WANTED by Four-Year Colleges: NCC Honors Students

Graduates of NCC's Honors Program are in high demand!

Myra Saturen,

Northampton Community College (NCC) Honors Program students and graduates are passionate learners who do extraordinary things, and four-year colleges are taking notice. Take, for example, Katelyn Armbruster, a liberal arts major, who transferred from the Honors Program to Lehigh University in 2013.  Her tuition at the private university was covered in large part by a Jack Cook Kent Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, which provides up to $40,000 a year to help outstanding community college students continue their educations at the nation's top four-year colleges and universities. 

A high-achieving, creative student while at NCC, Amrbruster is making her mark at Lehigh. In cooperation with New Bethany Ministries, she founded the Farm to Fork program, growing hundreds of pounds of produce for New Bethany's food bank in Southside Bethlehem. As part of Lehigh's Environmental Initiative, she developed a plan to start a garden and teach local residents about the benefits of healthful eating. Another project, a collaboration with other Lehigh students, blossomed into the Community Leaders' Permaculture Club.   

While she was at Lehigh, Armbruster's passion for people and nutrition led her to Vienna, Austria, where she interned with the World Wildlife Fund and met with environmental policy leaders from the United Nations.  She also spent part of a semester in Poland, attending the United Nations convention on climate change.

The NCC Honors Program nurtured Armbruster's innovative spirit. "Classes revolved around discussion, and really gave me the room to understand the material in a greater context, making it more meaningful. Being part of a group of students and professors dedicated to enriching the community college experience inspired me to think bigger and work harder."

Armbruster's success has counterparts in other graduates' stories. Darrell Pacheco, another Honors Program graduate, won appointment as a young alumni trustee for Dickinson College, the only member of his class to do so.  Now a financial analyst with the Vanguard Group, he transferred to Dickinson from NCC via a special transfer agreement that included a scholarship. 

About the NCC Honors Program, Pacheco says, "the small classroom environment was conducive to great conversations. Faculty were able to dive deep into subject areas, and we, as students, were able to interact with these subject areas. My peers were truly inspiring people."

After graduating from NCC with an associate degree, Ruby Johnson just kept going.  She enrolled at Moravian College, where she earned bachelor's degrees in both history and philosophy and obtained a master's degree in history from Villanova University. Now she is working on a Ph.D. in American history at George Washington University. 

"The professors are wonderful and the honors courses challenged me.  In Dr. McClintock-Walsh's Irish literature class, we read Beckett and Joyce, learned about the history that influenced Irish literature and went to see a stage production of Waiting for Godot," she says.

Political science major Aaron Rosengarten, an honors program student who graduated this May, says that "being an honors student has had a tremendous impact on my education. It has helped develop me into a better student and student leader. It has given me so many opportunities to network and to share my work with fellow classmates and staff and faculty. I've spoken at many honors program seminars, and a paper I wrote in my honors African

American Literature class was selected for an honors conference in Gettysburg."

Rosengarten was nominated for the All USA Coca-Cola Academic Team, which allows him to enroll at any college or university in the PA state system. West Chester University tops his list. His ultimate goal is to graduate from law school. 

Mallory Lunquist, a communications studies major whose career goal is to work with social justice organizations and lawmakers to fight systemic injustice, enjoyed studying with other passionate students, engaging at a deep level, and participating in hands-on creative projects in NCC's Honors Program.

For example, she conducted a research experiment in her honors psychology class, formed a connection with a student in Colombia through her speech communications class, and worked with a committee to plan the first NCC Day of Service. 

"One of the big benefits of the Honors Program is knowing that many schools are actively pursuing NCC Honors students.  That takes a lot of stress out of our planning for the future," she says.    

The Honors Program started in spring 2006 with 25 students. Since then, participation has ballooned. In spring 2015, 311 students were enrolled.   

The program serves academically well-prepared NCC students on both the Bethlehem and Monroe campuses. It is designed to work well with most majors and concentrations, and its goal is to provide an academic atmosphere in which students learn to think critically, creatively and independently, taking responsibility for their own learning.

A student must have completed 12 honors classes credits (4 courses) and attained a cumulative GPA of 3.5 to be an Honors Program graduate and have that designation noted on his or her transcript. 

Honors graduates are not limited in where they can continue their educations, but Albright, Dickinson and Lafayette colleges and Arcadia and Lehigh universities offer special transfer agreements that:

•give preferential consideration in transfer and allow students to apply one month earlier than others;

•waive applications fees;

•send admissions representatives to meet with NCC students one-to-one for transfer counseling;

•confer junior status on transferees;

•automatic consideration for generous financial aid packages at some schools and the opportunity to apply for scholarships at others.

At Arcadia, graduates whose academic record meets program requirements are provided with assured admission into graduate programs including MBA, forensic science, physical therapy, peace & conflict resolution, and physician assistant. 

Lehigh University and Lafayette College offer loan reduction and elimination to students who qualify.

Other colleges and universities that have accepted NCC honors students include Villanova University, St. John's College, Kutztown University, DeSales University and many others. 

Most importantly, Northampton's Honors Program prepares graduates for distinguished societal roles. "Honors students have gone on to become leaders, inside and outside the classroom," says Cara McClintock-Walsh, the coordinator of the Honors Program.    

This fall, 299 students have been accepted into the program. The Honors Program offers several routes to admission. Click here for more information.