June 18, 2016, Blue Bell, Pa.—While Catherine Camuso, Red Hill, looks forward to the fall when she will attend Kutztown University to pursue a degree in Psychology, she fondly reflects over her past two years at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC).
“To be honest, if there is one thing I am going to miss when I go on to [Kutztown], it will be the fact that it is so easy to talk to the professors at MCCC,” she said.
The small classes, the community found and fostered in clubs, and the supportive professors all contributed to Camuso’s positive experience and her personal victories. She considers her “biggest success” to be “more personal and less academic.”
“I learned more about myself. I [was] able to take classes that interest[ed] me, I became more aware of myself: my likes, dislikes, etc. I think that is part of adulthood—learning who you are. Montco has helped me become more of a functioning adult,” she said.
Camuso was an Honors Program Scholar, member of the Honor’s Club, vice president of the Gender Sexuality Alliance and a volunteer with the Center for Culture: Art, Training and Education (CCATE), a non-profit organization in Norristown whose mission to reach out to and empower the Hispanic community through tutoring, extra-curricular activity and additional support.
As a liaison for CCATE, Camuso raised money on campus for the center. Aware of the difficulties Hispanic children may face—assimilation and the disparity between the quality of education in affluent townships and low-income neighborhoods—Camuso “knew [she] had to help.”
That desire to help others also fuels her decision to pursue a degree in Psychology.
“I was always interested in how the mind works and having mental health problems myself, I know what it is like to feel alone in times of mental distress. I wish to help people so they don’t feel as alone,” she explained.
Eventually, Camuso would like to open a home for LGBTQ youth.
“I want to have a place with beds, food and therapy for kids who need a place to stay for a night, a month, a year. Overall, I want a home that can provide safety and security for these youth,” she explained.
The past two years involved “a lot of late nights and hard work” for Camuso. Nevertheless, she found support from friends and family.
“Whenever I felt hopeless, my loved ones always said [that] I made it this far in life, and I could definitely make it farther. They were right. I am now a graduate of Montco and I couldn’t have done it without their encouragement.”
- Kayleigh DiGiacomo
Dr. Anne Livezy, interim assistant dean of health sciences, presents Catherine Camuso (center) with the Al Owens Spirit Award during the Student Awards Reception on April 29, 2016. Photo by Sandi Yanisko