Delaware County Community College student Sameena Elkhashab, a Broomall resident, was recognized by the Phi Theta Kappa honor society of two-year colleges and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges for her academic achievement and community volunteerism.
Elkhashab was among 45 scholars from Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges honored on April 4 at the annual banquet of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges at the Hilton in Harrisburg. The scholars were named by their colleges to the All-Pennsylvania Academic Team, which requires students maintain at least a 3.5 grade point average and be on track to graduate with an associate’s degree.
All-Pennsylvania scholars are eligible to receive a full-tuition scholarship for up to two years at one of the 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).
Elkhashab, a single mother with three children who escaped from a difficult marriage, is studying to become a social worker. After graduating from DCCC, she plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work at a four-year school. She then wants to pursue a master’s degree in social work and become a social worker, helping foreigners who suffer from abuse.
As a student at DCCC, Elkhashab learned self-confidence and to not fear looking people in the eyes when she talks to them, a practice considered taboo for many women in her native India.
“Even though I was raised here, I was still taught the traditions of India, where mostly everything is kept quiet and women have to endure bad, abusive relationships,” she said.
“I want all people, whether foreign or not, who are in tough situations to come to me for help. I want to be the guiding light for them. I want them to know they are not alone in this situation, that even if their culture and traditions are different than those of the western world, they don’t have to live in a bad situation. That there is help out there and I can guide them to it.”
Elkhashab has a 3.8 GPA and works full-time as a teacher’s assistant with special-needs students at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia.
She also volunteers for the nonprofit Zubaida Foundation’s soup kitchen in Yardley and at the Zakat Foundation of America (a U.S.-based, Muslim-run charity), contributing and distributing school supplies and coats to children and adults in need.