Joseph Oaster '89 Receives Wong Moss Outstanding Alumni Award

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(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA) Delaware County Community College alumnus and Secane resident Joseph J. Oaster Jr. ’89 is this year’s Wong Moss Outstanding Alumni Award winner. Oaster was selected based on his outstanding professional accomplishments and personal achievements and will be presented with the award at the College’s 45th anniversary celebration at Harrah’s Chester on Friday, September 28, 2012.

The Wong Moss Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes distinguished alumni for their outstanding professional, community and educational accomplishments. It was created by the late Barbara Wong Moss, a former College trustee, and her son John in honor of her father, a Chinese immigrant who believed in the value of education.   

“To have been selected to receive this award makes me feel proud, but at the same time so blessed,” says Oaster, who has led a distinguished career in both law enforcement and education, and remains committed to serving his community. In addition to his work at the University of Pennsylvania Health System as a Senior Education Analyst, Oaster is an instructor and curriculum designer for the Liberal Studies department at Harcum College. There, he helped create the school’s first criminal justice independent study and internship programs and has taught everything from bioterrorism to sociology. 

In addition, he has taught at all levels, including middle and high school, and has volunteered to help adult students prepare for the GED test. He also started a program at a homeless shelter in Philadelphia to assist adults in literacy and preparation for the GED and worked on a pilot project with the Philadelphia School District called Parent University. The program, which was featured on KYW Newsradio, provided parents with opportunities to pursue professional certificate and college degree attainment, while also giving them the skills and resources needed to support their children’s education. At its onset, the program included 50 parents before blossoming to more than 1,000 participants.

As a law enforcement professional, Oaster spent 11 years working as a dispatcher for the Delaware County 911 system, where he worked full-time while earning an associate degree at the College. In 2000, he was recruited by the Radnor Township police and spent five years working as a dispatcher there. He’s also volunteered for the Folcroft Fire Company for more than 25 years, and in October, received lifetime membership in recognition of his service.

Oaster earned an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from Delaware County Community College and a Bachelor’s of Science in Education and a Master of Education in Elementary Education from West Chester University. Currently, he is pursuing a Doctor of Education with a focus on Adult Education and Literacy at Walden University.

He has been married to his wife Robin for more than 16 years, and is the father of three children: twins Abby and Joseph James III (JJ), both 11, and Hannah, 10. Their daughter Abby has had numerous medical issues and has been an inpatient at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) at least 66 times and has spent 693 days in the hospital as an inpatient. Oaster and his wife have lectured on and been panels members and advocates for special needs families at CHOP. He has also spoken at national conferences on teaching the siblings of the special needs child. Oaster also enjoys soccer, and has been a youth soccer coach for the last eight years. 

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