Bucknell Scholars program helps student reach their goals

By Diane VanDyke

Bucknell University Community College Scholars

Sara Wilkerson of King of Prussia credits her mother for being her inspiration in college and her life.

“My mother never had the opportunity to go to college. Growing up, I remember seeing the struggles my mother went through without the college education that is needed so desperately in today’s world. Yet, those struggles never stopped her. Her hard work, perseverance and dedication have inspired me to do well here at Montco and will translate greatly for my success at Bucknell University,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson, along with three other Montco graduates – Mouaz Alhindi of Horsham, Adrian Grow of Collegeville and Lily Nichole Romano of East Norriton – will be attending Bucknell in the fall on full-tuition scholarships, thanks to the Bucknell University Community College Scholars Program.

Initially funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and now funded by Bucknell, the Community College Scholars Program enables high-achieving, low-income community college students to complete their undergraduate education at the university located in Lewisburg, Pa.

I have literally been on the edge of my seat, waiting for my time at Bucknell to begin. While I’m closing this chapter at Montco and opening a new chapter at Bucknell, I will never forget the kindness and hope I received here.

In addition to the four students selected for full-tuition scholarships, seven students – Asteri Aliaj of Jenkintown, Caroline Benitz of Chalfont, Brandon Higgins of King of Prussia, Connor Judge of Worcester, Peter Kramme of Harleysville, Jessica Lawder of Conshohocken and Shane Staret of Collegeville – were selected to participate in Bucknell’s Summer Residency Program.

For the summer program, students will take two courses on Bucknell’s campus for six weeks with the guidance of student and faculty mentors. Participants then have the opportunity to apply to Bucknell for the following year, and if accepted, they will transfer to the university with junior status on full-tuition scholarships. The summer program covers tuition, books, room and board – there is no cost to students.

For Romano, Bucknell’s Summer Residency Program was “life changing.” As she completes her final days at Montco, graduating with honors, she looks forward to attending Bucknell where she will major in Computer Science.

“I have literally been on the edge of my seat, waiting for my time at Bucknell to begin,” said Romano, who serves as president of the Alpha Kappa Zeta chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Central Campus. “While I’m closing this chapter at Montco and opening a new chapter at Bucknell, I will never forget the kindness and hope I received here.”

Montgomery County Community College has participated in Bucknell’s Community College Scholars Program since 2006. Including this year’s scholars, a total of 65 students attended the summer residency program, and a total of 50 students transferred to Bucknell on full-tuition scholarships.