Archive for the ‘Campus Life’ Category

From the Editor

Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Editor-In-Chief

You’re walking to your next class. There’s whispers about,
And you take your earbuds out,
Out the corner of the hallway, you hear
its name:
That Dreaded Finals Week.

You feel as if Finals Week is following on you,
Watching your every move, every Blackboard update.
You get down on all fours and break into
A sprint
But it’s gaining on you!
That Dreaded Finals Week.

You’re looking for an escape,
You look for anything to distract you
From it
Netflix, Hulu, the latest season of Stranger Things
Nothing works, because you cannot escape That Dreaded Finals Week.

Your English professor tells you the deadlines
Proposals, Bibliographies, Revisions
They all scare you, intimidate you.
Your English professor tells you to relax
But you know you can’t, and it’s all because of
That Dreaded Finals Week.
Running for your life
(That Dreaded Finals Week)
It’s taking over your social life
(That Dreaded Finals Week)
Lurking in the shadows
That incoming disaster
(Oh no, you guessed it!)
It’s That Dreaded Finals Week.

Now it’s Christmas time, the end of the semester
And you seem to have lost your wits
You acknowledge that the end was nigh
Finally you can relax
And enjoy Stranger Things in peace…

But alas! You check your email
The deadline for Spring registration
Is fast approaching!
Payments are due!
Oh, what to do?

Running to your laptop
(It’s off, off all the time)
It boots back to life!
(It’s usually off, off all the time … Except for Netflix)
Getting that registration
In at the last minute

Alas! You beat the clock!
Let the next semester begin!
Celebrating like crazy
Pumped fists in the air
No worry, no shame
Oh, what a great feeling
You were hammered for time
Yet got it done
Like a boss.

But alas! Another problem!
Winter is coming
(Sorry, not Game of Thrones sadly)
And going
The Spring Semester comes
Before you know!

Mad rush to the bookstore
And Amazon of course!
Getting those textbooks
(So not looking forward to that!)
Hundreds of dollars, poof! Disappear!
A magician’s best work
Comes at the hands of business folk

You marvel “Wow I’m broke”
But don’t worry, that’s ok.
You know the true goal is in sight.

That shiny new Associate’s
Will bow down before you
Greeting your future
And guiding you to success.

I know that the end of the semester can be tough, and that temptations to not do your work seem tempting. And I know that important deadlines like registering for next semester can be easy to miss when focusing on the end of the semester. Yet, I just want to tell you, the students of MCCC, that now is not the time to slack off.

Believe me, wishing that we can skip past finals week and can sleep in for nearly a month seems great to do. Yet, that’s just counterproductive. Wishing for something to happen is all that it’ll ever be: a wish. To make the dream of relaxing during the holidays a reality, you must put in the work. Work to finish those remaining assignments, work to finish all of your final exams, register for the classes you want (before they fill up), and before you know it, the semesters will fly by, and you’ll be prepared to walk off campus as a college graduate.

Finish the end of this semester strong. Don’t slack off; you can do this!


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by Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Editor-In-Chief

“Science can not grow, science can not proceed, science can not pursue, science can’t answer the questions… [it] seeks to answer without the diversity of thought. That’s what makes it [science] work. We need diversity of thought from everywhere to contribute so we can solve the questions we have about the Universe.” – Derrick Pitts, Astronomer

This November Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) hosted its Ninth Annual Presidential Symposium featuring keynote speaker Derrick Pitts. Pitts currently serves as the Chief Astronomer and Director of the Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

Pitts’ career began at the Franklin Institute after he graduated from St. Lawrence University. Over the span of his prolific career, Pitts has held many positions, including the United States spokesperson for the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, and in 2011 was named a Solar System Ambassador for NASA. Pitts has won numerous awards including a Distinguished Alumni award from St. Lawrence University and an honorary Doctorate of Science from La Salle University.

At the start of the Presidential Symposium, a performance from the MCCC Choir featured a rendition of David Bowe’s “Space Odyssey.” Following the performance, Pitts started his speech with introductory remarks on how he became interested in science.

Pitts explained that his interest in science stemmed from seeing acclaimed astronomers like John Glenn and Carl Sagan on TV as a child. Their TV appearances, combined with his innate scientific curiosity growing up, are what led him to pursue astronomy as an area of study in college.

Thanks to Pitts’ current position at the Franklin Institute, Pitts said that he makes it his mission to inspire other future scientists by speaking at academic institutions and making media appearances on TV. By inspiring others, he explained that the scientific community can benefit from having more scientists explore the ways of the Universe.

Additionally Pitts emphasized that the diversity of scientists is what truly matters for future discoveries in the Universe. He said that while the scientific field has made progress in making the field more diverse, there still needs to be even more representation of scientists in the field who are women, and who are representative of various races and ethnicities.

After Pitts finished his ending remarks on life in the Universe, he took questions from audience members. When asked about what advice he’d give to college students looking to find their passion, Pitts advises students to, “Free [themselves] of [a] schedule… number one. Don’t impose that on yourself and make that a restriction that keeps you… [and] that forces you to do something you don’t want to do, and take some time to explore what it is that you like to do…. It’s not about just having the education just to have the education, it’s about doing something you love to do.”

To find out more about Derrick Pitts, his career and his latest achievements, visit the Franklin Institute’s website via http://www.fi.edu.


Ilisco_MCCC Choir

MCCC’s Choir performs David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” led by Music Associate Professor, Andrew Kosciesza, at the start of this Fall’s Presidential Symposium. ~Photo by Erin Ilisco


Ilisco_Pitts speaking

Derrick Pitts discusses the diversity and complexities of the universe as keynote speaker. ~Photo by Erin Ilisco


Ilisco_Pollock and crowd

MCCC President, Dr. Kevin Pollock, chats with the audience at the 2017 Presidential Symposium. ~Photo by Erin Ilisco


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Rose Makofske, MCCC Director of Equity/Diversity Initiatives, presents opening remarks at the MCCC 2017 Presidential Symposium. ~Photo by Erin Ilisco





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Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Editor-in-Chief

New Academic Year, New Beginnings…

Whether it’s your first or second (or even beyond that) year here at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), the start of a new year can be daunting. The adjustment of getting a new routine set around classes, clubs, work in part time or full time jobs, family, friends… it can be a challenging experience to overcome. With these obligations, it can be easy to just say to yourself, “I want to give up.”

And I’m here to tell you this: You’re better than that.

I know that for me, I’m no exception to the challenge of college life and responsibilities. In addition to managing The Montgazette, I am involved in five other clubs: I’m a member of the Honors Club and Chess Club, I am a member of the Arts and Literature Magazine staff, I am the President of the Writer’s Club and I recently became the Phi Theta Kappa Public Relations Officer. Aside from clubs, I also have a part time job and have a full semester course load of five classes, with one of them being an honors course.

It is safe to say that I, along with many other student leaders on campus, can find the balancing act to be overwhelming. Yet, even as I say this, I’ve seen the excellence in the student body within the first few weeks this Fall semester. From the College’s Club Fair to the kickoff of the OneMontco Unity Series, the students of MCCC have expressed interest in involvement on campus. As a second-year student here at MCCC, I can tell you from experience that being involved in clubs is what can help you make the most of your college life – even amidst all your worrisome obligations.

I remember at the start of my first semester here at MCCC, I didn’t feel as if I belonged on campus because I didn’t have many friends. However, once I started to get involved in clubs, I realized that by joining clubs, I could hang out more with the people I saw in my classes every day. Even the simplest task of attending club meetings helped me in other aspects of my life: I’ve become more organized in scheduling my life every day – from clubs, to classes and all the other obligations that are thrown at me in life…

My point here is that I know that college life can be overwhelming, that perhaps you, a student here at MCCC, are feeling what I felt in my first semester of college. But I’m here to tell you that by simply being more proactive on campus, that perhaps all the other pieces in your life will fall into place.

If you’re interested in getting more involved on campus, I strongly recommend using the multiple resources that the College offers. First and foremost, there’s OrgSync, which is a website where you can find information on club and campus related events and activities being posted regularly. There’s also the Student Leadership Involvement (SLI) office where you can talk to the new Director of Student Life Tyler Steffy about clubs you’re interested in. And of course, you can sign up at club fairs when they happen once every semester and get information from there as well.

With that being said, I want to wish all of the students at MCCC good luck on completing the rest of the Fall semester. Don’t worry, you got this!

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Lisa Sills
The Montgazette Staff

As we continue the Fall 2017 semester, many new and returning students at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) must do many errands to make ends meet. Besides keeping up with the demand of work assigned by their professors, students have hectic and busy schedules, as many students are also employed at full- or part-time jobs, and they must be able to support themselves and others that that they depend on, or others who depend on them. Students may also have a range of other struggles that are typical of the multitude of other stressors that face American college students in the 21st century. Being enrolled in many college classes (as many as four or five classes) simultaneously can lead to stress, which can lead to psychosomatic disorders.

A psychosomatic disorder is a disease that involves both the mind and the body. Some physical illnesses of the body are affected negatively by mental factors like stress and anxiety. Some examples of these physical illnesses, caused by stress and anxiety, are stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Mental illnesses can also cause physical problems; for example, when a person is afraid, he/she may develop a faster heart rate and faster breathing, as part of the classic “fight-or-flight response.” “This goes back to caveman days, and the ‘fight-or-flight response’ is encoded within us,” says Dr. David Posen, stress expert and author of Is Work Killing You?: A Doctor’s Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress. Our stress reaction is mediated by hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol—all of which provide us with immediate energy to fight or run away from danger.

While attending the Japanese Cultural Club’s table at MCCC’s Club Fair back in September, I learned about the kendama (けん玉, “sword [and] ball”), a Japanese toy that is a variant of the classic cupand-ball game.

The kendama is made up of the “ken” (handle) and the “tama” (ball), which is connected by a string. The kendama tricks are done by variations of juggling the ball in the three cups, spiking the ball with the ken spike, and balancing both in creative ways. Simply replace the tama (ball) with a medicinal stress ball! The modern kendama, which dates to the late 17th or early 18th century, takes its influences from a diverse range of skills, including yoyo, diabolo, juggling, and dance.

Around the world, there are many cultural variations of the kendama. The Hispanic version of this toy is known as the “boliche” or “balero.” The French version of this ball-and-cup game, which dates to the 16th century, is known as the “bilboquet.”  The object of these toys is the same: catching one object with another, where both are joined by a string.

As an activity, to deal with stress, anyone can build a medicinal stress ball-in-a-cup game at home. These days, most stressors are psychological rather than physical. When a person is stressed, the body tightens up—so the physical release of squeezing a medicinal stress ball helps to let go of some of that energy. You can squeeze the medicinal stress ball—with a tight fist, as hard as you wish!


Ilisco_Stress Management (Sills)

Members of the Japanese Club at MCCC’s Club Fair — Photo by Erin Ilisco


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Dave Aston
The Montgazette Staff

Today’s media are increasingly synergistic. Not a day goes by when KYW NewsRadio doesn’t post a video on Facebook or the Phillies doesn’t broadcast their games in print, audio and video. Donnell Peake, Montgomery County Community College’s station co-manager of Montco Radio, recently experienced how that works in the real world and how he plans to apply it to Montco’s media clubs.

On September 14, Peake and other representatives from Montco’s media clubs attended a networking event courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies in the press room of Citizens Bank Park. An experience Peake called “electrifying,” the Montco student representatives met several members of the Phillies’ media business and front office. Each member relayed stories of how hard work eventually paid off.

“[Some] of the people on the panel got rejected more than three times, but they still pursued their dreams, and now they are head of the [Human Resources] Department for the Phillies,” Peake said. “Being able to hear [about] peoples’ journeys and what it took for them to get in the position they are now really [speaks] to me.”

Peake wishes events like this would happen more often “because having opportunities to speak with people in the broadcasting industry is like winning the lottery.”

This winning attitude is what motivates this Montco media club leader every day. Over the summer, Peake invited leaders of the other major media clubs of Montco, The Montgazette and Communicating Arts Production Group (CAPG), to discuss a plan to team up for long-range projects and promotions to help club members become better prepared for work in the media business.

“[The Phillies] experience can be used to enhance the Montco Media Clubs by organizing the three media clubs for different events that involve MCCC. [This] would help show the students who are involved what the industry is going to be like,” Peake said.

Peake’s plans to unite Montco Radio, The Montgazette and CAPG for major campus events so that each club can increase listeners, readers and viewers. One of his long-range plans is the introduction of a “Montco Radio Scholarship” for members in each of the media clubs.

In addition, Peake suggests that the college reach out to more media organizations. “I would say [the college should] get connected with…Fox 29, CBS 3, PHL17, 6ABC or NBC10 and see if there is [a way to] allow students to shadow someone who works for one of these media outlets.”

Merging Montco’s media clubs takes a lot of hard work, creativity and inspiration. With Donnell Peake and Montco’s student media club leaders, the hard work will pay off in ways to make all MCCC media students become tomorrow’s media professionals.


Woods_Phillies Media

Photo by Donnell Peake


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Joining Japanese Club

Grace Lee
The Montgazette Staff

The Japanese Club at Montco is very exciting and cultural. I will explain what the Japanese Club does, what you learn while in the club, and why you should join the club. We meet every Friday from 12:30pm to 1:30pm in Parkhouse Hall 124. We gather together, have pizza and candy of different flavors during meetings. In our first meeting this semester, the club’s president, Tina Merianou, gave members an introduction on what the club is all about and talked about important dates for events and field trips. Following the introductory speech, the first activity we did as a club was an ice breaker where we got to know each other, played fun games and had a great time.

When you think of Japanese culture, you might think about the Samurai warrior or a young Geisha, but there are a lot of other elements of Japanese culture to learn about. For instance, Japanese people bow down to their elders to respect them. Being polite in this culture is important. In Japan it is not polite to tip people at a restaurant. While at a restaurant, using the word “itadakimasu” signals politeness to servers. When you are going to a guest’s house, you should take your shoes off before going inside. When Japanese people are in public, they should try not to draw attention to themselves by speaking loudly on a cellphone.

The reason why I’d like people to join the Japanese Club is because you can learn something new and tell friends and family about the culture. In the club you can learn how to speak the Japanese language and how it was started, as well as the type of food that is eaten, the type of music listened to and different types of artwork from long ago.

Finally, let me tell you why I enjoy the Japanese Club. You are able to meet new people and communicate well. You are able to enjoy the company of others and listen to their stories. My favorite parts about this club are going on field trips, eating new foods, watching Japanese animation movies, playing fun Japanese games and especially hanging out with new friends.

I have made a lot of memories in this club. The best time I’ve had was going to dinner at the Fuji Japanese Restaurant in North Wales, Pennsylvania. The food was so yummy and delicious, my favorite food featured in the restaurant was the fried dessert. After dinner, we decided to sing karaoke. Towards the end of that trip, it was hard to leave friends when you are having lots of fun.

This is the end of my story and adventure on my experience joining the Japanese Club. I hope you are able to join if you are interested. Please come to the meetings on Fridays from 12:30pm to 1:30pm in PH124.

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Photo Courtesy of Grace Lee

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The KEYS to Success

Dejah Wallace
The Montgazette Staff

Are you a parent who wants an education but needs assistance with balancing school and your personal life? Montgomery County Community College, along with the other 14 community colleges in Pennsylvania, offers students that receive financial or food benefits from Pennsylvania the support that they need.

The Pennsylvania Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) is a 24-month program that offers each student guidance from a KEYS facilitator – an employee of the College – who helps identify the student’s career goals and find jobs that offer sustainable wages. In order to achieve their goals successfully, the KEYS facilitators also assist in creating course schedules, maintaining transportation, buying school supplies, completing financial aid applications, and making child care arrangements.

According to Ingrid M. Fisher, director of the KEYS Program at the College, “I have been a KEYS student, not literally, but having had to face some of the challenges that our KEYS students must handle academically, financially and socially… It was truly a village that helped me to earn my two Bachelor degrees from Widener University and my Juris Doctorate Law Degree from Seton Hall Law School.”

The KEYS staff serve as mentors and are their students’ biggest resource, but unfortunately, students often interact with them as an extension of the County Assistance Office (CAO). Eligibility for the program is all determined by the CAO.

Some of the eligibility requirements include receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, or financial benefits) before the 60-month time limit that is placed on their assistance and being currently enrolled in (or planning to attend) a community college. Those who lose their TANF eligibility but still receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food) benefits may remain in the KEYS program, though those students who lose their SNAP eligibility can only remain in the program until the end of their current semester.

Likewise to many benefits and assistance offers, you will have to fulfill certain requirements in order to maintain them. KEYS participation requires 20 hours per week if you are a parent with a child under six years of age, and 30 hours if your child is six years or older. The Department of Public Welfare sees the participation in KEYS as your work requirement until your time in the program is up. Your weekly hours are all counted by your class time, unmonitored study time, community service, or work related activities. During school breaks, such as annual Thanksgiving, winter, spring and summer breaks, you would make up your hours by work study, job search or community service.

In addition to the KEYS program, the College also provides a Child Care Center to their students on the Central Campus. They provide a quality environment and preschool setting for children ages two to five. The Child Care Center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 12 months of the year, except for the last two weeks of August. The center also offers a summer camp program that takes place mid-June to mid-August.

Visit the Student Success Center, located in College Hall on Central Campus, to find out more information about KEYS and the many more ways the College can assist you on your journey to success.


Betancourt_Student Success Center


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