Delaware County Community College student Frederick “Freddie” Shegog of Drexel Hill participated recently in a panel discussion during the National Communication Association conference in Baltimore.

The panel, which was chaired by Delaware County Community College Communication Studies Professor Danamarie Gallagher, was titled, “Teaching the Students We Have, Not the Students We Wish We Had.”

“Freddie was an articulate, authentic and passionate voice for community college students,” said Gallagher of Shegog, a Communication Studies major.

Shegog also is a recipient of the 2019 Rose Tree-Media Optimist Award, as well as one of 207 Phi Theta Kappa honor society members nationwide named 2019 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars, an honor that includes a $1,000 scholarship.

Shegog is well known at Delaware County Community College. Despite a decade of alcohol abuse and time spent homeless, he has transformed himself into an honors student and today, as a motivational speaker, is on a mission to help others combat substance use disorder and to change the way colleges serve students in recovery.

Recently, Gary Tennis, president and chief executive officer of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, personally tapped Shegog to assist with the Model State Collegiate Recovery Act.

“Freddie Shegog delivers a real-life-based message of hope, inspiration, and recovery. His presentation pushes back powerfully against the hopelessness and despair that mark the disease of drug and alcohol addiction,” says Tennis.

Given his background and passion, Shegog was a natural fit for the Baltimore panel discussion. The title for the discussion came from a December 2018 commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, a higher education trade publication, in which Temple University Sociology Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab and Jesse Stommel of the University of Mary Washington in Virginia say that American college students are the most overburdened and under-supported in American history.

Goldrick-Rab’s commentary, along with her research and Professor Gallagher’s own experiences in the classroom, prompted the creation of the panel.

Goldrick-Rab is founder of the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice and is best known for her innovative research on food and housing insecurity in higher education, and for her work on making public higher education free.

Shegog was one of several students who participated in the panel, which included undergraduate and graduate students. The panelists were asked to ponder questions such as, “What aspect of college life were you most unprepared for?”, “If colleges were going to invest in one thing that would help students be more successful, what would that one thing be?”, and “Do you think faculty members understand what today’s college students need in the classroom?”

The panel discussion was designed to illuminate the unique challenges faced by today’s college students and ways in which professors can better facilitate learning, said Gallagher.

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