Two PA Community College Students Receive Prestigious National Award

HARRISBURG – Two community college students from Pennsylvania – Rachel Lee from Reading Area Community College (RACC) and Aaron Rosengarten from Northampton Community College (NCC) – are among 20 students nationwide who have been named to the 2015 All-USA Community College Academic Team by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

The honor, which comes with a $2,500 scholarship, recognizes high-achieving two-year college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society.

Sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group, with support from the American Association of Community Colleges, this year’s winners – who must have been nominated by his or her college – were chosen from a pool of more than 1,500 students nominated by more than 800 community colleges.

Lee and Rosengarten were both named to the 2015 All-Pennsylvania Academic Team by the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges (PACCC) and Phi Theta Kappa and were honored at an awards banquet in Harrisburg last week. Rosengarten was also named PA’s New Century Scholar by PACCC and Phi Theta Kappa.

“Rachel and Aaron are prime examples of what community college students can accomplish in Pennsylvania,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President & CEO of PACCC. “We are so proud of their achievements and look forward to seeing where their future academic endeavors may lead.”

Rachel Lee, who graduates from RACC on May 8, is a distinguished scholar who has already received prestigious academic accolades. She was named “Outstanding Presenter” at the Beacon Conference for Two Year Scholars in both 2013 and 2014 for her research into intentional communities and the culture of competition, as well as schizophrenia’s manifestation in individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Lee aspires to become an adolescent psychologist who works with teenagers who suffer from addiction, major depressive disorder, anxiety, and/or stressful home environments. She is planning on continuing her education by obtaining a bachelor’s degree, but has not yet decided upon the institution at this time.

Rosengarten graduates from NCC on May 21, and will attend West Chester University in the fall, where he intends to study political science. He aspires to become a constitutional lawyer, and then seek public office, eventually earning a doctorate. When he graduated from high school in 2012, Rosengarten was accepted to several other institutions of higher learning, but ultimately chose NCC as the smartest financial decision. At NCC, he was a member of the school’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter and is this year’s chapter President. He also served on the college’s Academic Appeals and Disciplinary Committees, helped start NCC’s Ban the Bottle Initiative, and was involved with launching NCC’s Day of Service, which encourages NCC students to volunteer in the local community.

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The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges. Its members include the college presidents, members of the colleges’ boards of trustees, and key college administrators. The Commission represents the interests of and advocates for the collective needs of the community colleges to federal and state policymakers. For more information, please visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org.