Graduate inspired by SCC faculty member to pursue her passion in social-justice

(Above photo caption: Honors graduate Melissa Duggan benefited from her time at Salem Community College and her membership in the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. She transferred all of her credits to Neumann University. Melissa is pictured at The Coliseum in Rome.)

Salem Community College graduate Melissa Duggan appreciates the value of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society.

“Phi Theta Kappa helped me understand the importance of graduation,” said Duggan, who earned her a degree with honors in social science – history/political science in May 2014 then transferred to Neumann University. “I was planning on just transferring without graduating but advisor Timothy Hack (associate professor of social science) really motivated me to earn my associate degree before moving on.”

Through the honor society, Melissa learned more about leadership and received practical advice about scholarships and transferring. She also gained valuable public-speaking experience at the group’s induction ceremony.

The Salem Community College years benefitted her in several ways. “I would highly recommend SCC to others. First, it saved me so much financially,” she said. “I never felt like I was just a number in a classroom. My professors knew me by name and they were totally available. All of my classes were engaging, intimate and personal.”

During Duggan’s final semester at SCC, she interned for Free to Flourish, a Mullica Hill-based nonprofit dedicated to eliminating human trafficking. She thanks Hack for encouraging her to pursue her social-justice passion. “He spoke about the importance of volunteering and networking so I decided to give it a try,” she said.

“As I grew older and began to hear about human trafficking through my church and how women of a certain socio-economic background were being exploited, particularly girls from poor, broken homes, I felt compelled to get involved,” she said.

Melissa took advantage of public-speaking opportunities at Free to Flourish and helped with fund-raising. She also writes for the Christian News Network, an online publication, and teaches part-time for Classical Conversations, a home-school co-op.

She is majoring in liberal arts at Neumann, which accepted all of her SCC credits. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a master’s in organizational leadership or a law degree.

Married with three children, the Pennsville resident juggles her academic and social-justice pursuits with family life. “I hope that in modeling my passion before my children, they will become more empathetic and socially conscious and develop their own causes.”

This profile article is the first of many to come from SCC’s Dean of Enrollment Management, Kevin Catafamo. Look for more stories on local students, articles on higher education, tips for choosing the perfect school for you and/or your child, plus much more!

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