Editors Note: This is the first in a series of four All-Pennsylvania Academic Team student profiles.
by Neree Aron-Sando
All-PA Academic Team member Nicole Holland, 25, of Pottstown, has managed to do it all: balance caring for her family, including a 5-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum, with carrying a heavy academic load and strong extracurricular activities at Montgomery County Community College.
“The last five years have been a struggle for my family, but I have been able to keep a positive outlook on everything despite it,” Holland said. “I was able to go back to community college last year because my son started preschool, so I went to school when he went.”
In addition to maintaining a 3.62 grade point average in pursuit of a degree in accounting in May 2013, Holland serves as Student Government West Campus treasurer and vice president of Phi Theta Kappa.
“My most significant endeavor would have to be being Student Government treasurer,” Holland said. “We raised awareness for anti-bullying month and raised close to $300 for it. As treasurer, I also lead the budget meetings and decide what clubs can get funded to do different events. I make sure everything is on budget and that everything runs smoothly with my other Student Government officers. I also have an active role in helping my community college reach out to other students.”
Being vice president of PTK has benefitted Holland’s life, both personally and as a member of the larger community.
For example, Phi Theta Kappa members did a river cleanup and adopted a family at Christmas to raise money for gifts. “I helped with the induction ceremony as well,” she said. “By being a part of Phi Theta Kappa, I have been able to meet interesting people and help my community at the same time. We collected blankets for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Being a part of Phi Theta Kappa has impacted my life because I am able to help other people in need and take a leadership position.”
Grants and scholarships enabled Holland to attend college. She is a Pell grant recipient, as well as a recipient of the Motz Wealth Management Prosperity Scholarship and an Andrew Bender Scholarship through the College’s Foundation.
“Community colleges provide excellent opportunities to a vast number of people who wouldn’t be able to attend school otherwise. If my community college wasn’t in town, I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to school and I wouldn’t have been able to participate in the activities I have.”
“I plan on attending Albright’s Accounting program at night at [MCCC’s] University Center [in Pottstown], and I would like to find a job while doing that,” Holland said. Ultimately, she intends to work toward a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Accounting/Business and a career as an accountant.
Phi Theta Kappa, two-year college presidents, and community college state associations co-sponsor All-State Academic Team recognition programs in 32 states. Each two-year college in Pennsylvania may nominate two students per campus to the All-USA Academic Team. Nominations are based on outstanding academic performance and service to the college and community.
The College’s nominees to the All USA Academic Team are named to the All Pennsylvania Academic Team and may be awarded a scholarship that may be used at any one of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institutions.