Bergen Student Named Best in New Jersey

From left: NJCCC President Aaron Fichtner, Ph.D.; NJCCC Chair Helen Albright; Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D.; Elda Pere; Alfred Pere; and Bergen Vice President of Academic Affairs William Mullaney, Ph.D.

EDISON, N.J. – On Friday, Nov. 16, as part of the Vision 2028 Leadership Summit, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges presented the New Jersey Community College Student of the Year Award to Bergen Community College’s Elda Pere. The award is presented annually to a student in recognition of his or her academic excellence, character, inspirational success and/or service to their communities.

Pere, of Garfield, was honored for her academic excellence and service to the College and her community. She is developing her own field of mathematics that she believes will lead to a better understanding of nature and, in effect, how the world uses it, called Trigonacci. She developed it during a summer research internship with the STEM Student Scholars Program, an honor society for STEM majors at Bergen.

“Approximately 320,000 students enrolled at New Jersey’s community colleges this year, but, to my knowledge, only one developed her own field of mathematics,” Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., said. “Among other accomplishments, Elda also serves as the international president of Phi Theta Kappa and led the College’s Enable program, which helped develop prosthetic hands for disabled students using 3D printing. It’s this commitment to community – alongside her academic pursuits – that makes Elda so unique and extraordinary. I am proud of Elda and gratified that Bergen has offered learning experiences that have nurtured her continued path of success.”

Pere holds a 4.0 grade point average and was elected the international president of Phi Theta Kappa at the 2018 Phi Theta Kappa Convention in Kansas City. Other achievements include being selected as a 2017 Coca-Cola Leader of Promise and a 2018 Achieving the Dream Scholar. She is also a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, a highly selective scholarship for the nation’s top community college students seeking to complete their bachelor’s degrees at four-year colleges or universities.

The award, a glass acorn atop a metal base, was designed and created through a partnership between Salem Community College and Camden County College. Salem has one of the most innovative glass programs in the country and Camden has been a leader in New Jersey in training and educating students to work in the metal fabrication and advanced manufacturing industries.

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is the state association representing New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. As an independent, trustee-headed organization that joins the leadership of trustees and presidents, the Council is a resource that strengthens and supports the state’s 19 community colleges.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 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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