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Lehigh Carbon Community College

2023 Graduate Blazes Academic Trail

By Aaliyah Abarca

A young woman with dark brown curly hair and glasses stands at a wooden podium in front of a large staircase.Graduating from Lehigh Carbon Community College as a psychology major and president of Student Government Association (SGA) at LCCC, 2023 graduate Emma Hope is on her way to Kutztown University with a host of accomplishments to her name. As she gets ready to head to Kutztown, Hope plans to be just as involved in the KU community.

Starting her LCCC journey as a high school student in the LCCC dual enrollment program, the Tamaqua High School alum knew early on this is where she wanted to attend college. After being awarded full tuition from the Morgan Scholarship, funded by the Morgan Foundation for seniors graduating Tamaqua Area High School who attend LCCC, Hope was able to transfer to LCCC main campus in Schnecksville – despite some questioning why she did not take her talents directly to a four year institution.

“I don’t think it’s financially smart for me to get in that much debt when I can start here and get a good education,” Hope says. “And then all the opportunities after that just opened up for me and now I’m a huge advocate for the college.” Those opportunities have included numerous scholarships including the Krysta Hankee educational grant, the Presidential Scholarship for Kutztown and transfer scholarships from Kutztown including transfer housing and books.

“When I apply for these [scholarships], I sit down and I think that I’m not going to get it but I do them anyway because it’s worth a shot,” Hope said. “If you believe in yourself, someone else might believe in you too.”

Hope was also chosen a member of the All-Pennsylvania Academic Team, receiving a full two-year scholarship to any of the universities in the PASSHE system.

Three people stand and pose for a photo. A man stands on the left, a young woman stands in the middle holding a maroon Kutztown University sweatshirt, and a woman stands on the right. Hope says that being named to the All-PA Academic Team, “felt great, because, once again, my goal was to not be in debt. That’s what I was really hoping for, because I put a lot of time into everything I did.”

Hope has also been named a 2023 New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar and will receive a $2,250 scholarship. Nominations were evaluated on academic achievement, leadership, service and significant endeavors.

Initially, after applying for this particular scholarship, Hope confided in her mom her doubts about it being awarded to her. Receiving this award was “completely unexpected” for Hope.

“I just always do so much hard work, and I’m always doing something. I never thought it would pay off that much, and I didn’t think I would receive that high of a recognition,” reflects Hope.

Selection was based on the score earned in the All-USA Academic Team competition, which received more than 2,400 applications this year. Hope received the highest score in Pennsylvania and is the only recipient from the Commonwealth.

She has more recently been selected as one of 15 Phi Theta Kappa members nationwide selected as a 2023 Hites Scholar and will receive a $10,000 scholarship for baccalaureate studies. The Hites Transfer Scholarship is awarded to Phi Theta Kappa members who are preparing to transfer to a bachelor’s degree-granting college or university. Winners were selected from among 2,700 applicants nationwide for their outstanding academic achievement and rigor, leadership accomplishments and engagement in college and community activities.

Hope has taken on college culture with full force. In her time at LCCC she was a part of several campus organizations including the Honors ScholarsA panel of people sit and clap behind a young woman standing at a podium. At the podium and on a banner hanging behind everyone is the logo and text that reads "Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges" Program, Phi Theta Kappa (the international honor society for two-year colleges), delegate of Psi Beta and Chess Club. She was also a student worker on campus as a First Year Experience Peer Mentor. Not only did she remain active in her extracurricular commitments, but she accomplished it while also advocating for the importance of community college at various events such as Community College Day at the Pennsylvania state capital in Harrisburg.

Her consistent achievements have not gone unrecognized by students and administration at LCCC. Hope was named Student of the Year at commencement, a prestigious award based on performance in and out of the classroom. Additionally, students thinking about transferring to Kutztown have reached out to her and asked what her experience has been like with the university so far. She has been able to reassure them that her transfer process has been seamless with no complications – specifically with the transfer of credits.

Hope has been able to reflect on her time at LCCC and appreciates the continuous support of the faculty and staff who have helped her get to where she is today. In the end, she is glad she didn’t pay any attention to the naysayers. “I’m glad I didn’t listen to any of those negative concerns or comments because they were really misguided. You honestly can start here and go anywhere. As much as you put in you get out.”

When she gets to Kutztown in the fall, Hope plans to remain active in campus life and be a voice for other students who are thinking about transferring from LCCC to KU.

Learn more about scholarship opportunities here.