Campus Currents

Community College of Philadelphia News, Ideas and Trends in Brief

Embarking on Their Future Paths: The Class of 2007

This year’s 1,797 graduates are on their way to new careers, baccalaureate institutions and exciting opportunities.

Friends and family filled Temple University’s Liacouras Center on May 20 for the College’s 41st commencement exercises. The Class of 2007 earned 2,127 degrees and certificates and was larger than the previous year by 300 students.

Among the many standouts were this year’s All-Pennsylvania Academic Team Scholars Stacy Cleveland and Karen Raffaele.

Cleveland, the student speaker at graduation, a mother of five and a business owner, felt something had been missing in her life. She decided to return to school and major in Early Childhood Education. She is the founder and former president of the Christian Women’s Alliance at the College and former president of the Community College Association for the Education of Young Children (CCAEYC). Cleveland also became a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges. In addition, she owns three day care centers with her husband. Cleveland’s future plans include transferring to a four-year institution and pursuing a career in education.

Raffaele, a member of Phi Theta Kappa, majored in Music Performance/Composition. She is a founding member and former president of “cre8,” a new music club at the College. She writes and performs her own music, represents the Philadelphia Songwriters Project and is a music tutor. Raffaele wants to transfer and earn an advanced degree, then pursue a career in the music industry. She credits the College and its music faculty for helping her evolve from a largely self-taught piano student into a full-fledged musician.

Another graduate, Anatoly Daynega, originally from the Ukraine, had already attained a bachelor’s in Psychology from Messiah College near Harrisburg when he came to a decision—he wanted to enter the nursing profession. Daynega looked to the College to help him change his career focus and provide him with an exceptional nursing education. He thrived while at the College as president of the International Student Club and as a student ambassador.

Before graduation, 10 different hospitals offered Daynega a position in nursing. He chose a position at a Florida hospital, where he will work full time while studying part time to earn his bachelor’s in Nursing. Daynega plans to pursue his dream of attaining a master’s degree and then a doctorate.

Honorary Degree Conferred on Mayor Street

In recognition of Mayor John F. Street’s support for public education, College President Stephen M. Curtis presented Street with a Doctorate of Humane Letters degree on June 5 at City Hall.

“Today we are able to recognize the accomplishments of a man who has touched the lives of millions of Philadelphians,” said Daniel P. McElhatton, Esq., chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.

Members of the mayor’s staff, community leaders and representatives from the College attended the event.

Engineering Alumnus Achieving Educational Goals with the Alliance for Minority Participation

For the second consecutive summer, Joseph T. Heard scrutinized data received from the heavens at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which is operated for the U.S. Department of Energy. He worked in the Physics Lab collecting and analyzing data related to axions, hypothetical elements in space, which may account for an additional gravitational force not yet identified by scientists. But knowing how to analyze the data requires a thorough understanding of the field’s most recent technology.

“You are writing computer software for the data equipment. You need to know how they work and function; you need to know how they acquire that data.”

Alumnus Joseph T. Heard
Alumnus Joseph T. Heard

A 2007 graduate, Heard took his experience and skills to the University of Arizona this fall, where he will major in Mathematics and minor in Astrophysics. He credits the College and the Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) initiative for helping him prepare for the internship and shape his career direction.

AMP is a consortium of institutions in the Greater Philadelphia area that work to increase the number of underrepresented minority students receiving degrees in science, engineering and mathematics. Faculty and staff at the College advise students and encourage them to earn a bachelor’s degree. Heard says that AMP and coordinator Linda Powell, M.D., offer students much more.

“AMP provided a lot of support in different ways, such as financially,” said Heard. The program sponsored his internship stipend, as well as provided funding for a place to stay and transportation to and from Brookhaven, which is located in Upton, Long Island. “Dr. Powell and other individuals at the College help you with registering for classes, study skills and academic counseling.”

Through AMP, Heard was invited to symposiums and seminars, where he had the opportunity to network with Ph.D.s and doctoral students. “The program helps you determine career goals.”

The AMP initiative, funded through the National Science Foundation, has been operating at the College for approximately 12 years. Powell, who has coordinated the program since the beginning, regularly sees graduates of the College working in science fields.

“I see former AMP students at pharmacies throughout the city,” she said. “I see our students at hospitals—they tend to stay local.”

Powell encourages students in the program to join student clubs and establish friendships. “Networking helps you to develop a good support system and helps with problem solving,” she said.

While at the College, Heard was president of four different student clubs and the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Society of Black Engineer’s Caterpillar Corporate Scholar Award.

After AMP students graduate, they can attend other AMP schools for their bachelor’s degree. These institutions in the Philadelphia region include Cheyney, Delaware State, Drexel, Lincoln and Temple universities; the New Jersey Institute of Technology; the University of Delaware; and the University of Pennsylvania. The benefits of AMP also continue with a Bridges to the Doctorate program, which supports students as they pursue advanced degrees.

Heard plans on earning a master’s degree and a doctorate with a focus on data analysis and statistics, possibly within the field of astrophysics.