Josie Albrecht: #CommunityCollegeBecause it encourages forward thinking, cultural appreciation, and success

Stasia Lopez's picture

Josie Albrecht graduated from CCAC with her Associate of Arts degree in Psychology in May 2017. Her “home campus” was Allegheny Campus, but she became familiar with North and South campuses through the Honors Program and other student leadership activities. After CCAC, she transferred to Chatham University, and completed both her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (2018) and a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology (2020).

Josie Albrecht: #CommunityCollegeBecause it encourages forward thinking, cultural appreciation, and success

How did you choose your major? What motivated you to choose that field/profession? 
I transferred to CCAC after a semester at an intensive music conservatory, so I originally thought I wanted to be a musician. I love connecting with people on a deeper level, and music was my gateway to do that. Once at CCAC, I took a psych class or two to fill general requirements, and completely fell in love with studying about how we react to our environments and experiences. Towards the end of my associate’s degree, I decided on counseling because I wanted to directly help people heal themselves, and this was the best path to do just that.

What did you enjoy about attending CCAC? Any memorable moment to share? 
I am so thankful for my experience at CCAC. I primarily grew up in environments that lacked inclusivity, diversity, and an appreciation for other perspectives. CCAC provided me with an environment, not only of acceptance and inclusivity, but that encouraged and challenged us to think about issues in our local community and on a global level. I loved the way I could engage in these learning moments at CCAC, but it was also SO fun too! Some favorite moments: The STAR Awards (big awards event that I had the honor of hosting two years in a row!), traveling to Nashville for PTK’s annual convention, and laughing until I cried multiple days a week with my friends in Student Life.

How involved were you at CCAC? Did you study abroad? Did you have internships or Co-Ops? Clinicals and/or practicums? Were you a part of any clubs, sports, or extracurriculars?  
Being involved in Student Life at CCAC made my experience worthwhile. My favorite role on campus was as the Lead Ambassador of the Student Ambassadors. I was able to help the Director of Student Life organize trainings and events for our group of ambassadors to be able to give tours, help out with campus events and student orientations, and speak confidently about Student Life at CCAC. We had such a tight knit group and I walked away with some lifelong friends. I was also the Officer of Scholarship for Phi Theta Kappa, Vice President of Student Government, and Treasurer for Psi Beta. All of these roles came with responsibilities that taught me valuable skills and lessons that I still use in my jobs today –and also came with an unforgettable experience and awesome people!

Josie Albrecht: #CommunityCollegeBecause it encourages forward thinking, cultural appreciation, and success

Did any of these experiences lead you into realizing your passions for work and career? 
Yes! I love working with college populations, which I learned when I was working in Student Life at CCAC. That encouraged me to apply for a graduate assistantship as a Success Coach at Chatham. I was able to work with first and second year students— helping them transition to college, plan for the future, and make decisions about their education. I also had the opportunity to plan programs, start a new organization, and even teach a class. I don’t think I would have had the same level of experience and confidence for this role, if it weren’t for my leadership roles at CCAC.

What skills did you gain that you could take into a workplace? 
Public speaking (and I previously hated it), planning and executing events, facilitating meetings and groups, problem solving, organizational skills, interpersonal communication, and so much more!

What are you hoping to do next? What would you like to do professionally? 
I just graduated with my Masters back in May, so I am on the job hunt! My research and clinical interests lie in gender-based violence prevention and working with survivors of trauma. I would love to continue working as a therapist, serving survivors by helping them process their trauma, developing healthy coping skills, and build the life that they want. I can also see myself developing programs that involve talking to kids and young adults about healthy relationships and sex education.

Josie Albrecht: #CommunityCollegeBecause it encourages forward thinking, cultural appreciation, and success

How do you manage stress (most especially during these uncertain times)? 
Even as a therapist, we have to work towards self-care, too! To manage my stress, I like to engage in activities that help me ground myself— like yoga, journaling, therapy, cooking or baking, and listening to music or watching Netflix. Yoga is definitely my number one! I feel like I am my best self when I can get into my body and out of my stressful thoughts.

What do you want prospective college students to know—what advice do you have for them? 
Take advantage of all of the resources you have in front of you (if not because they are FANTASTIC resources, also because you’ll probably have to pay for them eventually!). Make connections with your professors and classmates. Human connection is so underrated, and I think we are beginning to notice that as we continue to remain socially distant. And most importantly, be yourself!

Who inspires you and why? Do you have any mentors or people of influence in your life? 
Tarana Burke, creator the MeToo movement. Michelle Obama, queen and genius. Brené Brown, one of my many inspirations for becoming the best counselor I can be. My mom, for teaching me that women can be strong AND soft, and that celebrations should always include margaritas.

Anything else you’d like for us to know? 
I wish more people would choose CCAC! Although I’m biased, it truly is the best option on the table :)

#CommunityCollegeBecause it encourages forward thinking with a growth-mindset, appreciation for all cultures and identities, and praise for all students to succeed in the way they want to!

Josie Albrecht: #CommunityCollegeBecause it encourages forward thinking, cultural appreciation, and success


Read more stories, and why community college is so important, on #CommunityCollegeBecause:




Stasia Lopez is the Global Education Editor for Wandering Educators and is also a Director of Career Services at the Community College of Allegheny County. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University in 2013 and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Robert Morris University. Stasia is passionate about international education, travel, college to career topics and loves working on a college campus. She’s lived in four different U.S. states (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and also studied and lived abroad in Rome, Italy. Stasia lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, Fernando, precious daughter, Maya, and playful kitty-cat Zorro.

All photos courtesy and copyright Josie Albrecht