The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that Community College of Allegheny County student Erin McClain has been named the 2021 Honors Student of the Year in the Two-Year Institution category by the Northeast Regional Honors Council (NRHC).
The NRHC annually recognizes two students as Student of the Year—one from a two-year institution and one from a four-year institution—who have demonstrated scholastic excellence and have made a significant impact on their honors program.
McClain is graduating this spring with an Associate of Science in Mathematics & Sciences with a 4.0 GPA and an Honors degree. She has distinguished herself by earning 18 credits in Honors with a 100 percent average in nearly all six of her Honors courses. Her research project, “Advocacy Beyond Earth Day: Persistent Pollution, Poverty and Public Health,” was selected for presentation at the 2020 NRHC Conference in Albany, N.Y., and it was also presented at the virtual conference in April. She has been accepted by Duquesne University where she looks forward to continuing her studies in physics.
“Erin is an exceptional student and embodies the finest qualities of a servant leader. She is intelligent, responsible, creative, socially-engaged and committed to the community and to giving back,” said Honors Program Director and English Professor Julia Fennell, in a release. “Her bright disposition and belief in the potential for good overcome obstacles that may cloud the possibilities from others’ eyes. Erin meets the many responsibilities with which she has been entrusted with professionalism, creativity, dedication and exceptional skill.
McClain volunteered as a CCAC Student Ambassador for 2020-2021 and as a Student Member of the Conduct Hearing Board. She is a reliable contributor to service projects in Honors, helping to organize the Ronald McDonald House Leadership project and contributing to the used book sale for the Honors India Study Abroad trip and the Homeless Children’s Educational Foundation. Her leadership role has shone brightest in service to Phi Theta Kappa, the international two-year college honor society. Currently serving as co-president of the Alpha Iota Eta chapter of PTK, McClain was named Hall of Honor Officer at the PTK Middle States Convention in March. PTK at South Campus has been strengthened under her leadership, even during the challenges presented by COVID-19. In cooperation with the college administration, she organized the PTK College Project, whereby the chapter created Student Success Quick Guides to help students succeed and negotiate the college’s shift to remote instruction during the pandemic. The project was named the second most Distinguished College Project at the Middle States Convention.
McClain’s volunteerism extends into the community with a long and impressive history of giving back. She is a two-time AmeriCorps National Service alumna, and she currently serves on the Board of Directors of Preservation Pittsburgh, a local historic preservation nonprofit for which she has volunteered since 2017. She also serves on the Philanthropy Committee of the Mt. Lebanon Junior Women’s Club, a charitable nonprofit devoted to supporting local women and children. Additionally, she is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Junior League of Pittsburgh where she served as treasurer. Her extensive training in volunteerism includes fundraising, treasury functions, communications, capacity-building and nonprofit organizational development.