Reading, PA, December 11, 2018 – Reading Area Community College (RACC) has been awarded $75,000 as part of a grant from the BB&T Economic Growth Fund through the Berks County Community Foundation. The grant will be used to support the RACC President’s Initiative Fund. Specifically, the grant will help fund the expansion of the Peer Mentorship Program for five semesters from spring 2019 through May 2021, and will double the opportunities for mentorship for each semester.
The RACC Peer Mentorship Program serves to promote academic success, and increase the student graduation rates. First-year RACC students are paired with outstanding upper-class students who act as mentors throughout the academic year. “This grant from the BB&T Economic Growth Fund will help us expand the Peer Mentor Program to assist first-year students in their academic success. We know that students who participate in a quality mentor program are more prepared academically for challenges they face during their first year of college,“ says RACC President Susan D. Looney. “The funding will also be used for scholarships which will allow these funds to support RACC’s mission of offering access, opportunity, excellence and hope for all students.”
“We are excited to have this opportunity to support RACC’s President’s Initiative Fund, and look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on Reading Area Community College students and their academic success,” says David Roland, BB&T market president, Berks County/Northern Montgomery County. The BB&T Economic Growth Fund was established in 2017 to invest in local economic development opportunities.
The Berks County Community Foundation received $2.5 million in connection with BB&T’s acquisition of National Penn in 2016. The Fund allows the Community Foundation to support charitable projects and initiatives that impact economic development efforts in Berks County.
To learn more about the RACC Peer Mentorship Program or the Berks County Community Foundation visit racc.edu or bccf.org.
Reading, PA — Alvernia University and Reading Area Community College (RACC) are expanding their dual admission partnership to include full-tuition scholarships for qualified RACC graduates through a special Reading Collegiate Scholars Program, modeled after Alvernia’s highly successful program aimed at the city’s high school students.
“Alvernia has benefitted from a longstanding relationship with RACC for decades as many of their students have successfully transferred to our university to complete four-year degrees,” said Alvernia President Tom Flynn. “We welcome this new opportunity to advance our relationship to the next level including building upon our Reading Collegiate Scholars Program.”
Alvernia’s expanded Reading Collegiate Scholars Program will now include two full-tuition scholarships for qualified RACC graduates beginning fall 2019, increasing to four by fall 2020. In addition, scholarship support will be expanded for all RACC graduates who transfer to Alvernia and meet academic and service criteria.
“Community college students who transfer to four-year universities graduate at a rate well above the national average and way above traditional four-year students,” said RACC President Susan Looney. “We are especially excited about strengthening our partnership with Alvernia to provide even more opportunities for RACC students such as expanding access for RACC graduates to the Reading Collegiate Scholars program,” she added.
The Reading Collegiate Scholars Program enrolls underserved but capable students from the City of Reading and provides support, incentives and financial aid designed to ensure students successfully complete a college education. Started in 2014, the first group has a 100% graduation rate. The program is supported primarily by private donors, local businesses and foundations, and university funding.
Reading, PA –Reading Area Community College hosted almost 200 Berks County high school and middle school students, teachers and
Reading, PA –Reading Area Community College hosted almost 200 Berks County high school and middle school students, teachers and administrators for their second annual STEM Day on Friday, November 9th.
Students conducted hands-on experiments using techniques and procedures in the areas of physics, robotics, medical lab technology, respiratory therapy and even simulated crime scene investigations using forensics technology. The experiments were designed to help get students excited about how fun science can be as a career path and encourage them to make positive future life and career choices.
“For us, the most exciting aspect of the day was observing the amazing level of engagement and curiosity displayed by the students. Giving students the opportunity for interactive, hands-on experiences is one of the most effective ways of building a solid future pipeline for STEM,” says RACC president Dr. Susan Looney.
After extensive renovations in the spring and summer of 2017, RACC’s labs are dedicated to every segment of the STEM division, incorporating applied engineering and technology, physical and life sciences, and health sciences. The chemistry and physics labs were relocated into the Schmidt Training and Technology Center to better integrate both areas into the workforce development and applied engineering programs.
“We hope the students left the campus today believing that RACC is a great place to learn and earn their post-secondary STEM credentials,” says Jodi Corbett, RACC director of academic partnerships. “Our STEM division positions RACC to help meet future workforce needs by integrating advanced science lab experiences, and technology and healthcare programs,” she continues.
To learn more about the STEM programs at RACC please call 610.607.6224.
Written by David Mekeel, Reading Eagle
Reading, PA —The students sat in groups of three behind rectangular folding tables, their heads drooped in concentration directed at the sheets of paper in front of them.
Some rested their heads, tilted slightly to the left or right, on their hands. Some had bottles of water nearby. Each table featured a small bowl filled with candy.
What wasn't anywhere to be found? A calculator.
Forty-eight high school students from 16 Berks County schools gathered Wednesday morning at Reading Area Community College to take part in the 29th annual Berks County Interscholastic Mathematics Championship.
The competition - sponsored by the Higher Education Council of Berks County - pits three-member teams against one another, each working through a slew of problems in algebra, trigonometry, probability and limits. The questions, which take the form of both an individual and group written test, must be solved within a time limit and without a calculator.
The task, the students said, was tough.
"It was challenging," said Matthew Boyer, 17, a Tulpehocken High School senior. "I didn't know what to do on half the questions."
"I was confused a lot," added his teammate, Hairuo Zhao, 17, also a senior.
The team from Reading High agreed that the contest was difficult. But for 19-year-old senior Natalie Perez, that was quite all right.
"It was fun," she said, explaining that math is her favorite subject. "I loved it. I loved every minute of it."
Perez said it was thrilling not knowing what to expect and being presented with problems she had to figure out.
"That's math," she said.
Miguel Hernandez, one of Perez's teammates, felt much the same way.
"It was difficult and a bit frustrating," he said, adding that he was faced with things he'd never seen before.
But knowing that there's a lot to math that he still doesn't know, that there are frontiers he's yet to encounter, was exhilarating, he said.
"There's still so many new things out there," he said. "It's so exciting."
Speaking to the students following the competition, Dr. Susan D. Looney, RACC president, said the type of work they did Wednesday morning represents building blocks they will use in the future.
"The problems you solved this morning using algebra, trigonometry and probability are the kinds of math needed in our advanced manufacturing labs, and will serve you well in a number of majors such as criminal justice and business," she said.
Because the tests are scored by hand, results of the competitions won't be available until early December. Wyomissing won the championship last year, and Berks Catholic won it two years ago.
Written by: Ali Bechtel, Berks County Living
Written by: Ali Bechtel, Berks County Living
The Miller Center for the Arts has become a cultural education center Berks County, and Director Cathy Stephen has been helping from behind the curtain since the beginning.
Q: Are you originally from Berks County?
No, I’m from Norway, Maine. But I’ve spent half of my life here!
Q: How did you get involved with RACC and the Miller Center?
My background is in music and the arts. I took some time off to raise my children – I have three girls – but I was ready to get back into work full time. If I was going to be away from my kids, it needed to be something I love and was trained to do, which was fundraising, development and programming for the arts. I started working at RACC managing their foundation in 2006, then started advertising for the Miller Center. It was a nice combination of the skills I had acquired up to that point.
Q: The Miller Center recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, so were you part of its development?
Yes! We opened our doors in 2007, so I was there from the beginning. I created the business plan for the center. We started out operating fairly typically for a performing arts center on a campus, but I think what makes us different is that we now really do divide ourselves pretty equally with use by the community.
Q: What kind of community programming is typically hosted there?
Right now, about 40 percent of the programming is generated by our own series, and the remaining 60 percent is pretty much divided by the college’s use for special events and lectures and use by the community – anything from the county using it for public outreach to Reading Civic Theater using it for a musical.
Q: What can people expect from the Miller Center’s series of productions?
We bring in artists in theater, dance, film and music from all over the world. Our niche areas tend to be dance and more grassroots music.
Q: Have you seen a lot of cultural growth in the community because of your programming?
Over time we have learned what our community’s needs are, but we’re also able to take a little more risk in our programming. We now have a category called Fringe, and it includes edgier theater and music, or new art forms that people should really know about. That has really broadened the perspective of the folks that come to the facility.
Q: Does your busy schedule leave you time to get involved in the community in other ways? Well, at one time I sat on a lot of boards, but I got so busy that it was time for me to step away and develop other parts of myself. I’m a flutist, and I also teach piano. I like to run and ski, so I try to keep myself active, and I really love the outdoors. I’ve grown to love Berks County; I think it has a lot to offer. I feel like we’re a little hidden gem for cultural experiences and outdoor experiences, and I’m happy that the Miller Center is a part of it.