SJU Welcomes First-Year ICC Scholars to Campus

Thursday, October 12, 2017

by Chris Fastiggi '18

Saint Joseph’s is pleased to announce that six Ignatian College Connection scholars have joined the University this semester as first-year students. Each scholar will receive eight semesters of full tuition support, awarded for academic achievement and participation in the ICC program as high school students.

The 2021 cohort of ICC scholars include:

  • Jessica Atoo, an information technology major from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, who attended Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
  • Sydney Bennett, a biology major from Philadelphia, who attended Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
  • Stacey Brevil, a criminal justice major from Philadelphia, who attended Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School
  • Noah Gansallo, a computer science major from Philadelphia, who attended Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia
  • Asa Perez, an accounting major from Philadelphia, who attended West Catholic Preparatory High School in Philadelphia
  • Angel Velazquez, a biology major from Philadelphia, who attended St. Joseph’s Preparatory School

Founded in 2004 by then-President Timothy R. Lannon S.J., and George Bur S.J., then-rector of the University’s Jesuit Community, the ICC gives high school students of educationally diverse backgrounds the opportunity to learn about the college experience and Saint Joseph’s through yearlong programming held on campus. These programs include SAT prep, college application assistance and general information about higher education. The program benefits many students who may be first-generation college applicants. Currently, there are 20 ICC scholars enrolled at SJU, and, in total, there are 51 ICC alumni.

Over the summer, ICC participants work with Saint Joseph’s faculty and staff who acquaint them with the University, campus life and college-level academics. Jennifer Dessus, director of Inclusion and Diversity Access Programs, leads the ICC program. “In the summer program, we push the students to learn about the rigors of college coursework,” Dessus says. “Our goal is to give them an accurate picture of the higher education experience.”

After being accepted to the University on the merits of their academic achievements, Dessus says to qualify for the scholarship, the candidates engage in a long and challenging interview process with current scholars, University faculty and administrators, and ICC alumni.

“I committed early to SJU two years ago because of the ICC summer program,” says Jessica Attoo ’21. “It was easy to learn about campus through this experience, and it prepared me well for college life.”  

“The ICC program is a family,” adds Dessus. “Many ICC alumni who graduated from or still attend Saint Joseph’s pay the program forward by staying involved with the high school students.”

Malcolm Odum ’20, a current ICC scholar still works with the high school program. “Around SAT time, I participate in tutoring sessions for upcoming high school seniors and juniors, and I also help the instructors if they need anything,” he says. “It’s a good way for me to give back to the program that gave me the opportunity to attend a great school.”



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