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Giving Back to Make the Future Brighter for Others

December, 2020
  • QCC 2018 graduate and PTK alumnae Cristina Picozzi
    QCC 2018 graduate and PTK alumnae Cristina Picozzi

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alumnae Cristina Picozzi (2018 General Studies -Public Health) has never forgotten the community that made her feel included. The adult learner PTK graduate found her calling and her people, thanks to QCC and its PTK Honor Society.

Recently, Ms. Picozzi reached out to PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman to ask how she could help QCC students and their families give back to a community that had given so much to her. Through her philanthropic outreach, she was able to pay for two PTK memberships for students who could not afford to pay the membership dues.  

“If we all do our part and use our privilege to support those around us, we can make tomorrow a bit better,” she said.

When contacted by the Guardian newsletter, Ms. Picozzi shared a bit of her own personal journey, which eventually led her to QCC.

What was your major at QCC and where did you go afterwards?

Like many QCC students, I was an adult learner when I studied public health at QCC. I had started my career in higher education fundraising, but my personal health journey steered me to take the leap and help others in a different way. At the time going back to school made sense, so that I could truly affect change. Today, I am a certified health coach and personal trainer, but I also have a master’s in nonprofit management.

Since completing my degree at QCC, I’ve focused on continuing to build my business as a health coach and personal trainer, using a public health framework. I partnered with the Town of Hudson offering workshops on nutrition and exercise last summer, and presented at Baystate Medical Center before the pandemic. This year, I started working as a health coach for a start-up along with my own business. I’m also finishing my prerequisites to apply for a Master of Public Health, concentrating in dietetics.

I know you were a part of PTK when you were at QCC. How was this helpful to you?

Everyone in PTK comes from all backgrounds and it is a great community that I believed I was lacking at the time. Bonnie and the PTK members quickly got me involved and helped me create the connections I wanted while being back at school.

Why did you decide to donate to PTK and help other students?

Like I mentioned, my background is higher education fundraising. My role as a fundraiser was specifically to bring in money for scholarships. Often we talk about how important college is, but only recently has there been more conversation about the cost and how that can create barriers. While I’ve worked hard, I know that I have privileges that others don’t. My hope by supporting students in this way is that there is one less barrier in their way as they focus on their future.

What were some of the important takeaways you got from attending QCC and being a part of PTK?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re absolutely encouraged to work hard, but it’s also OK to speak up and get to know your professors so they can help you when you’re stuck. They want to help you, if you’re willing to do the work too.

There are also staff members like Bonnie who are invested in you and want to see you succeed, but they can’t do it for you.

What would you tell someone who was considering attending QCC?

College is what you make of it. It’s understandable that adult learners and students who support their families don’t feel like they can get involved, but there is something for everyone. If you ask for help, if you create those connections, there is a family here at QCC to support you in tough times.