Author: Larry Hlavenka

Commencement Caps Students’ Success

Members of the class of 2017.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The temperature may have soared into the 90s, but the Bergen Community College class of 2017 didn’t break a sweat at commencement.

More than 2,000 students completed their goals of earning a college degree May 18 at MetLife Stadium – the College’s second commencement ceremony at the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets. Bergen has ranked No. 1 in New Jersey for associate degree graduates for three consecutive years.

Led by valedictorian Marilyn Heiner, of Teaneck, a 71-year-old widow who earned a 4.0 GPA and attended 180 straight home and away Giants games during the 1970s and 80s with her deceased husband Don, she reflected on his support of her education.

“I have scored the touchdown of my Super Bowl,” she said, “and my husband has a sky view seat.”

In a unique moment at the College’s 48th annual graduation, President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., presented Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco III with an honorary degree, officially making him part of the class of 2017 as well.

Former College trustee and current Bergen County Freeholder Germaine Ortiz delivered the keynote address, making her the first freeholder in county history to do so. During her remarks, she stressed unity.

“In the current days of wall building, I believe we need to see more bridge building,” she said. “We should find more of what we have in common rather than emphasize what makes us different.”

Graduates will now transfer to some of the nation’s best four-year colleges and universities, while others will immediately enter the workforce. Bergen alumni rank No. 11 in the U.S. for mid-career salaries, according to PayScale.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Win-Win: Bergen Business Students Repeat

PARAMUS, N.J. – For the second year in a row, a team of five Bergen Community College students won the New Jersey County College Case Competition at Rutgers Business School, placing first among seven peer institutions.

The team consisted of Dana Maloney, of Wyckoff; Antony Manyeki, of Carlstadt; Max Morganstein, of Goshen, New York; Anthony Penna, of Garfield; and Oleksandra Shaposhnikova, of Garfield. Adjunct instructor Albert Cupo led Bergen’s team with help from professor Lisa Mayer during the competition. Representatives from sponsor M&T Bank also helped coach the students at the April 7 event.

The students competed against entrants from County College of Morris, Essex County College, Hudson County College, Ocean County College, Passaic County College, Sussex County College and Union County College.

The 2017 case required students to propose how a fictitious social media platform could increase its revenue and continue to grow. Students were asked to examine the company’s competition, make financial projections and identify the biggest business challenges ahead. Days prior to the event, Bergen’s team practiced their presentation before a handful of bank executives. In addition to a critique leading up to the competition, the team followed the lead of students Manyeki and Penna, who also competed last year.

While the teams presented to a panel of judges comprised of Rutgers faculty and M&T Bank executives, other participants attended sessions on team building, special talks and campus tours throughout the day.

Community college transfer students account for half of Rutgers Business School-Newark’s enrollment.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Student Helps Make Hometown “Stigma-Free”

Alexandra Frontin

PARAMUS, N.J. – What began as a class project by Bergen Community College student Alexandra Frontin, developed into an opportunity for East Rutherford to become the latest Bergen County municipality to join the “Stigma-Free” mental health awareness initiative. The World Health Organization ranks mental health disorders as the leading cause of disability in the United States and Canada, affecting more than 61.5 million Americans each year.

Stigma-Free municipalities commit to supporting residents with mental health resources while encouraging them to seek help without judgment or shame.

For Frontin, a health sciences major, her interest in making East Rutherford Stigma-Free stemmed from a desire to support her fellow students.

“I was hoping to get people to realize it’s OK to talk about mental health,” she said.

After watching neighboring towns Lyndhurst and Rutherford make the Stigma-Free pledge, Frontin submitted her plans to professor Melissa Salort, who asks students to complete a community health project as part of her Community Health course.

“When Alexandra explained her interest in mental health awareness, I immediately thought of the great work done by the Stigma-Free Initiative and suggested she look into it,” Salort said. “To have the opportunity to take an assignment that begins in the classroom and make lasting change in the community is exactly what the Community Health course is about – taking education and purposing it for the greater good.”

From there, Frontin devised a strategy – including contacting East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella. In order for the borough to become Stigma-Free, the governing body would need to approve a resolution. They passed the measure this spring.

The daughter of two emergency medical technicians, Frontin, who plans to study surgical technology at the College once she completes general education requirements, remains eager to take the next step – working with borough officials to develop mechanisms for promoting the Stigma-Free pledge and the resources available to residents.

Paramus, home to the College’s main campus, became the county’s first Stigma-Free zone in 2013. Since then, governing bodies from more than 40 municipalities have passed resolutions pledging their cooperation in the initiative. County officials have done the same. The initiative began in Hoboken six years ago.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Bergen to Graduate 2,000+ at Commencement 2017

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Members of the class of 2016 participated in Bergen’s first commencement at MetLife Stadium.

Who: Bergen Community College

What: Commencement 2017

When: Thursday, May 18, 10 a.m.

Where: MetLife Stadium, 1 MetLife Stadium Drive, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Why: Approximately 2,000 graduates from Bergen, which has ranked No. 1 in New Jersey for associate degrees three years in a row, will become collegiate alumni this month. The College’s 48th annual graduation ceremony will feature Bergen County Freeholder Germaine Ortiz as the keynote speaker. She represents the first freeholder in county history to deliver the address.

The Bergen class of 2017 includes:

*Valedictorian Marilyn Heiner, of Teaneck, a 71-year-old widow who will earn an A.A.S. in early childhood education. Heiner, whose husband Don passed away suddenly in 2010 after 37 years of marriage, shares a connection with the commencement venue, MetLife Stadium, and the New York Giants, who play their home games at the facility. The valedictorian, a 4.0 student, attended 180 straight home and away Giants games with her husband in the 1970s and 80s before breaking the streak when she gave birth to her daughter Jennifer. Heiner estimates she has watched the Giants in-person approximately 300 times – including the first (1976) and last (2009) games at Giants Stadium and the first game at MetLife Stadium (2010).

*Daniela Liberato, of Lyndhurst, and Nadia Vaso, of Fort Lee, who represent two of only 55 U.S. community college students selected for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship – the nation’s top undergraduate transfer scholarship worth up to $40,000 per year. Liberato also became part of the 2017 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team through Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society of two-year institutions, where she was selected from 1,800 applicants. Vaso, who earned a 4.0 GPA and starred at volleyball, became the first Bergen student to win the 2015-16 John Stauff Female Scholar Athlete of the Year award and the NJCAA Pinnacle Academic Achievement award.

*Nikita Sharma Gyawali, of Wood-Ridge, who earned numerous awards through Phi Theta Kappa – including the regional distinguished member and hall of honor awards – and became part of the 2017 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team.

*Graduates who won national competitions – including the Rutgers Business School-Newark New Jersey County College Case Competition, which Bergen students won for the second consecutive year, and the outstanding position paper and outstanding delegation awards at the National Model United Nations conference.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Former Faculty Honored with Emeritus Rank

Bergen Community College held its 2017 Professor Emeritus Luncheon at Seasons in Washington Twp to honor three new inductees./ Russ DeSantis Photography and Video, LLC

Dorothy Altman, Ph.D., Kevin Sullivan and Jeanie Payne, Ph.D.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Three retired Bergen Community College faculty members have earned the rank of professor emeritus – an honor reserved for the institution’s most influential and impactful educators. Recognized during a May 5 luncheon, Dorothy Altman, Ph.D., Jeanie Payne, Ph.D., and Kevin Sullivan join 45 peers who have received the rank since its 1988 inception. A six-member committee of current faculty selects inductees based on recommendations from academic divisions.

Altman, of Upper Saddle River, began at Bergen as adjunct in 1973, teaching composition and literature courses until her 2015 retirement. During her career at the College, Altman led the School of Honors and also served as co-adviser of the “Labyrinth” literary magazine. She earned the 2009 NIOSD Award for Teaching Excellence.

Payne, of Brooklyn, New York, taught biology at Bergen, authoring the “Microbiological Applications” lab book among her citations. In addition to her work in the classroom, Payne also represented an ardent supporter of the biology club and the African-American student advisory committee.

Sullivan, of Pearl River, New York, served the institution for more than 40 years. During his tenure teaching history and sociology courses, Sullivan earned a Fulbright Fellowship and even served as a consultant for a television documentary on the Vietnam War.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Bergen Professor Takes Art Abroad

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Ethan Greenbaum’s work at Galerie Pact.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College art professor Ethan Greenbaum recently completed “Cold Frame,” his first international solo exhibit at Paris’ Galerie Pact. The exhibition featured mixed media works based on his walks traversing the alleys, streets and avenues of New York City.

“A lot of inspiration comes from the city where I find various moments of contradiction or strangeness that occur because of such dense spaces,” Greenbaum said.

Greenbaum, of Brooklyn, New York, took cues from Aaron Siskind, the late American artist known for his abstract architectural photography. Similar to Siskind’s work, Greenbaum’s hybrid process also draws references from buildings and surfaces. However, Greenbaum’s myriad snapshots of man-made objects – mainly taken with his smartphone – are a starting point for his mixed media works. Using industrial manufacturing equipment to transform his photos into 3D carvings made of plywood, acrylic sheets and countertop surfaces, Greenbaum creatively displayed varying points of view in his exhibition, such as the reflection of a building in a car window.

“Something I’ve always been interested in is photographing a subject matter in a way that makes it a little unfamiliar as well as a little more surreal, surprising and unusual in the way that it’s presented,” he said. “That’s the common connection.”

Prior to his solo exhibit, Greenbaum’s work was also on view in a group show at Stems Gallery in Brussels. He will return there in November for another solo exhibit at Super Dakota Gallery. Additionally, in March, Greenbaum’s work will be featured in a solo booth with New York’s Lyles & King Gallery at The Armory Show – a premier New York City art fair founded in 1994.

Greenbaum joined Bergen’s faculty in 2006 after earning a master of fine arts in painting/printmaking from the Yale University School of Art. His work has been featured nationally in exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Connecticut as well as internationally in Paris, Brussels and Italy. Among many awards and residencies, his most recent accomplishments include the Dieu Donne Workspace Program for emerging artists in New York and a nine-month studio residency program offered through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Greenbaum has twice served on panels at the College Art Association Conference and the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He is currently serving as a thesis advisor at the School of Visual Arts in New York and has participated in various visiting artist roles at colleges and universities located mainly throughout the East Coast.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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$164k in Scholarships Support Student Success

Bergen Community College held its Scholarship Awards event on the campus in Paramus on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. / Russ DeSantis Photography and Video, LLC

Donors such as Bergen Community College Foundation board member Philip and Kathleen Ciarco provided $163,875 for students.

PARAMUS, N.J. – The Bergen Community College Foundation awarded $163,875 in scholarships to 123 students during a May 3 ceremony at the institution’s main campus, providing critical financial support to help them continue toward earning a degree.

Students become eligible for scholarships by achieving various academic and demographic benchmarks assigned to each award. The Foundation leads the application and disbursement process, which has totaled nearly $20 million since its inception in 1982. Contributions to the Foundation can be made at tinyurl.com/GiveBergen or by calling (201) 447-7117.

Spring 2017 scholarship recipients, by hometown:

Andover

Geraldine Mae Lua – Delta Dental Foundation, Inc., $1,000

Belleville

Xaymaraliz Dumeng – Diana Oquendo MD Scholarship, $1,000

Bergenfield

Dawn Recuerdo – Helen Haber Fund, $500

Bogota

Rolando Flores – Michael J. Esposito Restricted Scholarship, $2,000

Carlstadt

Vincent Tattoli – PSE&G STEM Scholarship, $1,500

Nicolette Filippone – Southpole Foundation Scholarship, $1,500

Cliffside Park

Evelyn Navarro Salazar – Alumni Network BCC Scholarship, $1,000

Svetlana Balotska – Delta Dental Foundation, Inc., $1,000

Silvia Maresca – Dr. Richard Ciccone Endowed Scholarship, $1,500

Yenny Masmela – Leo Foundation Endowed Scholarship, $1,000

Michael Comas – Ombogo School Scholarship, $376

Sequioa Moran – Stephen Gold Memorial Scholarship, $500

Sibora  Peca – Steven & Lynn Novak Scholarship, $1,000

Daniella Naymeddin – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,000

Clifton

Takashi Yashiro – PSE&G STEM Scholarship, $1,500

Merve Tig – Seymour Lewis Biology Scholarship, $1,000

Kushal Swami – Verizon Scholarship, $1,000

Closter

Andressa Amaral Rafael – Dr. Bernard Casella Scholarship, $1,000

Maria El Haj – Holly Schepisi Scholarship, $500

Cresskill

Caroline Sabsoul Moreno – Ciarco Family Scholarship, $1,000

Jagerynn Verano – Prof. Robert Neil Ender Memorial Mathematics Scholarship, $3,000

Pamela Brignoni – Southpole Foundation Scholarship, $1,500

Denville Erica Garcia  – Delta Dental Foundation, Inc., $1,000

Dumont

Amanda-Rachel Garcia – Ciarco Family Scholarship, $1,000

East Rutherford

Doruk Aslan – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,000

Edgewater

Saori Kikuchi – SUEZ NJ Scholarship, $1,000

Elmwood Park

Kelly Nutile – Delta Dental Foundation, Inc., $1,000

Klaudia Chmura – Michael Orlando Memorial Scholarship, $500

Claudia Smagacz – Dr. Bernard Casella Scholarship, $1,000

Chinomso Kanu – Traphagen Family Scholarship, $1,500

Englewood

Joseph Bell – Michael J. Esposito Restricted Scholarship, $2,000

Rejare Reid – Ombogo School Scholarship, $879

Joseph Sanchez – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,500

Sara Grant – Southpole Foundation Scholarship, $1,500

Yookyeong Sim – Southpole Foundation Scholarship, $1,500

Fair Lawn

Natalie Tomakh – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,000

Matthew Khowong – Prof. Robert Neil Ender Memorial Computer Science Scholarship, $1,000

Tamar Eskenazi – Stephen Gold Memorial Scholarship, $500

Fairview

Doreta Biba – Anthony Schepisi Memorial Fund, $1,000

Fort Lee

June Cutrupi – Gourmet Dining Scholarship Fund – Hospitality, $2,000

Garfield

Jelena Melnichenko – Bogota Savings Bank Scholarship, $1,000

Alison Almiron – Dr. Bernard Casella Scholarship, $1,000

Isaac Reyes – Dr. Bernard Casella Scholarship, $1,000

Michael Villafranca – Ethel Burns Scholarship, $500

Fatbardha Kapo – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,000

Pedro Ugarte-Varon – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,000

Zhane Ball – Philip Begonja Memorial Foundation Scholarship, $2,500

Elda Pere – Prof. Robert Neil Ender Memorial Mathematics Scholarship, $3,000

Anthony Penna – Wilmington Trust, An M&T Company Scholarship, $1,000

Hackensack

Oswaldo Fernandez – Ciarco Family Scholarship, $1,000

Bryan Medal – David &May Bogen Scholarship, $1,000

Samuel Azner – David A. Gille Memorial Nursing Scholarship, $1,500

Juleen Reid – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,000

Georgina Reid – Paul David Walter Memorial Scholarship, $1,000

Tammy Woodard – R2D2 Scholarship, $1,500

Rayyan Islam – Wilmington Trust, An M&T Company Scholarship , $1,000

Hamberg

Andreanna Nordland – Suzanne “Pooh” Helff Fund, $2,000

Harrington Park

David Wang – B. Kaye Walter and Philip J. Ciarco Emerging CC Leadership Scholarship, $500

Hawthorne

Gabriela Correa – Gourmet Dining Scholarship Fund – Hospitality, $2,000

Hillsdale

Mary Mortensen – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,500

Liam Caruth – SUEZ NJ Scholarship, $1,000

Jersey City

Amine Ahmiri – Ethel Burns Scholarship, $500

Kearny

Mike Rodriguez – Alumni Network BCC Scholarship, $1,000

Lorena Iglesias – Dr. Bernard Casella Scholarship, $1,000

Erin Moran – Stryker Orthopaedics Restricted Scholarship, $1,500

Lodi

Armela Mahilaj – Ciarco Family Scholarship  , $1,000

Kayla Romero – College Club of Ridgewood, $1,000

Hetkumar Patel – Indian Americans of Paramus Scholarship  , $1,000

Anthony Horta – Michael J. Esposito Restricted Scholarship , $2,000

Remila Jasharllari – R2D2 Scholarship, $1,500

Sulaiman Sesay – Robert Hekemian Scholarship, $1,000

Nicole  Cacciatore – Southpole Foundation Scholarship, $1,500

Lyndhurst

Betania Martins DaCosta – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,500

Mahwah

Zachary Alba – Molly & Daniel Hekemian Scholarship, $850

Monroe, New York

Stephanie DeSilva – John MacQuaide Memorial Scholarship, $1,500

Moonachie

Amy Alexander – Dr. Bernard Casella Scholarship, $1,000

New Milford

Keanu Carbon – Hamm Family Scholarship, $1,000

Erna Kajayan – Reverend Carnig Antranik Hallajian Endowed Scholarship, $1,500

North Arlington

Lara Esteves-Teixeira  – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,000

North Bergen

Alexander Cuervo – Alumni Network BCC Scholarship, $1,000

North Haledon

Elton Ndreu – Red Fox Scholarship Fund, $1,000

Nutley

Ekaterina Knyazeva – Alumni Network BCC Scholarship, $1,000

Victoria Christopher – Dr. Richard Ciccone Endowed Scholarship, $1,500

Jesse Kent – PSE&G STEM Scholarship, $1,500

Hannah Benjamin – Verizon Scholarship, $1,000

Oakland

Lisa Marie Bioletti – William M. Orr Endowment, $1,500

Palisades Park

Lila Nikou – Ciarco Family Scholarship, $1,000

Elizabeth Ramirez – Dr. Bernard Casella Scholarship, $1,000

Stephanie Rim – Lakeland Bank Scholarship, $2,000

SeongYeol Park – Lester Bogen Fund Scholarship, $1,000

Tatenda Samakande – Molly & Daniel Hekemian Scholarship, $850

Paramus

Charles Barreto – Ciarco Family Scholarship, $1,000

Claudia Tona VillaCorta – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,000

Sihane Lita – Tolve Hospitality/Culinary Arts Scholarship, $1,000

Paterson

Ashley Viera – Ciarco Family Scholarship, $1,000

Ramapo

Shira Bunick – Delta Dental Foundation, Inc. , $1,000

Ramsey

David  Hunter – Meadowlands Scholarship for Historical Study, $500

Ridgefield

Hafsa Oksuz – Alumni Network BCC Scholarship, $1,000

Sung Bong Kim – Gourmet Dining Scholarship Fund – Hospitality, $2,000

Ridgewood

Roberta Gasparic – Audrey Stephan Endowed Nursing Scholarship, $1,250

Christina Brigliadoro – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,500

Ringwood

Anthony Ghattas – Dill Family Scholarship, $1,580

River Vale

Un Yung Kim – Maura Soehnlein Memorial Scholarship, $1,500

Rochelle Park

Shijil Philip – Stryker Orthopaedics Restricted Scholarship, $1,500

Rutherford

Jaclyn Fitzpatrick – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,000

Suffern, New York

Gail Fernandez, B. Kaye Walter and Philip J. Ciarco Emerging CC Leadership Scholarship, $500

Olena Yemtchuk, Delta Dental Foundation, Inc., $1,000

Teaneck

Kristine Kim – Ciarco Family Scholarship, $1,000

Maria Lancheros – David &May Bogen Scholarship, $1,000

Brycen Gaines – Jeremiah & Yolanda Ciancia Foundation Endowed, $1,000

Kyoungha Lee – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,000

Tenafly

Eleonora Tatazi – Ciarco Family Scholarship, $1,000

Waldwick

Shelley Capener – Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation Scholarship, $2,500

Wallington

Monika Klimas – Alumni Network Nursing Scholarship, $500

Washington Township

Andrea Solimando – Delta Dental Foundation, Inc., $1,000

Wayne

Hannah Tallorin – Delta Dental Foundation, Inc., $1,000

Yousif Shamil – Robert Hekemian Scholarship, $1,000

West New York

Yhorman Prieto – Ciarco Family Scholarship , $1,000

Westwood

Keera Williams – Leo Foundation Endowed Scholarship, $1,000

Wood Ridge

Maryam Echreshzadeh – Ciarco Family Scholarship, $1,000

Woodland Park

Rafiullah Naveed – Louis Girshon Memorial Endowed Scholarship, $1,500

Wyckoff

Lyndsey Sanford – Ciarco Family Scholarship, $1,000

 

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Freeholder to Address Bergen Graduates

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PARAMUS, N.J. – Former Bergen Community College trustee and current Bergen County freeholder Germaine M. Ortiz will serve as the keynote speaker at the institution’s May 18 commencement at MetLife Stadium. She represents the first sitting freeholder to deliver the keynote address at Bergen’s commencement.

“Throughout her career, Bergen County Freeholder Germaine Ortiz has stood as a leading voice for supporting education in Bergen County,” College President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., said. “Her keynote address will not only cap her distinguished decade of service as a trustee, but provide a lasting graduation day memory for our students, their families and friends.”

The College’s 48th annual ceremony celebrating graduates will recognize more than 2,000 students earning associate degrees and certificates. Bergen has ranked No. 1 in New Jersey for associate degree graduates three consecutive years.

Ortiz, of Emerson, served on Bergen’s board of trustees from 2004 to 2013 and again from 2015 to 2016. Her latest term concluded due to her election to the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders last November. In addition to working as a vice president and financial analyst at Dinsmore Capital Management in Morristown, Ortiz has served on governing bodies such as the Bergen County Utilities Authority and Palisades Park borough council while remaining active in the community. She graduated with a B.A. in communication and Spanish from Seton Hall University.

“Serving on the Bergen Community College board of trustees had a profound impact on my life,” Freeholder Ortiz said. “Listening to the stories of our students seeking a path to success always inspired me. I am excited about the opportunity to now pay that forward and share my story with them.”

Bakari G. Lee, the Association of Community College Trustees chair, delivered last year’s commencement address – Bergen’s first at MetLife Stadium. Dr. John W. Davis of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund delivered the College’s first keynote in 1970.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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World-Class: Students Succeed at U.N. Conference

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Bergen Community College students earned two top honors.

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Representing one of only two community colleges among more than 200 institutions from across the globe, Bergen Community College students notched top recognition in two categories at the National Model United Nations conference at the organization’s headquarters in March. Bergen’s 10 student participants earned the “outstanding position paper” and “outstanding delegation” awards – the highest honor in both areas.

“Participating in an international conference at the United Nations represents a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., said. “Our students’ success at the conference speaks to their excellence among peers and the College’s commitment to global context within the curriculum.”

The conference, first organized in 1927, provides students with a cooperative, hands-on, experiential learning environment, allowing participants to confront a range of topics with the perspective of their assigned country or organization. Bergen students represented Guinea Bissau.

The College Model U.N. club, led by faculty co-advisers Camelia-Manuela Lataianu, Ph.D., and Richard Laird, challenges students to become global citizens with an understanding of complex topics. Student members are: Club President Ferha Mohamed, of Hackensack; paper co-authors Remila Jasharllari, of Lodi, and Krishna Leitner, of Kearny; Abriel Acosta, of Ridgefield Park; Andrew August, of Kearny; Urmil Bhansali, of Rutherford; Christopher Capasso, of New Milford; Nate Dvorozniak, of Cresskill; Tyler Kim, of Palisades Park; and Keana Watson, of Rutherford.

“It is both an honor and a privilege to represent Bergen,” paper co-author Jasharllari said. “Model U.N. is one of those experiences that can change one’s life. It’s a great simulation where you can learn a lot about yourself and the world that surrounds you in terms of diplomacy, leadership and international relations.”

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Two Students Earn Top Transfer Scholarship

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Daniela Liberato and Nadia Vaso.

PARAMUS, N.J. – A pair of Bergen Community College students have earned the nation’s top undergraduate transfer scholarship and up to $40,000 per year to continue their education. Chosen from 3,000 applicants, Daniela Liberato and Nadia Vaso represent two of only 55 U.S. community college students selected for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

“The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship stands as one of the most significant achievements a community college student can earn,” Bergen President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., said. “For two students from the same institution to receive this scholarship reflects the strength of their individual candidacies and the College’s commitment to providing resources that support student success.”

Liberato, of Lyndhurst, will complete her studies at Bergen next month, graduating with a degree in general science and mathematics. For Liberato, the Cooke scholarship represents her second major award of the spring – she recently became part of the 2017 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team through Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society of two-year institutions where she was selected from 1,800 applicants. At Bergen, Liberato has remained active in the STEM Student Union, the Student Government Association and the Latin American Student Association, while conducting a fundraising program for children in Peru, delivering food, toys and other items.

Vaso, of Fort Lee, has excelled in both academics and athletics at Bergen. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, she participated on a team of Bergen business students who won the inaugural New Jersey County College Case Competition sponsored by Rutgers Business School-Newark last year. As a standout on volleyball court, Vaso became the first Bergen student to win the 2015-16 John Stauff Female Scholar Athlete of the Year award and the NJCAA Pinnacle Academic Achievement award. She will graduate from Bergen in May.

Seven Bergen students in the last four years have received the Cooke scholarship.

The Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship represents the largest private scholarship in the nation for students transferring from two-year community colleges to four-year institutions that award bachelor’s degrees. All Cooke scholars have financial need and strong records of academic achievement as shown by grades, leadership skills, awards, extraordinary service to others and perseverance in the face of adversity.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, each Cooke scholar can receive up to $50,000 a year for graduate school.

Since 2000, the foundation has provided more than $152 million in scholarships to nearly 2,200 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The foundation has also awarded over $90 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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