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Twenty-one-year-old Camyra Sawyer was the first woman to complete the Welding Technology program at the Career and Advanced Technology Center (CATC) in Spring ‘23. Now the Philly native is already in the second month of her first job where she builds nuclear containers at Holtec. In an industry where women make up less than 8% of the workforce, Camyra is making her way forward with a dedication to her craft, a tenacious attitude, and a network of mentors to propel her toward her goals. When she first graduated high school, Camyra began working towards a degree in Mechanical Engineering at another local college. But she found the teaching style to be impersonal, and because she wasn’t having a good experience, ...(Read more)
Prison has always cast a shadow on Lorraine Haw’s life, even before she was old enough to understand what a prison was. Lorraine, who is known as Mrs. Dee Dee by her friends and family, grew up on Corinthian Avenue in Philadelphia—literally across the street from Eastern State Penitentiary. “I used to see guards up there,” Mrs. Dee Dee said. “I never knew they were guards. I just thought they were men with sticks. It wasn’t until I was older, until I came to comprehend, they were guards with guns.” Today, the Eastern State Penitentiary is a historic site and haunted house attraction, but it was still a functioning prison when Mrs. Dee Dee was growing up. Reminiscing, she said, ...(Read more)
Teaching at the College for almost 40 years has given Mike Shaffer the opportunity to prepare students for their future—just as the institution has done for him and his family. Starting as a part-time instructor in 1986, Mike is now an assistant professor of Management. As an alumnus, he relays his first-hand experiences as a CCP student and serves as an example of how the College can change lives. “The College has had a tremendous influence on me. I wasn’t a great student. I took an Accounting course at the College while in high school, and I realized I enjoyed it,” he said. The importance of higher education and the benefits of CCP were passed down to Mike from his ...(Read more)
An Achieving the Dream grant is one more way the Nursing program is working to support the success of black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) and first-generation students. Through this grant, students receive mentors, academic and career support, leadership experience, and a stipend to help them complete their degree and increase the number of nurses from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. In the fall 2023 semester, 30 students benefitted from this opportunity. Here are a few quotes from our AtD Scholars: “I am going wherever education and opportunity allows, with an ultimate goal to positively impact the physical, mental and emotional well-being of my community. My dream is to partner with legislators and other necessary parties to create a program that offers ...(Read more)
A few months ago, Bryant Grantham didn’t really drink coffee. His role as student CEO at Saxbys changed that. “Being in the café so much, it’ll make you like coffee,” Bryant said with a laugh, “and just be open to trying new things. I like the café vibe.” Bryant and Saryah Maldonado—both Catto Scholars at Community College of Philadelphia—are Saxbys student CEOs for the fall semester. As part of the Student Café Executive Officer (SCEO) program, they work full time in management positions at a Saxbys café. Saryah works at the CCP location and Bryant in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. They both describe the opportunity as a mind-opening, skill-building experience. “You get to basically flex your leadership skills,” Saryah said. ...(Read more)
Donny Mutiva is a first-year Business, General student who started the new International Students Club at the College. Although he is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, he was inspired to start the group in the fall 2023 semester when he sensed cultural barriers may be preventing international students and others not originally from Philadelphia from accessing resources available at the College. Now the club meets every Wednesday to talk about their educational goals and work together to connect the dots between their shared experiences. Faculty advisor Chris Popescu is distinctly qualified to lead the group. An assistant professor of Finance and Economics at the College, he was once an international student himself, immigrating to the United States from Romania to attend college. ...(Read more)
Returning to the College after several years in law enforcement, Colleen earned her associate degree from the College in Criminal Justice in 2010. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Chestnut Hill College, a master's degree in Public Safety Management from Saint Joseph's University and successfully completed the School of Police Staff and Command through Northwestern University. Q: What does it mean to you, as an alum, to return to CCP in this role? A : When I initially enrolled in CCP, the goal was to use the education to further my career in law enforcement. I understood the importance of higher education and how it could propel my career to a higher level. I ...(Read more)
Being a CCP Nursing alum gives Tamisha Hardee a unique vantage point with her students. “They are pleasantly surprised that I am from this program. Students are able to ask for specific advice,” she said. Tamisha also brings her extensive academic and career experience to the classroom. She received her Bachelor of Nursing from West Chester University and a Master in Science degree in Educational Leadership from Western Governors University. She worked as a nurse at Hahnemann and Temple University hospitals, and as a clinical and lab instructor at Widener University. She started at the College as an adjunct instructor in fall 2019 and became a visiting lecturer from 2021 to 2022 as part of the Diversity Fellowship program, which ...(Read more)
Linda Ali’s goal when she signed up for the Nurse Aide Training program at Community College of Philadelphia was to make her way in the medical field. “This is meant to be my starting point in a journey to become a respiratory therapist,” Linda said. Her classes at the College’s Career and Advanced Technology Center ran from April through July of this year. Being a mother of three, she knew she needed an option that worked with her busy schedule. Linda wasn’t the only one with scheduling concerns. "A lot of us felt like a class wouldn't fit our busy adult schedules,” Linda said, “but the hours were manageable, and I noticed when signing up for the class that there ...(Read more)
If you want to learn from the best, your instructor has to love what they do. When it comes to automotives, the best instructors love cars. And trucks. And motorcycles. And anything with an engine and wheels. That’s why Jason Barnes is the perfect pick as Community College of Philadelphia’s new Medium and Heavy Truck Technology instructor. “I see certain vehicles and I see beauty, I see art,” Jason said. “I see the mechanics of how they make that thing go. I flip up the hood and look at the engine. I want to see what the suspension can do. I want to see what the engine can do. I want to see what other technology is on the car.” ...(Read more)
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act , which prohibits discrimination in housing. Community College of Philadelphia has long worked to find solutions for students facing housing insecurity. In 2020, The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University conducted a survey of 1,183 CCP students where 57% reported experiencing housing insecurity in the previous year. The concern and efforts to assist students resulted in a partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, known as the Shared Housing Program. The initiative provides low-cost housing options for students near Main Campus, with a focus on those who have been involved in foster care. One student who found housing through the Shared Housing Program ...(Read more)
When Liliya Luhavaya entered the Coalition of Community College Architecture Programs’ national design contest this spring, she was hoping she would be chosen as one of the top contestants. When she found out that she won first place in one of the country’s only design contests for community college students, she could hardly believe it. “I was so surprised...I think I read the message from Professor David Bertram five times to be sure that I understood it right," said Liliya. Looking at the detailed renderings of her design, it’s no surprise that Liliya earned first place. But producing such high-quality work for her class was no simple task since she only learned English in the last few years. Originally from ...(Read more)
Meet Dr. Vance Gray, the College’s associate provost of Academic Affairs and Workforce Development. Dr. Gray comes to the College from Olive-Harvey College, City Colleges of Chicago in Illinois as dean of Instruction and Academic Affairs. He started at the College in January 2023 as the associate vice president for Academic and Student Success before assuming his current role. Here, he discusses his experiences thus far and his hopes for students. Q : Welcome to the College, Dr. Gray! Please tell us a little about yourself. Specifically, we really want to know how you’re liking Philadelphia since moving from Illinois! A : I am so excited to be here at Community College of Philadelphia. This city is rich with tradition ...(Read more)
Winners of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching give a presentation each spring to the Community College of Philadelphia community. Recipients are announced at Commencement each year. This year’s Lindback Lecture, “ The Little Big Things ,” from 2022 winner Dr. Faye Allard, discussed the importance of kindness, and how we can make a difference in the lives of others through our actions. To put this into practice, you are encouraged to share your acts of kindness at and at @littlebigthingsproject on Instagram. Campus-wide Research Project Faye is embarking on a campus-wide research project on the Little Big Things to see how these acts can improve communications, connections and our working environment. For this initiative, she is working with ...(Read more)
After graduating this May, Chelsea Hammond is already a working paralegal. Now 31 years old, she wasn’t sure how successful she would be after having been out of school for so long. But with each new accomplishment, Chelsea’s doubt turned into motivation and a hunger to see how far she could go. Chelsea chose Community College of Philadelphia because it has one of the only Paralegal Studies programs accepted by the American Bar Association. Even before she started her classes, Chelsea received some great news—she was eligible for the College’s Octavius Catto Scholarship. Attending full-time, she would have 100% of her tuition and book costs covered, plus she would receive one-on-one coaching from her Catto success coach, Sarah Steese. She ...(Read more)
In between conference calls, preparing for graduation and running the College’s new coffee shop, we sat down with Yeismarie Rivera, the student chief executive officer (SCEO) of Saxbys Café to figure out how and why she does it all. Q: Yeismarie, tell us a little about yourself. A: My name is Yeismarie. My parents are Puerto Rican natives, so my first language growing up was Spanish. I graduated high school in 2021 and originally, I had no plans for higher education. I actually wanted to join the military. But at the last minute, I thought, community college--I’ll give it a shot to see where I land. And, well, it kind of changed my life forever! Q: How would you describe ...(Read more)
Originally from Guinea, Ahmadou Sidibe was a student in Moscow while his loved ones resided here in Philadelphia. After countless conversations with his father and sisters about life and school, and the overwhelming feeling of missing his family, Ahmadou finally made the move, joining them in 2019. After settling in, conversations of continuing school would become a popular topic for him and his sister, who suggested the College--but Ahmadou wasn’t initially interested. So how does he feel now that he’s graduating with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in Engineering Science from CCP? “Attending Community College of Philadelphia was the best decision I've ever made,” he says. “I met my mentor, and that was the greatest thing that happened to ...(Read more)
On April 25, Mayor Kenney and the College community gathered to celebrate the largest cohort of graduating Octavius Catto Scholars with a pinning ceremony. The Octavius Catto Scholarship was launched in the spring 2021 semester, when the world was still in the midst of a global pandemic. With 66 Catto Scholars graduating this spring, the program has grown to support more than 1,100 students. Not only does this scholarship fully cover the cost of tuition, but it also covers the cost of books and provides a monthly stipend to help students with cost-of-living expenses. Dr. Seth Jacobson, executive director of the Catto Scholarship, emceed the event, highlighting those who made this milestone possible. Attendees also heard from Mayor Kenney, who ...(Read more)
In January 2023, the College welcomed Dr. Brad Kovaleski as the new dean of students. Dr. Kovaleski comes to CCP from Penn State University’s Brandywine campus, where, as the senior student affairs officer, he worked toward and saw an increase in retention and graduation rates as well as student affairs programming and services outreach. He also served in leadership positions for the Chief Student Affairs Leadership Council, Strategic Planning Transforming Education Committee and Student Conduct Task Force. Maybe you’ve seen him around Main Campus at an event or in the halls. It wouldn’t be surprising since Dr. Kovaleski makes it a priority to get to as many activities as he can! We gave Dr. Kovaleski a bit of time to ...(Read more)
Excited to attend the College’s May 6 graduation ceremony, Brittney Coleman will join other Parkway Center City Middle College students in earning an associate degree a few weeks before receiving a high school diploma on June 8. With her associate in Liberal Studies degree, and graduating with Highest Honors, she will focus on a career in nursing this fall at North Carolina A&T, an institution she selected for a few reasons. “I was looking at HBCUs, and students there have a 98 percent passing rate on their nursing exams. In addition to academics, I was also looking for the student life aspect; I wanted a school that supported both,” said Brittney. Pursuing Liberal Studies allowed Brittney to explore her interests ...(Read more)
Arriving at the College in summer 2019, Nana Agyman had a plan to achieve his goal of becoming a nutritionist, motivated by changes he made in his life. Growing up with health challenges, Nana experienced issues while vising extended family in Ghana, and he made the decision to take control of his own health. “When I got back home, I started researching better ways of eating, and traditional ways of eating in Ghana. It was a major shift,” he said. Nana previously attended the University of Pittsburgh, but he was unsure of a career path. A friend introduced him to martial arts, which also had a positive impact on his health. “I found an intersection of what was important to ...(Read more)
Last year, the College’s men’s basketball team rallied up a lot of excitement around campus as they made their way to the 2021-22 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) DIII Men's Basketball Championship. In the middle of it all stood Ryan Holmes, guard for the Community College of Philadelphia Lions, who was named Player of the Year for the region. Ryan is now getting ready to graduate! We caught up with the soon-to-be-grad as he prepares for the next quarter of his story. Ryan started at the College in spring 2021 during a time when all of CCP’s courses were online due to COVID-19. He was previously enrolled at Holy Family University on a scholarship but transferred to CCP. He ...(Read more)
Tabitha Hernandez is a 2023 graduate who is earning her A.S. in Nursing, but she’s not new to providing lifesaving intervention in her community. On top of serving in the National Guard since 2014, Tabitha is receiving her degree from one of the College’s most rigorous programs while working as a full-time firefighter on the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Engine 64 in Lawncrest Park. Tabitha joined the fire department in 2019 after working as an ER tech. At the time, the firefighters she was working with saw her as a natural fit for the department, given her military background, and encouraged her to give it a try. An experienced medic in the National Guard, Tabitha was already accustomed to responding to ...(Read more)
On March 9, three students, Enoch Tuffour Ampem, Heather Sizemore and Ryan Numair, were selected as semifinalists for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship , which provides full coverage of tuition up to $55,000 per year, academic advising and access to a network of peers. This scholarship is awarded to students who exhibit “exceptional academic ability, leadership, service, and determination.” This scholarship is extremely selective. This year’s 459 semifinalists attend 215 community colleges in 38 states and were chosen from a pool of more than 1,700 applicants. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is an organization that exists to advance the education of high-achieving students in high school and college. They have awarded over $250 million in scholarships since ...(Read more)
In November, Community College of Philadelphia was recognized by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) as a 2022 ALL IN Most Engaged Campus for College Student Voting. ALL IN is a national nonpartisan initiative that strives to change civic culture and institutionalize democratic engagement activities on college campuses. The goal is to make voter participation a defining feature of campus life. ALL IN engages over 9 million students from more than 960 institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The College joins 394 colleges and universities being recognized for making intentional efforts to increase student voter participation. In 2018, the College launched #CCPVotes , a multi-year civic-engagement initiative designed to engage Community College of Philadelphia ...(Read more)
Shahid Guyton ‘17 is a Community College of Philadelphia alum who studied Liberal Arts--Social/Behavioral Science . He now has a bachelor’s in psychology from Ashford University and has been working at nonprofits for roughly five years. In his current role as the Restorative Services director at Broad Street Ministry , he helps housing insecure and impoverished Philadelphians access benefits, housing, hot meals, clothing, toiletries and more. Although Shahid and his colleagues work hard to provide those in need with the basic necessities they deserve, he says that the job doesn’t feel like work at all. Having experienced many of the same struggles in his own life, Shahid’s passion for nonprofit work comes from seeing himself in those who seek out ...(Read more)
For as long as she could remember, Imira Roussaw had her heart set on attending the University of Southern California (USC). A 2021 graduate of Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School, she said at the time it was her dream school. Towards the end of her time in high school, Imira recalls her mom telling her about the opportunity to attend Community College of Philadelphia for free through the Octavius Catto Scholarship. “It wasn’t speaking to me. I already had this vision of going to California set,” Imira said. About a week after that initial conversation with her mom, Imira received another postcard about the benefits of the Catto Scholarship. This time, she decided to give it ...(Read more)
The Critical Language Scholarship is a national program designed to give undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to quickly learn or sharpen their language skills. Among the many applicants nationwide, two Community College of Philadelphia students earned their place in the Fall 2022 cohort. Hannah Mc-Kay Simmons, an International Studies major, and Donika Campbell, a Respiratory Care Technology major, have spent the past few weeks in this program taking two free one-hour classes in Chinese and Arabic, respectively. The two have varying experience levels with their chosen languages. Last week, we got together with Hannah and Donika to talk about why the CLS Spark program is a worthwhile opportunity for students. Read the interview below. CCP: Why did you decide ...(Read more)
Earlier this month, Metro Philadelphia named College President Dr. Donald “Guy” Generals as one of 94 Education Power Players . The list includes influential leaders who are creating more accessible pathways to a quality education, fostering meaningful collaborations between schools and communities, and supporting the long-term success of students by ensuring that every Philadelphia student is learning. As the sixth president of the College, Dr. Generals was selected as an Education Power Player for his inclusive vision and passion for helping students – particularly community college students – find a path forward. With more than 35 years in the higher education sector, he says that he fell in love with the sector by accident. He originally planned to attend law ...(Read more)
Meet Carmelo Robles, a Toyota Master Diagnostic Technician who’s also an instructor in the new Toyota T-TEN program at the Career and Advanced Technology Center . Robles, a T-TEN alum himself, discusses the unique program, which allows students to make money working for the largest car manufacturer in the world while completing their associate degree. 1.) What is the Toyota T-TEN program? How is it unique, and how will it prepare students? T-TEN stands for Technician Training and Education Network. The program provides state-of-the-art, hands-on automotive diagnosis and repair training with an emphasis on skills needed to succeed in the automotive industry specializing in the Toyota and Lexus brands. It places our students at Toyota and Lexus dealerships while attending ...(Read more)
Earning a degree in Liberal Arts – Honors this year marked a milestone in Christopher Brinkley-Pridgen’s educational journey, which is far from over. His experience and preparation at the College has led him to Cheyney University, and admittance to Columbia University. “I was always into learning. I always had good grades. I knew I would be successful,” he said. While his path hasn’t been exactly what he envisioned, his academic experiences have provided a strong foundation for his future. Christopher graduated as the salutatorian of his high school, and earned certifications from the District 1119C Training Fund to pursue a career in behavioral health or human services. In summer 2020, he faced the loss of his grandmother, his biggest emotional ...(Read more)
Luis “Suave” Gonzalez is the first support coach for the College’s I Am More Reentry Engagement program . Tasked with supporting students who are navigating life after being involved in the criminal justice system, Luis sees this work as his life’s calling. However, Luis is more than his work; he’s an artist , storyteller, Tedx speaker , and host of his own podcast titled “ Death By Incarceration .” In May, it was announced that “Suave” – a podcast detailing Luis’ life during and after serving more than 30 years in prison – won a Pulitzer Prize for audio recording. We sat down with Luis to discuss this major win, what brought him to the College, and how he uses ...(Read more)
Meet Dr. Alycia A. Marshall, the College’s new vice president of Academic and Student Success. Dr. Marshall joins the College from Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) in Arnold, MD where she worked for the past 22 years. While her most recent role at AACC was associate vice president for Learning and Academic Affairs, she has served in a number of positions, including interim vice president for Learning and chair of the Mathematics Department. While at AACC, Dr. Marshall was responsible for transforming the Math Department’s developmental math course sequences which resulted in higher success rates. She also served as the principal investigator for the Engineering Scholars Program, a National Science Foundation grant program that provided scholarships and academic support to ...(Read more)
Brooke Asman remembers the first time she attended Community College of Philadelphia. A 2015 graduate of the Liberal Arts – Honors program, she describes her overall experience as wonderful. “All of the teachers I’ve had were amazing,” Brooke said. “Everyone loves what they do and all the things they teach. I’ve never had a professor that I felt didn’t want to be there. They made me excited about the things I was learning.” Soon after graduating, Brooke transferred to Arcadia University to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Art Therapy. Married with two children at the time, Brooke says that she and her husband decided to take in two foster kids with exceptionalities. She says that after completing one semester at ...(Read more)
Born and raised in South Philadelphia, Brian Walsh says that his family has lived on the same block for almost 100 years. He recalls growing up as a kid surrounded by family and sharing the same steps with his grandmother. In May 2023, Brian will be continuing a new tradition; he’ll be the second person in his family to earn a college degree. His younger sister, Courtney Byrne, earned her Nursing degree from the College in 2015. She later transferred to Penn State University to pursue a Psychology degree. While Brian is set to graduate next spring with an associate degree in Cybersecurity, this isn’t his first go-round at the College. He originally enrolled in 2004 immediately after graduating from ...(Read more)
As Tahara Garrison-Brown, ’22, walked across the stage to receive her diploma during the College’s commencement ceremony on May 7, she also received one of the biggest surprises of her college career: she had been awarded the highly competitive Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This year, more than 1,200 students from 332 community colleges across the country submitted application for the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Tahara was one of 100 finalists selected to receive up to $55,000 a year to complete her bachelor’s degree. In addition to financial support, she will also receive educational advising; opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding; and connections to a thriving network of over 3,000 Cooke Scholars and alumni. “This scholarship ...(Read more)
“I will miss CCP so much. This place means so much to me,” said Joseph DeFeo, an English major who graduated with the Class of 2022. “I’ll always be a CCP Lion.” Joseph started at the College in fall 2019, immediately getting involved with Philadelphia L.E.A.D.S. , participating in a toy drive the student organization ran that year and the student retreat held in Maryland. He was drawn in by his inviting peers as well as the mission behind L.E.A.D.S., which encourages students to make good decisions and become leaders in their own lives. The leadership society program helps instill leadership qualities at varying stages of a student’s life by teaching them a framework to approach leadership from multiple perspectives. ...(Read more)
“I will miss CCP so much. This place means so much to me,” said Joseph DeFeo, an English major who graduated with the Class of 2022. “I’ll always be a CCP Lion.” Joseph started at the College in fall 2019, immediately getting involved with Philadelphia L.E.A.D.S. , participating in a toy drive the student organization ran that year and the student retreat held in Maryland. He was drawn in by his inviting peers as well as the mission behind L.E.A.D.S., which encourages students to make good decisions and become leaders in their own lives. The leadership society program helps instill leadership qualities at varying stages of a student’s life by teaching them a framework to approach leadership from multiple perspectives. ...(Read more)
On April 12, the College hosted an Enough is Enough panel discussion to celebrate the right to vote and shine a light on gerrymandering, an issue that threatens the fairness of our electoral system on local, state and federal levels. Hosted by Dr. Generals, Community College of Philadelphia’s president, the event allowed experts from our College community and beyond to discuss the repercussions of gerrymandering and shine a light on current efforts to correct the systemic flaws in our democracy that allow this unfair practice to take root. The College was honored to have Laura Coates, senior legal analyst at CNN, as a moderator for the event. Coates made fundamental contributions to the coverage of the unrest in Minneapolis and ...(Read more)
Graduating with Highest Honors and other accolades, Aye Kalle has always set high standards for herself. She arrived in the United States from Conakry, Guinea, in November 2015, seeking better educational opportunities. Aye, whose first language is French, started to learn English from her children and by taking noncredit English courses at the College. On May 7, she is receiving degrees in Architecture and Interior Design, and a proficiency certificate in Architectural Visualization. This fall, Aye will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Architecture at Drexel University. “Design is something you can do for your community,” she said. She eventually hopes to resolve some of the challenges that buildings pose to residents and cities in Guinea. “The buildings in my community ...(Read more)
For a lot of high school students, when the school day ended, that meant it was playtime. But that wasn’t the case for Luvlee Day, who attends Parkway Center City Middle College (PCCMC) and is a dual enrollment student at Community College of Philadelphia (CCP). Instead of heading outside after school, many times, Luvlee needed to stay indoors to do homework. While she admits it was hard work and required sacrifices she didn’t think she’d have to make at such a young age, one thing was very clear: Luvlee was not going to quit. The path she chose would teach her a good lesson about the impact of making sacrifices and doing the work. “It taught me to keep going,” ...(Read more)
Ahmad working with CCP Votes
Meet Ahmad Mitchell: aspiring chef, activist, and Community College of Philadelphia’s outgoing Student Government Association (SGA) president. Ahmad wears many hats both on and off campus. After graduating from Central High School in 2018, Ahmad joined Job Corp’s Advanced Career Training program to pursue his passion for culinary arts. With a grandfather who owned a deli, and family members who own land to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, Ahmad explains that he has always understood what it means to be a land steward. This understanding further fueled his desire to become a chef. He says that he’s always wanted to go to college but didn’t want to take out debt to do so. Upon completion of the Job Corp program, ...(Read more)
Winners give a presentation each spring to Community College of Philadelphia faculty and staff. Watch Dr. Nagaswami’s Lindback Lecture, Path to a Growth Mindset: A Personal Narrative , and learn more through Dr. Nagaswami’s Q&A: What are the reasons you have dedicated 30 years of your career to the College and its students? I began my teaching career at CCP and never looked back. The student populations at the College are amazing, resilient and inspiring. The students’ desire to learn and accomplish their academic goals despite all the hardship they go through in their complex lives are the main reasons that have sustained my interest and dedication to teach at the College. It is always a gratifying experience to be ...(Read more)
Each time Natalya Topova wanted to expand her career possibilities and challenge herself, she’s turned to Community College of Philadelphia. During her first experience at the College, she obtained a Clinical Assistant proficiency certificate in 2017, which led to a job in the field. “After a while, I felt I could do more,” said Natalya. Her proficiency certificate provided stackable credits, which enabled her put those earned credits toward a degree in Health Care Studies, which she received in 2020. She also received a certificate in Phlebotomy. Natalya discovered her strength, and a career path became clearer. “I never thought I would like phlebotomy or would be around blood,” she said. Again building on her education, phlebotomy led her to ...(Read more)
Afshan Khan will be graduating from Community College of Philadelphia this June with an associate degree in Health Care Studies. While she has always dreamed of obtaining both her high school diploma and associate degree by 18, things did not necessarily work out how she originally planned. Despite the hiccups she’s faced along the way, Afshan has valued education for as long as she can remember.> Originally from Pakistan, she says her family moved to Philadelphia for her to get a better education—and a better shot at life. “In my country, women don’t get a lot of opportunities,” Afshan said. “Education for women is not the main goal. That’s why when I was seven, my dad moved us to Philadelphia.” ...(Read more)
Nathaniel “Nate” Gordan was only 13 years old when his parents sent him to live with his aunt in North Philadelphia. Born in Covington, GA – a small city about an hour outside of Atlanta – Nate says he at first had a hard time getting used to the hustle and bustle of a big city. Covington has a population of nearly 14,000 people versus the 1.6 million Philadelphians who live in the city. When asked why he moved to Philadelphia in 2017, he says his parents wanted him to get a better education. Nate says that personally, he was looking for a much-needed change. In fact, Nate has experienced a great deal of change over the past five years. ...(Read more)
Unsure of a career path, Nikki El first attended the College in 2002. Her financial situation changed, and as a newly married wife and homeowner, there was little time left for school. When she returned in 2020, she found the guidance and knowledge she needed to achieve her goals. Nikki works full time as a cardiac surgery nurse at the University of Pennsylvania, where she treats COVID-19 patients and has had to work many overtime shifts during the pandemic. As a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), she needed additional education credentials to move forward in the field. “I enjoy cardiac surgery, but I want to advance my nursing career,” she said. Nikki is graduating with a degree in Health Care Studies ...(Read more)
On Friday, April 1, the College welcomed esteemed author, lyricist, essayist and playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes to our (virtual) campus to talk about her career and her latest book, My Broken Language. Alegría Hudes is a native Philadelphian and wrote the novel "In the Heights", which was turned into a Tony-winning Broadway musical and a major motion picture. In 2012 she also received a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Water by the Spoonful. She also co-founded Emancipated Stories, which helps incarcerated people write about and share their life stories. The talk was moderated by English professor Jeff Markovitz, and organized and funded by the Liberal Arts and Communications pathway in the Division of Liberal Studies. Hudes is a ...(Read more)
Meet Ahmad Mitchell, a second-year student who is participating in the self-study process for accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education . Accreditation by the Commission is important because it ensures academic excellence for students. Learn more about Ahmad and the reaccreditation process in this brief Q&A! Q: Who is Ahmad? Tell us about yourself. A: I am a Culinary Arts student in my final semester of study at CCP. My expected graduation date is in May. After graduation I plan to pursue my bachelor’s degree in Food Studies/Hospitality Management. Q: What is your involvement and participation in College organizations? A: I am the president of the SGA , a Democracy Fellow with the Campus Vote Project , ...(Read more)
Terry Peterson is a graphic designer, and has been teaching Design, Computer Art, and Graphic Design courses at Community College of Philadelphia for more than 25 years. When asked what originally sparked his interest in the graphic design field, he recalls watching a 1980s Diet Pepsi commercial , when he was younger (pictured right). He notes while most people may have been focused on the fancy jingle and the body types of the models, he felt he was the only one who noticed how the lines in the backgrounds matched the lines on the can of soda He says there was something about those lines – a subliminal message – that literally made a connection. At the time he says ...(Read more)