News

Hello Newman (Civic Fellow)

PARAMUS, N.J. – Campus Compact, a national coalition of 1,100 colleges and universities dedicated to campus-based civic engagement, has named Bergen Community College student Isaac Reyes a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow.

Reyes, of Garfield, a psychology major, has performed hundreds of community service hours working with his local volunteer center.

“I experienced firsthand the impact community service has on improving the quality of life in communities by enriching and empowering its people with the tools needed to create change,” he said. “My involvement at the center motivated me to go back to school and pursue an education.”

He joins 273 peers from 39 states and Washington D.C. as well as past Bergen Fellows Tristan Anderson (2016), Derick Diaz (2015) and Margarita Valdez (2013).

Holding leadership roles with College organizations such as Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society of two-year colleges, and Bergen PRIDE, the school’s LGBT alliance, Reyes is also a member of the Judith K. Winn School of Honors and Psi Beta, the national honor society in psychology for community colleges.

Spearheading LGBT social issues to help cultivate belonging and contribute to the success of his student peers, Reyes’ campus efforts include assisting in the development of a “Safe Space Program” and a Transgender Day of Awareness.

“Adolescence and young adulthood can be a vulnerable time when you are trying to find yourself. We all need a sense of belonging in order to succeed in life.” Reyes said.

According to Campus Compact, Newman Civic Fellows represent model service-oriented students through understanding themselves, the root causes of social issues and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change. As a Fellow, Reyes will now have access to a variety of learning and networking opportunities including a national conference as well as access to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

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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County High School Students Selected for Journal

Liv Glassman, Hannah Rosen, Jacqueline Yang, Cleopatra Lim and Sarah Schapiro.

PARAMUS, N.J. – From more than 300 submissions of high school juniors and seniors, six Bergen County students claimed first-place honors in the 41st annual Bergen County High School Writing Contest sponsored by the Bergen Community College English department. The contest, co-directed by Bergen professors Geoffrey Sadock, Ph.D., and Peter Helff, featured six categories of submissions – scholarly essay, poetry, personal essay, short story, drama and recent Americans – judged by Bergen faculty. The work of 22 finalists became part of the College’s literary journal, “Pegasus,” published annually in June. The first-place winners are:

*Liv Glassman, of Closter, Bergen County Academies: “The Jew Who Hates Chinese Food” (Drama);

*Hannah Rosen, of Tenafly, Tenafly High School: “Bay State Botany: An Analysis of Foliage in Ethan Frome and The Scarlet Letter” (Scholarly Essay);

*Jacqueline Yang, of Ho-Ho-Kus, Northern Highlands Regional High School: “The Heart Is” (Poetry);

*Cleopatra Lim, of Tenafly, Tenafly High School: “Hand in Hand” (Personal Essay); and

*Sara Schapiro, of Bergenfield, Maayanot Yeshiva High School: “The Dawes Act” (Short Story).

Shannon Zhang, of Fair Lawn, also received a first-place award in the recent Americans category, but could not attend the ceremony.

The teen poets will now participate in a public reading of their work at the Oradell Free Public Library Monday, June 19 at 7 p.m.

In recognition of their efforts, students received copies of the school’s literary journal and Amazon gift cards.

Open to high school juniors and seniors, the annual countywide literary contest started accepting writing submissions in December 2016. Submissions were judged based on effective persuasion, clarity, reasoning, concept, style and thematic development.

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 Student to Paint Quest Autism Mural

Bergen Community College students and art contest finalists Natalie Rodriguez, Jan Mark Talingdan (winner) and Alesia Kosak.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College student Jan Mark Talingdan has won an art contest sponsored by Quest Autism Programs & Foundation to paint a mural at the nonprofit’s new headquarters at 159 Godwin Avenue. Bergen County Freeholder Chair Tracy Silna Zur, Quest and College representatives, including Vice President of Academic Affairs William Mullaney, Ph.D., announced Talingdan as the winner during a June 4 open house at Quest.

“The Quest Autism Programs & Foundation art contest represented a unique opportunity for our talented students to make a lasting impact in our community,” Mullaney said.

Bergen and Quest opened the contest in December, asking students to sketch a design for a donor wall that would recognize past supporters and encourage new ones. Students had the opportunity to visit the site in order to visualize the space before putting pencil to paper. Ultimately, 30 students submitted proposals.

The winner, Talingdan, received a $750 scholarship from Quest for his winning design. Three finalists, Bergen students Alesia Kosak, Hayley Rauch and Natalie Rodriguez each received $250 scholarships.

Talingdan, of Ridgefield Park, has maintained an interest in art since childhood. Winning the Quest competition surprised him.

“There are so many people who did amazing work,” he said. “The competition was stiff.”

An engineering science major at Bergen, he plans to transfer to a four-year research university to study aerospace engineering after his graduation.

Since opening in 2005, Quest has sought to meet the vocational, recreational and social needs of adults with autism. The program enrolls adults over age 21 who continue to require individual supports after they have completed their school-based education.

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 Alum Returns to Premiere Film

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College alumnus and independent filmmaker Jamie Insalaco has chosen his alma mater to host the world premiere of his first feature, “Will Reading.” The event, sponsored by Bergenstages and the College’s Alumni Association, will take place Wednesday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre at the College’s main campus, 400 Paramus Road. Admission is free, but tickets can be reserved at tickets.bergen.edu or by calling (201) 447-7428. A question-and-answer session with the filmmaker and actors will follow the screening.

Since graduating from Bergen in 2004 with an associate in science, Insalaco, of Bogota, has tackled numerous artistic projects including establishing a well-known blog (creativejamie.com) and producing video shorts. Will Reading represents his first feature film, which he also wrote, produced and edited. After debuting at Bergen, Will Reading will appear at various festivals before its home media and Netflix release next year.

An 81-minute comedy, Will Reading follows Wendy, played by Katie Weigl, of Montclair, who prepares to announce an addendum to her deceased husband’s (Will) will. The revelation may change everything for the family and friends he left behind.

Bergen alumni Dan Conrad (‘06), of Leonia; Greg Vorub (’01), of Paramus; and Marc Seidenstein (‘02), of Manhattan, also appear in the film.

For more information, visit willreadingmovie.com.

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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High School Students Can Earn College Degree

A program for North Arlington High School students will open at Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands this fall.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College and the North Arlington School District have signed an agreement that will provide students with a tuition-free opportunity to earn an associate degree while enrolled at North Arlington High School. Students who successfully complete the program will have access to a transfer agreement with New Jersey City University, which will streamline the students’ admission into its bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.

“This agreement establishes an innovative relationship between Bergen Community College and the North Arlington Public School District to create new pathways for student success,” Bergen President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., said. “I look forward to congratulating the inaugural class members who will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree at the same time, prepared to enter the workforce or to transfer to a college or university, including New Jersey City University.”

“We are excited for the entire community now that this partnership is in place because it will provide our students the opportunity to broaden their educational horizons, while still being able to participate in all high school-related activities at no cost to their families,” North Arlington School District Superintendent of Schools Stephen Yurchak, Ed.D., said.  “All Bergen Community College representatives, along with our Board of Education and staff have been extremely supportive of this venture since its infancy and we look forward to the successes we know our students will achieve.”

A memorandum of understanding signed by College and district officials established the Early College Program, which will reside at Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands, 1280 Wall Street West, Lyndhurst. Students in their junior and senior years will take classes approved to fulfill both high school and college degree requirements at the facility. Upon successful completion of coursework, students will graduate from North Arlington with a Bergen A.A. in liberal arts, an A.S. in criminal justice or an A.S. in business administration.

In addition to the transfer agreement offered with New Jersey City University, which will allow program graduates to enter the institution with junior-year status, numerous scholarship opportunities await students as well.

“This Early College Program is truly a win-win-win initiative,” NJCU President Sue Henderson, Ph.D., said. “We are excited to be part of this forward-looking program that will give North Arlington High School students the opportunity through Bergen to complete secondary school studies, accelerate their higher education by two full years, and then transfer seamlessly into NJCU baccalaureate programs. NAHS students will have a jump on launching professional careers and will save thousands of dollars they would have spent on tuition.”

Students must register for the program by June 15 in order to begin Sept. 1. A Tuesday, May 30 open house will take place at 6 p.m. in the North Arlington High School gym. For more information on the open house, please contact Supervisor of Guidance Alyce Cusano at (201) 991-6800, ext. 2052 or email [email protected].

Under the terms of the agreement, the school district will pay the salaries for all faculty employed as part of the program and purchase all student books. Students will not pay any tuition or fees to participate in the program.

The Early College Program joins the Applied Technology High School as the second on-campus high school at the College. In 2015, the Applied Technology High School, a collaborative effort of the College and the Bergen County Technical Schools, opened at the main campus.

The initiatives represent an extension of the College’s dual enrollment program, which features 1,200 students from 40 high schools currently taking Bergen classes while still in high school. More than two million students enroll in similar programs nationwide, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

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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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

Advisory72

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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