By Diane VanDyke
MCCC Director of Strategic Communications
Olivia Slupski decided at an early age she wanted to be a doctor so she could help others who face complex medical issues.
Slupski was born prematurely and was afflicted with numerous health conditions, including severe heart problems since age 5. She has undergone five heart surgeries, including an emergency heart surgery in November 2017.
“It’s something I’ve lived with,” said Slupski, of Gilbertsville, who graduated from Boyertown Area Senior High in 2014. “I don’t define myself with my health problems.”
Her medical conditions certainly have not slowed her down. After graduating high school, Slupski began working three jobs to support herself and save for college.
She enrolled at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) in 2016 as a Liberal Studies major. Her time at the community college was supposed to be a “stepping stone” of a semester or two, but it evolved into an associate degree, which she will receive May 17.
“I have the greatest support system at Montco ever,” Slupski said. “I feel like I will be leaving my family. I stayed because the support system and the flexibility and all of the opportunities that Montco has.”
MCCC has helped her obtain funding and financial assistance, enabling her to take seven classes while working one full-time job (instead of three). As a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Slupski was chosen for the All-PA Academic Team, which provides a full-tuition scholarship at one of several four-year colleges, including West Chester University.
The scholarship will take a “huge weight off my shoulders,” enabling her to work less while attending college.
“I would’ve never received it if I had not been at Montco in Phi Theta Kappa,” she said.
Slupski, who volunteers for Pottstown CARES and has helped people with special needs since middle school, will have the opportunity to share her experiences as the student commencement speaker.
The words of wisdom she hopes to impart on students is that they are “capable of anything they put their minds to.”
“What I want every student to do is to trust in themselves,” Slupski said. “Use their experience at Montco as an example of the sheer power, motivation and success they’re capable of doing.”
That’s a lesson Slupski has grappled with herself. The most difficult challenge she faced during her time at MCCC was to believe in herself and to realize that “no matter what obstacle comes my way, it will pass.”
When asked about her favorite MCCC memory, Slupski reflects on a defining moment while speaking to prospective students and their parents at an open house.
“I didn’t realize how much Montco meant to me until I was trying to tell others why they should come,” she said. “I teared up telling other students what Montco can do for them.”
About Montgomery County Community College
For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.
As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College also is recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu.