MCCC Student Selected for
Women's Leadership Program at Rutgers


Trenton, N.J. -- When Pam Prather of Trenton made a speech during graduation ceremonies from the Daylight-Twilight High School in June 2008, an audience member praised her speech, suggesting that she should run for public office. Prather, an adult student who began taking classes at the James Kerney Campus (JKC) of Mercer County Community College that same fall, may indeed get there one day.

Prather has been selected for NEW Leadership™ New Jersey, a six-day residential program to be held at Rutgers University in June. Presented by the Center for American Women and Politics of the Eagleton Institute of Politics, it teaches college women the skills to become effective leaders in politics, public policy and public service.

Prather is excited about the opportunity to meet other students from around the state and to learn from women leaders. "I am hoping to develop my leadership skills to give back to my community and my children," she said. She also hopes to learn the art of influencing others politically in an effort to help women overcome social, emotional and financial obstacles.

Barbara Jefferson, assistant dean at the James Kerney Campus, has watched Prather blossom since she began her studies at Mercer. "Pam is highly motivated, outgoing and always willing to help someone. She is respected by students and staff alike," Jefferson said. Adds registrar Margarita Leahy, who is Prather's work study supervisor in the Student Affairs Office, "Pam's contributions as a leader on our campus include her ability to listen and her desire to create a better environment for everyone."

Prather is pursuing her Liberal Arts degree at Mercer, majoring in psychology. She is enthusiastic about her college experience thus far. "It's been nothing but good for me. Having been out of school for a long time, I didn't have much education and I didn't think I was capable. Professors here go above and beyond. I feel like I have been taken under their wing."

Prather is giving back too. She is president of the JKC Student Activities Board and has served as the JKC liaison with Mercer's West Windsor Campus. She has taken on leadership roles in a variety of college events. She also volunteers in the prison system as a Bible study teacher and notes that her experience with prisoners has, in some ways, mirrored her own life, "when someone took the time to see my potential and fostered my development to achieve more."

With three children, Prather has a personal cheering section. When she earned her high school diploma, she recalls her daughter crying. "And when I earn my degree from Mercer, I'll be crying too," Prather says. She expects to finish her associate degree next year and then continue her studies to earn her bachelor's degree.

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