Abigail Petrosky, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator
Celebrating Women in the Workplace at NPRC
All throughout Women’s History month, we have profiled some of the amazing women making history at Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (NPRC). We conclude our special tribute with an incredible woman who usually is behind the scenes and charged with telling the story of NPRC, Abigail (Abbi) Petrosky, NPRC’s Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator.
Abbi, a native of Elk County, started her higher education career journey as a peer mentor at California University of Pennsylvania. She later served as a peer mentor coordinator and orientation leader at CalU of PA. Before finding her way to NPRC, Abbi worked at Penn State Fayette in various roles, including roles in academic affairs with tutoring, advising, and career services, and working with student-athletes as an academic coach. While completing her master’s degree at CalU, Abbi decided it was time to come home. She learned about NPRC from her mother and applied for a Student Success Specialist position. While that role did not work out, she was presented with another unique opportunity. In 2018, she was offered and accepted the administrative assistant position to NPRC’s Founding President, a position she held until moving into the role of Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator.
“No matter what role I serve, I take my positions very seriously because I am setting a precedent for those who come after me,” says Abbi, who credits her mother for helping her find her way back to northern Pennsylvania. “It is essential for me to create a structure and foundation that also makes the lives of those I work with easier.” From administrative assistants for multiple departments at Penn State Fayette to her current role, Abbi says the work is never about “her,” it is about helping the college community’s greater good.
“Michael Jackson said it best: ‘I am starting with the man in the mirror,” says Abbi when asked about her leadership philosophy. “Being a good leader begins with self-leadership. If you cannot lead yourself well, you cannot be a leader worth following.” The best advice she ever received in her career was “to not be afraid to ask questions.” Asking questions is the only way a person can learn and grow. “Sometimes, I still find myself feeling like the toddler who constantly asks, ‘but why,’ and I have grown to be okay with that. When we stop asking questions, we are saying that we are okay with settling. We are okay with the status quo. When we ask questions, it presents opportunities for growth, creativity, and even humility.”
While in college, Abbi battled depression. “It seemed like everything was against me,” she said. “It was not until I had a priest sit down with me while I was eating alone in the campus cafeteria and asked if he could pray for me that I began to see the world. Interactions, circumstances, and relationships have created our entire social order, and that encounter allowed me to open my eyes to the strength of compassion. I sought help.” She encourages anyone reading this article who is dealing with depression or any challenges to seek help. In many ways, her role at NPRC allows her to help students be the best versions of themselves, guide them to education or workforce training, and tell the community about the many positive stories that result.
Abbi strongly believes that post-secondary education is crucial to the communities we serve. “We see our communities impacted at-large from the COVID pandemic and businesses that want to grow but may not believe our communities have the workforce to support the growth. I think our rural communities are extraordinary because they are often so invested in their success and want to progress. However, this commitment to progress is not always met when opportunities aren’t immediately available or needed to move forward. With NPRC and our other local education entities, higher education can work to partner and provide the necessary opportunities to stimulate growth and create economic development, develop a trained workforce, and create working opportunities that either keep our people here or bring them back to the areas where they were born and raised.”
“Some of our region’s greatest advocates are those who have roots, and I am very proud to have been raised in Elk County, gained some life experience elsewhere, and am now back to help my region grow with post-secondary education opportunities,” Abbi adds.
Abbi leaves us with this last message: “Although it sounds cliché, it’s been my motivation for years: Grow through what you go through. My professional history is very much what I would consider bright and shiny, where my personal history is not so much. Even though in some cases it took me years to get to this place and failed so many times along the way, in both the dark and shining moments I learned something. Always look for clarity, never stop learning about yourself or others, and think of every experience, positive or negative, as an opportunity. Life has a way of hardening us, and it’s easy to give in to that, even just for a period of time, but I challenge you to allow yourself the patience and grace to stay open, to stay understanding, to be compassionate, to forgive even yourself, and be a better version of yourself today than yesterday.”
Thank you for everything you do for the community and NPRC, Abbi. As Abbi’s direct supervisor, I enjoyed writing this article and bringing forward a voice that is usually telling someone else’s story. We at NPRC are delighted to bring you Abbi’s story and the rest of these phenomenal womens’ stories at NPRC. Happy Women’s History Month to all of our community’s fantastic, history-making women, and thank you for allowing NPRC to serve your higher education and workforce training needs.