News

Festival Brings All that Jazz to Bergen

Grammy nominee Curtis Lundy’s nonprofit and Bergen Community College will host “An Autumn Afternoon of Jazz” Sept. 30.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Award-winning artists Curtis Lundy, Bobby Watson and Sherry Winston will headline “An Autumn Afternoon of Jazz” at Bergen Community College. Hosted by the nonprofit Bergen County Jazz Society and the College, the event will take place Saturday, Sept. 30 from 3 to 11 p.m. in the Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre at the institution’s main campus, 400 Paramus Road.

Tickets are $65, $50 for seniors as well as College faculty and staff and $15 for students. A portion of proceeds will support books for students, transportation scholarships and the Bergen County Jazz Performers mentoring program. To purchase tickets, visit https://autumnafternoonofjazz.eventbrite.com, call (201) 301-1695 or email [email protected].

In addition to the featured artists, Freddy Rodriguez and the Urban Charanga Project – a 14-piece Latin jazz band – Gary Samuels and the Peter Valera Jump Blues Band, Ms. Irene Renee, and Sounds of Manilla will all perform.

Englewood Hospital, WBGO, Visions Federal Credit Union and the Bullion Foundation will sponsor the event.

Formed by Grammy nominee Curtis Lundy and the College’s director of multicultural affairs Ronald E. McKnight, the nonprofit Bergen County Jazz Society celebrates the musical talent of jazz artists throughout Bergen County and the world. The organization aims to share the beauty and richness of jazz with audiences and in the classroom with students.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, 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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Still Time to Register for Fall Semester at Bergen

Many fall II classes will take place at Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College will begin its fall II schedule Friday, Sept. 22, providing students with a second opportunity to enroll in classes this fall. The fall I schedule began Sept. 1. Offerings such as English Composition I, Introduction to Criminal Justice and U.S. history will take place across Bergen’s three locations and online as part of the newest slate of courses.

To register for classes, visit bergen.edu or any of the College’s three sites – 400 Paramus Road, Paramus (main campus), 1280 Wall Street West, Lyndhurst (Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands) and 355 Main Street, Hackensack (Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center).

Bergen has ranked No. 1 in New Jersey for associate degree graduates three years in a row. The institution’s resources include the 65,000 square-foot Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center and the Cerullo Learning Assistance Center, twice recognized as the top tutoring center in the nation. Bergen also features a comprehensive science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum recently supported by a $5.3 million federal grant. With average annual earnings of $65,600, Bergen alumni rank No. 11 in the U.S. for mid-career salaries, according to PayScale, the online compensation database.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, 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 Begins 50th Year

Students returned to Bergen Community College’s main campus in Paramus Sept. 1.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College will celebrate its 50th anniversary during the 2017-18 academic year, commemorating the 1967 hiring of the institution’s first president, Sidney Silverman, Ph.D., and the approval of the master plan that developed the College’s main campus at 400 Paramus Road. Bergen’s first 1,454 students arrived the following year in Sept. 1968; the newest students arrived Sept. 1.

“During this anniversary, we will look first to our past in order to celebrate our place and influence in the lives of our students, but we will also look to the future,” Interim President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., said. “This celebration encourages us to imagine what we can still become.”

Since its inception, Bergen has grown into the state’s largest community college with approximately 15,000 students taking classes this semester. Ranked No. 1 in the state for associate degree graduates, alumni have transferred to every Ivy League institution.

Expanding beyond its original footprint in Paramus, the College now features campus locations in Lyndhurst (Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands) and Hackensack (the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center). Online classes provide greater flexibility, while dual enrollment programs at area high schools allow students to get a jumpstart on earning a college degree.

Faculty, which include a former U.S. Professor of the Year, lead degree, certificate and continuing education programs in areas such as criminal justice, health professions and business.

Resources include the $26 million Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center, which opened in 2016 as the College’s project as part of the state’s Building Our Future Bond Act approved by voters, and the Cerullo Learning Assistance Center – twice named as the best tutoring facility in the U.S.

A committee led by honorary co-chairs Bergen County Executive James Tedesco III, Bergen County Freeholder Chair Tracy Silna Zur and Professor Emeritus Virginia Laughlin will direct the institution’s efforts related to celebrating the anniversary.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, 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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Grad, Veteran Joins Board as Alumni Rep.

Peter Zalakostas

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College class of 2016 graduate Peter Zalakostas began his one-year term on the institution’s board of trustees July 11, taking the oath of office at the governing body’s regular meeting. The position, elected by current students, carries full voting rights on the board.

Zalakostas, of Fair Lawn, first enrolled at Bergen in 2014 after serving nearly four years in the U.S. Army. His two tours of duty in Afghanistan piqued an interest in international relations and law – subjects he now studies as a history major at Columbia University. He plans to pursue a J.D. under the Post-9/11 GI Bill after his graduation.

While enrolled at Bergen, Zalakostas took active roles in campus organizations such as the student government association and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges. He also joined student-led efforts to combat international human trafficking. Zalakostas completed his A.S. from Bergen in less than two years.

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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Summer Camp Students Really Cook

From left: Chris Nicolelis, Mira Fish, Tomer Zilkha, Sophia Lukac and Ronda Drakeford.

PARAMUS, N.J. – This summer, eight Bergen County high school students proved they can take the heat – in the kitchen.

As part of Bergen Community College’s “Kids and Teens” summer program, which offers enrichment courses through the institution’s Division of Continuing Education, Corporate and Public Sector Training, eight teenagers explored the culinary craft during “HACKed” (Hungry Aspiring Chefs in the Kitchen), a two-week course.

The program culminated with a July 28 reality-show-style cooking competition where teams of students presented appetizers, entrees and desserts to a panel of judges, who provided feedback and scored entries. By the slimmest of margins (a fraction of a point), the judges – Bergen hotel/restaurant/hospitality program faculty Ronda Drakeford, Chris Nicolelis and Tomer Zilkha – awarded Mira Fish, of Glen Rock, and Sophia Lukac, of Oradell, first prize. The pair not only showed their chops as chefs – painstakingly preparing a peach-mango sorbet without the benefit of an ice cream maker – but as teammates: a third member could not participate in the competition due to vacation, leaving them down a set of hands.

Nonetheless, the dynamic duo persevered and took home the grand prize, which included gift certificates to Pâtisserie Florentine, Biagio’s and the Bergen bookstore, among tools of the trade such as a Bergen-branded chef coat and measuring spoons.

Instructors Derrick Gagner and Joan Nicolai led the HACKed course.

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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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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