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Sen. Merkley’s staff visit President Brown, Future Connect students

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Portland Community College is proving to be a leader on education, and not just locally, but nationally.

PCC President Jeremy Brown presents U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley's Chief of Staff, Mike Zamore (far right), and his Education Policy Legislative Assistant, Susan Lexer (far left), a framed feature article honoring Sen. Merkley. Also on hand were, left to right, Traci Fordham (chief of staff) and Sylvia Kelley (vice president).

PCC President Jeremy Brown presents U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s Chief of Staff, Mike Zamore (far right), and his Education Policy Legislative Assistant, Susan Lexer (far left), a framed feature article honoring Sen. Merkley. Also on hand were, left to right, Traci Fordham (chief of staff) and Sylvia Kelley (vice president).

PCC was recently approached by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s Chief of Staff, Mike Zamore, and his Education Policy Legislative Assistant, Susan Lexer, to meet with President Jeremy Brown. The meeting with President Brown also included PCC’s Sylvia Kelley (vice president), Rob Wagner (associate vice president of Advancement), Traci Fordham (chief of staff) and Meghan Moyer (government relation director), who all discussed the impact of the college’s Future Connect Scholarship Program.

Later, the group met with Future Connect students and staff to get their perspectives. The program is geared toward high school students who have been identified as being the first in their families to attend college or who are low-income. Students receive a scholarship to attend PCC and get two years of individualized academic advising, career-guidance classes, and access to tutoring, cohort support and personalized coaching.

The interest by Sen. Merkley’s staff lies in the possible re-authorization of the Higher Education Act later this year. PCC representatives would love to make the PCC Future Connect Scholarship Program a model that other cities and community colleges could replicate. Sen. Merkley is a big proponent of PCC and is featured in the upcoming college magazine PCC Communities.

“Portland Community College gives students the opportunity for quality and accessible education while helping train Oregonians for jobs that are in demand today,” Sen. Merkley said. “I love seeing PCC succeed and thrive because PCC is a key to the success of our region.”

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 »

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