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OCA Colleague Cheryl IsaacCheryl Isaac

What are your title and main job responsibilities?
As the executive director of community engagement at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, I have the privilege of connecting community stakeholders with College resources to help our 11-county service region support our students.

What inspires you to come to work every day, and why?
I am inspired by possibilities. As a community college and educational institution, we offer our students many opportunities to improve their education and careers. We partner with our communities to provide helpful solutions for our students. I come to work every day knowing that we have set the stage for possibilities.

How do you interact with and engage students and excite them about attending HACC and learning?
I interact with future students as I engage with our community partners. While collaborating with community partners, I initiate information sessions for future students, discuss unique community partnerships that benefit students, interact with future students at community events and talk about the wonderful pathways available at HACC.

What is one of your best moments as an employee at HACC?
One of my best moments at HACC is being trusted to lead a team that will excite and inform our communities about Pennsylvania’s first and largest community college.

What do you see as your greatest personal achievement?
One of my greatest personal achievements has been creating a startup that offered others the chance to start their dreams.

What energizes you most and why?
Working in an environment that stresses both education and economic empowerment energizes me.

If you could solve one community or national problem, what might that be?
I would ensure that every family has access to livable wages.

As you look to the future, what matters most to you?
As I look to the future, what matters most is compassion. I would like to ensure that I lend my talents to advocate for equality, economic empowerment, education and expressions of art for all.

How do you enjoy spending free time?
I'm an avid reader. I enjoy reading paperbacks from around the world and discussing them with friends from various continents on Goodreads. As a literary fiction and nonfiction writer, I enjoy writing when the rest of the world is asleep. I also enjoy binging Netflix series with my husband and playing “doggie basketball” with my Cockaliers.

Who’s your biggest hero, and why?
As an immigrant, my parents have been my personal heroes for showing me what it looks like to persist, despite exile and turmoil. Professionally, I have been inspired by Miriam Makeba’s (“Mama Africa”) grace, resilience and how she used her art to advocate for racial justice.

What educational degree(s) have you obtained?
I received an MFA in nonfiction from The University of Tampa and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Capital University.