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Youngwood woman is honored for academic achievements at WCCC

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 8:33 p.m.
Youngwood's Toni Josebeck, a student at Westmoreland County Community College, was honored for academic excellence and achievement in Harrisburg. Josebeck was named to the 2013 All-Pennsylvania Academic team. She is pictured with state Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield.

Youngwood resident Toni Josebeck was recently honored for academic excellence and commitment to her college and community at the Pennsylvania Commission for Community College's annual conference in Harrisburg.

Josebeck, along with Brittany Carr of Latrobe, who are both students of Westmoreland County Community College near Youngwood, were named to the 2013 All-Pennsylvania Academic Team.

“I worked very hard for it,” said Josebeck, who maintained a 3.5 grade point average or higher while studying at the college.

She also made the school's President's List for her high grades.

Additionally, Josebeck held the positions of president in Phi Theta Kappa, the national two-year college honor society, and vice president of Sigma Alpha Pi leadership society.

“I commend both students on their commitment to furthering their education and congratulate them on their academic achievement,” said Daniel J. Obara, president of Westmoreland County Community College.

Josebeck was nominated for the Academic Team by Michelle Toohey, an English professor at the college.

In all, 45 students from 14 community colleges statewide were named to the Academic Team.

The event was sponsored by the state Commission for Community Colleges and Phi Theta Kappa.

Josebeck will be graduating this month with an associate's degree in psychology.

She said she plans to attend California University of Pennsylvania in Washington County this summer, where she will study social work.

“I really enjoy being in the academic arena,” said Josebeck, who added that she hopes to one day obtain a doctorate in psychology to be able to open her own practice and teach at the collegiate level.

Josebeck said her favorite experience at the county's community college has been her participation in the honor program's Wise Women of Westmoreland County project.

Josebeck was chosen to present her research project, which focused on Italian women immigrants, at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research held at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Josebeck's son, Gary Josebeck, an art student at the college, was also chosen to represent the school.

Josebeck said the experience of presenting alongside her son was a memorable one. She received a plaque and a metal for her accomplishments and two years of paid tuition to any Pennsylvania state school.

In Harrisburg, honorees were given the opportunity to speak to members of the state's House of Representatives regarding why they felt grant money should be allotted to community colleges.

“It was interesting to learn about all the different aspects of political life,” Josebeck said.

She added that the experience was a reward within itself.

“Many of the students (who were honored at the event) balance their school work with family responsibilities and jobs but still find time to volunteer and make their communities a better place,” said Diane Bosak, executive director of the state Commission for Community Colleges. “This recognition is a testament to these students' commitment to their communities and to their education.”

Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer.