Director’s Message—Student Success Stories with Anton McFadden

Welcome to our new series, “Student Success Stories,” where we highlight students’ journeys who have made significant strides in their education and careers through community college. Today, we feature Anton McFadden, a community college graduate with an inspiring story. 


You can learn more about Anton at this LinkedIn profile here.

Jared Ashcroft: Anton, can you give us a quick background about yourself and your educational experiences?

Anton McFadden: I graduated high school in 2013 and started at the Community College of Philadelphia in 2015, majoring in Cellular Molecular Biology. It took me seven years due to my desire to gain extensive research experience. My first job was as a lab assistant at the college, and now I’m pursuing my bachelor’s in biology at Cheyney University with plans for a PhD.

Jared Ashcroft: Why did you choose to start at a community college?

Anton McFadden: The financial feasibility and the personal attention at the Community College of Philadelphia made it an ideal choice. It provided a supportive environment with many resources and partnerships.

Jared Ashcroft: Have your academic and career goals changed since starting at the community college?

Anton McFadden: Yes, somewhat. While my ultimate goal was always a PhD, the community college illuminated additional pathways and connected me with people who supported my aspirations.

Jared Ashcroft: Who at the Community College of Philadelphia supported your academic progress?

Anton McFadden: Professor Linda Gerz offered me a job in the chemistry lab, which was pivotal. Other supportive professors included Professor Edward Miskiel, Dr. Catherine Malele, and Dr. Kerri Armstrong, who encouraged me to pursue higher education.

Jared Ashcroft: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your time at CCP?

Anton McFadden: The network of supportive peers and faculty was invaluable. Graduating and honoring the support of my professors, family, and friends was the proudest moment of my life.

Jared Ashcroft: Can you share a memorable experience at CCP?

Anton McFadden: Carrying out experiments and learning to think critically like a researcher was very rewarding. Adapting to different courses and excelling in them was also a significant achievement.

Jared Ashcroft: What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?

Anton McFadden: Financial challenges were significant, but scholarships and my job in the chem lab helped. Understanding coursework was also challenging, but office hours and support from professors made a big difference.

Jared Ashcroft: What extracurricular activities were you involved in?

Anton McFadden: I was part of the International Students Association, which raised awareness about international students’ challenges. I also worked as a cleanroom assistant in the nanotechnology center.

Jared Ashcroft: How did the MNT-CURN program benefit you?

Anton McFadden: The networking opportunities were crucial. The program exposed me to various fields and helped me develop valuable skills through interaction with professionals and peers.

Jared Ashcroft: What advice would you give to new or prospective community college students?

Anton McFadden:

  1. Don’t give up.
  2. Take the first step, and everything else will fall into place.
  3. Communicate with your professors and peers, and utilize available resources and support.

Jared Ashcroft: What are your plans, and how did CCP prepare you for them?

Anton McFadden: I plan to pursue a PhD after completing my bachelor’s at Cheyney University. The confidence, skills, and training I received at CCP were instrumental in preparing me for this journey.

Jared Ashcroft: Thank you, Anton, for sharing your inspiring journey with us. Your story is a testament to the value of community college education and its impact on one’s career and personal growth.

If you would like to learn more about MNT-EC or Nanotechnology or ways that community colleges are making a difference, please contact me directly here.