Celebrating Student Leadership & Academic Success

All PA Academic Team 2017
Article by: Dr. Quintin Bullock, CCAC President

The CCAC Commencement ceremony is less than a month away! I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to encourage those of you who are graduating this year to RSVP online by May 2, purchase your cap and gown from the CCAC bookstore by May 8 and tell your friends and family to mark their calendars for May 18. I hope to see you there and to be able to personally congratulate you on your academic achievements.

Thinking about the upcoming Commencement exercises also got me thinking about this year’s student commencement speaker, RyKai Wright, an Engineering Technology student from CCAC South Campus and one of only six students selected nationwide as an Achieving the Dream 2016 DREAM Scholar. RyKai also serves as an officer in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, is an active participant in the CCAC Student Ambassador and Honors Programs at her campus, works as a student intern at a local nonprofit organization, and provides volunteer math tutoring assistance for middle school students.

RyKai’s success in academia and leadership, while noteworthy, is just one story among many from our talented CCAC students. I’d like to share with you a couple more stories of students who are making their marks at CCAC and in the wider community for their academic prowess and leadership skills.

Earlier this month, CCAC was represented by eight exemplary students, two from each campus, at Lobby Day in Harrisburg to meet with state officials and advocate on behalf of community colleges for funding and support. These students are:

  • Josephine Albrecht, Allegheny Campus
  • Jared Baran-Cummings, South Campus
  • Ashley Campbell, Boyce Campus
  • Gerad Greco, North Campus
  • Alison McMutrie, North Campus
  • Samantha Musser, Allegheny Campus
  • Stella Obiakor, South Campus
  • Gina Ruggieri, Boyce Campus

These eight students had been nominated by their peers and advisors in Phi Alpha Theta and the Honors Program to be inducted as members of the 2017 All-Pennsylvania Academic Team, and were honored with an awards dinner in Harrisburg by the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges for their success and hard work. I am delighted to have been able to spend time with this incredible group of student leaders over the course of the Harrisburg trip.

One of these students, Gerad Greco, shares a special connection with Pennsylvania State Senator, guest speaker at the All-PA Academic Team award dinner and CCAC alumnus, Jay Costa—they both serve on the CCAC Board of Trustees!

Greco, a petroleum and natural gas engineering major and CCAC Student Ambassador, is the 2016 CCAC Student Trustee, a year-long post that provides one student the chance to serve as a non-voting member of the CCAC Board of Trustees. This representative brings the voice, concerns and opinions of CCAC students into Board discussions, gaining valuable leadership and public speaking experience while helping to shape the student experience at CCAC. If you are interested in serving as the 2017 CCAC Student Trustee, you still have until April 28 to submit your application.

I am singing these students’ praises not just because I enjoy talking about the incredible work and academic excellence of CCAC students (and I do), but also because I wish to highlight the impact that CCAC, and community colleges nationwide, can have on the educational development of our current and future leaders.

CCAC offers unique opportunities for our students to be recognized as leaders and scholars, and the results of this foundation of excellence can be seen and felt across Allegheny County and well beyond. I am so proud of all of our amazing students and alumni.

Congratulations to the CCAC Class of 2017! I cannot wait to see where your education leads you. Remember: I’m @QBpresCCAC on Twitter if you ever want to share your story or say hello.

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