself I was able to move ahead in life,” Nicola said, crediting her success to her mentors and support network at both colleges.
Montgomery County Community College has participated in Bucknell’s Community College Scholars Program since 2006. Including this year’s scholars, a total of 42 students attended the summer residency program, and, including this year’s graduates, a total of 28 students transferred to Bucknell on full-tuition scholarships.
While the Jack Kent Cook Foundation provided funding for the first four years, Bucknell is committed to continuing the program, said Mark Davies, Bucknell’s Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management and the liaison for the Community College Scholars Program.
Bucknell’s program extends to five community colleges: Montgomery County Community College, Garrett College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Community College of Philadelphia and Harrisburg Area Community College.