Psychology major receives statewide honors

By Eric Devlin
Dani Arcos Narvaez, a Psychology major, was recently named to the All-Pennsylvania Academic Team, sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for two-year colleges, and The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. Photo by Linda Johnson

Dani Arcos Narvaez, a Psychology major, was recently named to the All-Pennsylvania Academic Team, sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for two-year colleges, and The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. Photo by Linda Johnson

A Montgomery County Community College student has been recognized for her achievements in and out of the classroom.  

Psychology major Dani Arcos Narvaez was recently named to the All-Pennsylvania Academic Team. The team is sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for two-year colleges, and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.

This recognition honors an exceptional group of community college students who have achieved academic excellence and demonstrated a commitment to their colleges and communities. To qualify, students must have completed at least 36 credits and have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges recognized Narvaez and students Georgia Horosky and Mercy Ifiegbu with other award recipients at a state-wide event in Harrisburg April 2.

“It feels amazing,” said Narvaez on the scholarship. “It feels surreal. It’s something I wasn’t expecting.”

Dani Arcos NarvaezNarvaez, 25, is a native of Ecuador, who currently lives in Norristown. In addition to being the vice president of scholarship for the Alpha Kappa Zeta chapter of PTK on the Blue Bell Campus, she is also the Student Government Association president, a student ambassador, a member of the President’s Leadership Council and a member of the 2025 Middle States Commission on Higher Education Steering Committee. She’s also a member of Psi Beta, the national honor society for psychology students attending two-year colleges.

PTK Vice President

She joined PTK in the spring of 2023 and her role focuses on student outreach.

“I let them know about opportunities available through PTK,” she said, “and encourage them to apply.”

Narvaez appreciates the fellowship that PTK provides and credits most of that to faculty advisor and History Assistant Professor Catherine Parzynski.

“She is very nice and encouraging,” said Narvaez. “She gives us the resources we need. It can be information about scholarships, future options, transfer opportunities, she helps with meetings with representatives from universities and helps provide further information about what PTK looks like in their universities. She gives a lot of help to us. Also snacks, which is a plus.”

Dr. Parzynski said Narvaez has made a lasting impression on PTK.

“I first met Dani Arcos Narvaez when she took my History 101 class in fall of 2022, where she earned an A,” said Dr. Parzynski. “I was not at all surprised when she was invited to join the Blue Bell chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society in the spring of 2023. PTK is an organization that celebrates the excellence of two-year college students just like Dani. This past year she has ably served as our vice president of scholarship. She is a true credit to MCCC.”

SGA President

This year Narvaez served as SGA president and was proud of all the organization had been able to accomplish.

“Overall, it was a growth opportunity in the best way possible,” she said. “I learned a lot about other students and myself. There were a lot of events. It’s good to be involved, to know what students need to be successful.”

Two SGA projects Narvaez said stood out as absolute successes included bringing back hot food on Blue Bell Campus at The East End in Parkhouse Hall and finalizing an agreement to make menstrual care products free and available in bathrooms.

Before the return of hot food, Narvaez found students believed they were being forced to make a difficult decision.

“School was a place where they could feel like they belong,” she said. “Taking away direct access to hot food, an essential need, meant that many would either eat or go to school. Many chose to stop going to school as a result. Bringing back hot food, we can see the difference. We worked with the administration and made it happen. It’s a big success.”

Narvaez said compared to the fall semester, there is a noticeable increase in the number of students filling parking spaces in the Advanced Technology Center parking lot on Blue Bell Campus, which she attributed to the return of hot food on campus.

“Students don’t have to go home,” she said. “They can stay and eat and go to class. It’s really awesome.”

Guaranteeing free menstrual care products in bathrooms, meanwhile, has been a project long in development. The focus of the project was sustainability and providing products that will be long lasting. Mitzvah Circle, a Norristown-based nonprofit organization, which provides material goods, donated more than 2,000 products, covering the sustainability aspect, said Narvaez. SGA is currently working with The Wellness Center on distribution of the projects.

“It’s been really good to be part of these life-changing experiences,” said Narvaez of the two projects this year. “I think those are the major ones.”

Other extracurricular activities

Outside of the classroom, SGA and PTK, Narvaez stays busy as a member of the President’s Leadership Council, providing a voice for students’ needs. She’s also a student ambassador working for the College, a member of Psi Beta, the honor society for psychology majors and the Usability Board, providing feedback to the Information Technology team on potential college-wide decisions that could impact students. Lastly, she’s on the 2025 Middle States Steering Committee doing research for the College’s reaccreditation.

“It’s very fun and a busy schedule,” she said.

As for her plans after MCCC, this summer Narvaez has been accepted into the Bucknell Community College Scholars Summer Program. The six-week summer program is a residential, on-campus experience at Bucknell University designed “for high-achieving, low- to moderate-income community college students who want to take their education beyond an associate's degree,” according to its website. For students who perform well during the program, Bucknell will typically offer a two-year scholarship.

Narvaez said she’s excited by the opportunity and plans to work hard this summer in the program.

“I am thrilled to attend the program; it's a great opportunity to challenge myself and learn from others who are also doing all they can to achieve academic excellence,” she said. “I have never thought of myself as a scholar, but having that opportunity gives me chills because I know it will take me out of my comfort zone.”

“I hope to complete the program successfully, make friends, grow as a developing professional, learn in and outside the classroom,” she continued, “and bring that mindset back on campus so that other students see themselves as scholars.”