Contact: Cherie Ronayne
Office of Institutional Communications
cronayne [at] qcc.mass.edu
Worcester, MA – May 7, 2014 – QCC student Jodi Theresa Christian has been selected from a group of outstanding Massachusetts public college and university graduates to be honored by the Department of Higher Education at a State House ceremony on May 8, 2014. 29 Who Shine honorees are chosen for this award based on their academic achievements and record of student leadership and/or community service. Ms. Christian, from Southbridge, is a Criminal Justice major, graduating this month who has excelled in academics, demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities as well as a long term volunteer commitment to area Veterans.
Ms. Christian is a Navy veteran who served from June 1992 to June 2000 and was part of the first wave of enlisted females sent to the fleet. She earned the rank of Petty Officer 3rd class as an electrical engineer. After an honorable discharge, Ms. Christian enrolled at QCC based on a rare coincidence as she completed the application paperwork; a memorial bench at QCC’s Worcester location dedicated to 1953 Worcester Tornado victims is dated the same as her mother’s passing. Attending QCC gave Ms. Christian an outlet to turn the sad date positive.
At QCC, Ms. Christian quicky established herself as a stellar student, earning a cumulative 3.5 GPA necessary for membership in QCC’s International Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). Her leadership abilities stood out as she took the role of PTK’s Vice President of Leadership, guiding the chapter to the highest development level available within the organization, for the first time in QCC history. During her tenure she also initiated a Facebook page that implemented PTK’s Leadership Development course.
Ms. Christian is no stranger to overcoming adversity, however. While at QCC, she spent over two years as a homeless, domestic abuse survivor with two teen-aged sons. During this period, she managed a full course load along with PTK chapter leadership responsibilities. As a result of her situation, she was inspired to begin a basic PC course for homeless, domestic abuse survivors at the Worcester Public Library for the Central Mass Housing Alliance. Her teaching strategy includes constant encouragement and imparting the value of regaining independence for survivors. Ms. Christian also helps feed the homeless on Thanksgiving and has done so for Boston-area veterans for the past 30 years. This year she organized 50 members of PTK to volunteer for the Worcester Veteran’s Shelter on Grove Street for Thanksgiving. She is always aware of her roots and continues to feel a responsibility to give back as a way to repay the community.
In addition to PTK International Honor Society, she has been named to the Psi Beta National Honor Society in Psychology for Community Colleges and to the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team as a Silver Scholar. Ms. Christian has been accepted at numerous private colleges and public universities, choosing to attend Bay Path College to pursue a degree in Computer Forensics.
“Ms. Christian’s story embodies the importance of having access to high-quality, affordable public higher education,” said Governor Patrick. “I am pleased to honor her and her efforts with the 29 Who Shine award.”
The 29 Who Shine Awards recognizes 29 public college and university students for their academic achievements and civic contributions to the Commonwealth. Each of Massachusetts’ 29 public college and university campuses selected its own student honoree for the 29 Who Shine Awards based on criteria established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.
Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.