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Two PCC students named to national academic team

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Once in awhile, when you’ve gone the extra mile for your school and neighborhood, good things come back to you. That’s the case for two Portland Community College Cascade Campus students who were recently honored for their achievements in the classroom and their leadership on campus and in the community.

Lisa Hummel (southeast Portland) and Debra Lynn Porta (north Portland), both second-year students at the Cascade Campus (705 N. Killingsworth Street), were named to the All-USA Academic Team by Phi Theta Kappa, a nationwide community college honor society. Both women will receive a $1,000 scholarship and travel to Nashville, Tenn., in April 2007 for Phi Theta Kappa’s national conference.

Porta and Hummel both said that their experience at Cascade Campus has made them aware of an inner potential for achievement that they didn’t know existed before they began their studies.

“Being in student leadership has made all the difference,” said Hummel. “I never thought of myself as a leader; I was always more of a follower. The opportunities I’ve found here have given me the courage to strike out on my own.”

Porta described a similar sense of self-discovery when she recalled her activities at Cascade. She has been active in student government, helping to organize a voter registration drive and a voter education program. Her efforts led to her being named director of legislative affairs for Cascade’s Associated Students of PCC, the college’s student body association.

Before she graduates next spring she plans to organize a series of student forums aimed at raising awareness of current events and developing a support structure for veterans returning from the war in Iraq.

“I’m looking forward to seeing these programs come to fruition, especially helping the returning soldiers,” said Porta, who plans to transfer to Portland State University to pursue a degree in sociology.

Hummel has used her area of study – gerontology – to develop a focus for her community service, developing a number of service programs for seniors in the area of retirement communities. She’s also been an AmeriCorps volunteer and volunteers her time with student government. And if she weren’t busy enough, she also serves as president of the Cascade Campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.

Both women have been strongly influenced by their respective instructors at Cascade, especially by one they have in common – English and writing instructor Porter Raper.

“He’s the first teacher that really inspired me,” Hummel said. “He made me realize I had a voice. Taking his class changed my perspective on how far I could go.”

Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon, serving approximately 88,200 full- and part-time students. For more PCC news, please visit us on the Web at PCC has three comprehensive campuses, five workforce training and education centers, and 200 community locations in the Portland metropolitan area. The PCC district encompasses a 1,500-square-mile area in northwest Oregon and offers two-year degrees, one-year certificate programs, short-term training, alternative education, pre-college courses and life-long learning.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »