News

Student Government Serves Others with Soup

The Bergen student government association.

PARAMUS, N.J. – The Bergen Community College student government association used soup to bring warmth to the winter season for those in need during the week of “Giving Tuesday” Dec. 3. Ultimately, a soup drive supported by students, faculty and staff that delivered 187 cans to the Center for Food Action pantry at the College.

“I am very proud of the students who exceeded last year’s soup can donations,” Student Life Club Coordinator Joli Nelson said.

Temple University and Wisconsin Hope Lab researchers estimate 42 percent of community college students face hunger or “food insecurity,” defined as lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 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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Winning in His DNA – Bio Student Wins Competition

Tae Kim.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College student Tae Kim won first place in the category of environmental biology and ecology for his research and poster, “Comparison of Bacterial Communities in New Jersey Soils using Next Generation Sequencing” at the Metropolitan Association of College and University Biologists (MACUB) meeting held at Monmouth University this fall.

“I want to thank my mentor, Bergen Professor Dr. Luis Jimenez, for giving me this opportunity and believing in me,” Kim, of Palisades Park, who competed against other community college students from New York and New Jersey, said. “I felt like I made my first big step in life.”

Kim sampled six types of soil in New Jersey and presented research that focused on understanding the bacterial composition in the soil. Since bacteria can only grow in certain conditions, traditional culturing methods would not work. Instead, Kim used “next generation sequencing,” technology that enables a closer examination of DNA molecules.

Planning to graduate with an honors degree in May 2020, Kim serves as an advisory board member and director of service for Phi Theta Kappa – the honor society of two-year institutions. He also holds the position of vice president of the Tri-Beta biology club and serves as a tutor for math, chemistry and biology.

“Tae’s performance at the MACUB meeting was outstanding,” Professor Jimenez, Ph.D., said. “He was able to convey the importance of his research work to judges and the general public in a clear and precise way. Tae has the ability to produce impressive results in a wide variety of areas. He is organized, motivated, mature, and inquisitive. Additionally, he has demonstrated a very positive attitude and truly embraced learning all there is to know about microbiology.”

Founded in 1967, the Metropolitan Association of College and University Biologists is a professional organization comprised of college and university biologists in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. For more information, visit macub.org.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 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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College Students Push for Smoke to Clear

Students, faculty, staff and community members signed in support of a smoke-free campus.

PARAMUS, N.J. – More than 75 students, faculty, staff and community members pledged their support of a smoke-, tobacco- and vape-free Bergen Community College campus as part of the American Cancer Society’s national “Great American Smokeout” Nov. 21.

“The Great American Smokeout helped to raise awareness regarding the vaping epidemic and associated lung-related injury,” Coordinator of Student Conduct and Student Information Ian Wolf, noting that the event coincides with the work of the institution’s Breathe Clear Campus Taskforce, which seeks to develop a healthy college community, said. “We view the Great American Smokeout event as a launch point for making a cultural shift on campus for a healthier and safer community – not one stand-alone event.”

According to Wolf, the event achieved two objectives – raising awareness about a Bergen policy change to include e-cigarettes as part of its Breathe Clear Campus initiative and educating the community about the negatives of vaping.

Although the College banned smoking on campus in 2007, the rise of e-cigarettes and other tobacco-delivery devices have prompted institutions to create new efforts for helping students understand the dangers of smoking, tobacco and nicotine. In a survey conducted from a representative sample of students in writing 101 courses at the College in the spring 2019 semester, the majority of students remain in favor of banning e-cigarettes at Bergen campuses.

In March, the College received a $12,000 grant from the CVS Health Foundation and the American Cancer Society to develop campaigns targeting the elimination of smoking and tobacco use on- and off-campus. Including another $3,600 grant from the New Jersey Prevention Network, the College has received $15,600 to support the program. Under its new “Breathe Clear Campus” initiative, the College will become smoke- and tobacco-free by June 2020.

Among the activities at the November Smokeout event, the College partnered with Bergen New Bridge Medical Center physicians to discuss the dangers and health risks of vaping, dental hygiene and respiratory care students offered complimentary oral cancer screenings and pulmonary function tests, while student government association leaders sponsored “cold turkey networking,” a turkey sandwich luncheon for anyone attempting to cease using tobacco or nicotine products.

“More than 60 individuals received free oral cancer screenings and more than 25 individuals received free pulmonary function tests by students in our dental hygiene and respiratory care programs,” Han Eul (Robin) Yoo, of Mahwah, co-chair of the Breathe Clear Campus Taskforce and chief justice of the student government association said. “I would like to thank everyone who participated and helped to make the event a success.”

For more information on the initiative, visit www.bergen.edu/breatheclearcampus or email [email protected].

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 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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President Retires, Interim Named and National Search to Begin

 Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., and Anthony Ross, Ed.D.

PARAMUS, N.J. – With the Dec. 31 retirement of Bergen Community College President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., approaching, the institution’s board of trustees has announced it will conduct a national search for the institution’s eighth president in the coming months and has named Anthony Ross, Ed.D., the College’s interim president effective Jan. 1, 2020. Ross has served as the College’s interim vice president of student affairs since September.

“President Redmond has made an indelible impact on Bergen Community College for nearly 40 years,” Board of Trustees Chair Gerard L. Carroll said. “His work as an administrator, faculty member and, now, president has made a profound difference on the institution and in the lives of students, faculty and staff. On behalf of the board of trustees, I thank him for leadership and service to the College.”

President Redmond led Bergen through a period of renewal and stabilization, initiating significant reform, including a reorganization of the executive team and academic and administrative units, and working to stabilize the institution’s finances, human resources and the Bergen Community College Foundation. President Redmond also sought to strengthen relationships with government officials, donors and community members, frequently inviting these groups to campus and increasing the level of communication with them. Additionally, and with Ellucian as a partner, Bergen has reimagined its approach to technology, creating a more user-focused, stable environment for students, faculty and staff.

“Bergen has given me a great life,” he said. “I’m honored to retire as president and proud of what we have accomplished together.”

A former NISOD Excellence Award honoree, President Redmond served the institution in numerous roles since 1981. During his 38-year career, which began as a philosophy and religion professor, he provided leadership as executive vice president, chief information officer and dean of arts and humanities. President Redmond has led the College as its chief administrator since June 2017.

In preparation of the College’s national search for its eighth president, the board of trustees has developed a process that will organize the proceedings, along with a profile outlining the qualifications sought of Bergen’s next executive leader. The process will feature a search committee comprised of trustees, faculty, staff, students and community members that will lead the vetting, interview and selection of candidates.

“As an institution selected as an Aspen Institute College Excellence Program nominee, home to a former U.S. Professor of the Year and the number one college for associate degree graduates in New Jersey, Bergen remains one of the nation’s most attractive presidencies,” Chair Carroll said. “We look forward to meeting the diverse pool of visionary leaders who apply for the position.”

The trustees approved a resolution naming Interim Vice President of Student Affairs Ross as Bergen’s president beginning Jan. 1, 2020 through the completion of the national search at the governing panel’s Dec. 3 regular meeting.

“Bergen has reimagined itself under President Redmond,” he said. “I am excited to have the opportunity to continue this transformative work and maintain the momentum established in the last few years as the College prepares to hire its eighth president.”

Ross brings experience as an interim president to Bergen, previously holding the same role at Metropolitan Community College – Penn Valley in Kansas City, Missouri for more than a year. Prior to that appointment, Ross served as the vice president for student affairs at California State University – Los Angeles, where he worked since 2000 in various capacities including as an associate professor in the Charter College of Education. Ross also held leadership roles at Edison Schools, Wichita State University, Northern Arizona University and St. Lawrence University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s in counseling from St. Lawrence and a doctorate in educational administration and leadership from Northern Arizona.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 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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Celebrate the Season at the Ciccone

Bergen Sinfonia.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Classical music from the Bergen Sinfonia Orchestra highlights its annual holiday concert, “An Evening of Festive Music for a Festive Season,” Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre at Bergen Community College located at 400 Paramus Road.

Under the baton of conductor Murray Colosimo, the orchestra will perform works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Kreisler, Smetana and Gimenez. Notable highlights of the holiday concert include Beethoven’s triumphant Egmont Overture, Op. 84a and Tchaikovsky’s dazzling Valse Scherzo, Op. 34. The performance will also feature international violin soloist Vladimir Tsypin.

A preshow in the theatre lobby will feature Canadian brass carols and complimentary refreshments.

Ticket prices are $45, with discounts offered to senior citizens ($35), Bergen faculty ($35) and students ($10). Group discounts are also available. Tickets can be purchased at tickets.bergen.edu or (201) 447-7428.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 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 Becomes First to Win Pearson Scholarship

Jade Tollis.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College student Jade Tollis has earned the $5,000 Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education. Tollis, of Teaneck, represents one of only 10 students in the nation to receive the award and the first Bergen student to receive the scholarship. She will now partner with a Pearson employee professional mentor during the scholarship program.

“I am beyond humbled to be chosen for this scholarship and mentorship program,” she said. “The fact that Phi Theta Kappa and Pearson Education believe enough in my career goals to invest in my education is so incredibly gratifying and encouraging.”

The Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education helps defray educational expenses for new Phi Theta Kappa members enrolled in associate degree programs and provides continued financial support to Pearson Scholars when they transfer to a four-year college.

“The Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education is one of the most prestigious national scholarships available for community college students,” Bergen Phi Theta Kappa Chapter Co-advisor Angie Goldszmidt said. “We are extremely proud of Jade’s achievements and for being one of only 10 students in the nation to win this award. This accomplishment reflects both the strength of our students and the quality of our honors programs in supporting students through the application process.”

Tollis, a veterinary technology major, has a passion for wildlife conversation and aspires to begin a career in conservation biology. She has volunteered as an educational docent at Turtle Back Zoo, interned at the Terrapin Nesting Project on Long Beach Island for two summers and currently volunteers as a trail maintainer with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. For her, an ideal day is one spent outdoors hiking, kayaking or volunteering. Tollis encourages her peers to join her in surveying trails for invasive plant species or conducting horseshoe-crab counts in the summer with Save Coastal Wildlife. With an expected graduation in 2020, she hopes to become a veterinary professional, scientist or teacher.

The Pearson Scholarship program awards up to 10 scholarships of $5,000 each for a total of $50,000 in scholarships annually. Pearson scholars receive complimentary access to Pearson educational materials.

Phi Theta Kappa remains the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges, helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The society includes more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations. Learn more at ptk.org.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 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 Trustee Elected to State Leadership Role

Sheetal Ranjan, Ph.D.

TRENTON, N.J. – The members of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges have selected Bergen Community College trustee Sheetal Ranjan, Ph.D., for one of two trustee at-large positions on the group’s executive committee. The council members took action at their Nov. 18 meeting, electing Bergen’s Ranjan and six other executive officers. Among her responsibilities as an executive committee member, Ranjan will represent the council as a primary advocate for the state’s community colleges. Her election marks the first time since 2011 that a Bergen delegate has served on the executive committee.

“In just three years as a Bergen trustee, Dr. Ranjan has become one of the state’s leading voices for the advancement of community colleges,” Bergen Board of Trustees Acting Chair Gerard L. Carroll said. “We are proud that Dr. Ranjan will represent Bergen as part of the council’s executive committee and look forward to her support of initiatives, legislation and programs that improve the lives of the state’s community college students.”

Ranjan, of Teaneck, joined Bergen’s trustee board in 2017 and has since established herself as a respected leader among the nation’s community college trustees. Among her memberships, Ranjan remains an active member of the Association of Community College Trustees and serves on the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee.

“I am honored by the opportunity to have a seat at the table and a voice in the process that impacts over 325,000 students at over 60 community college campuses in the State of New Jersey,” Ranjan said. “I believe that education is the most powerful and economically advantageous investment into our future. As an executive committee member of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, I will make a compelling case for investments in community colleges to our federal and state legislators. I will also work toward increasing international student enrollment in New Jersey’s community colleges.”

Outside of Bergen, Ranjan serves as a professor at William Paterson University, teaching criminal justice courses and focusing her research on violence prevention. Her dedication to these issues helped the institution secure $600,000 in federal grants to establish the Campus Violence Prevention Program, which coordinates efforts and resources to raise awareness and assist victims affected by domestic and sexual violence. She also serves on the New Jersey Study Commission on Violence, led the American Society of Criminology Division on Women and Crime as chair from 2017 to 2019 and recently received an appointment to the American Society of Criminology Policy Committee and will serve as its representative on the board of the Criminal Justice Research Alliance.

Ranjan holds an M.A. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Created by state statute in 1989, the council serves as a liaison for New Jersey’s 18 community colleges with government officials, agencies and organizations. The council advances the mission of community colleges through public relations initiatives, awareness campaigns and securing public funding. Members, which include a seven-person executive committee and board chair, board alternate and college president from each of the 18 institutions, work to coordinate statewide efforts to improve student success.

More than 325,000 students attend the state’s community colleges each year; 45 percent of all students who earned a bachelor’s degree from a New Jersey college or university previously completed courses at a community college.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 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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Shakespearean Comedy at Bergen

From left: Allison Moran, as Hero, from West New York; Christine Dunning, as Beatrice, from Ridgewood; Ray Parente, as Benedick, from Wayne; and Kenneth Tineo, as Claudio, from Fort Lee.

PARAMUS, N.J. – The Bergenstages theatre troupe will present its second production of the season, “Much Ado About Nothing,” a comedy written by William Shakespeare, opening Friday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Bergen Community College’s Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre on the Paramus campus (400 Paramus Road). This famous work features some of Shakespeare’s wittiest and most poignant dialogue exploring love, marriage, friendship and honor.

The show runs Friday, Dec. 6, Saturday, Dec. 7, Thursday, Dec. 12, Friday, Dec. 13, and Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 7 and 14, matinee performances will take place at 2 p.m. A special talkback session will follow the Dec. 12 performance.

General tickets are $15, with discounts offered to senior citizens ($10) and Bergen faculty and staff ($10), and students ($5). For additional information, please call (201) 447-7428 or visit tickets.bergen.edu.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 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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College Faculty Featured in Gallery Exhibition

“People of Faith I” by Frank Aiello.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Gallery Bergen will present work by Bergen Community College faculty in a diverse multimedia exhibition titled “(Pro)found Objects” opening Thursday, Nov. 14 from 5 to 9 p.m. at 400 Paramus Road. A performance by Bergen performing arts and music faculty members Jim Bumgardner and Andy Krikun, Ph.D., will take place at 6 p.m., while culinary arts program students will offer refreshments at this free and open to the public reception.

The exhibition features photographic installments, film, fashion designs, paintings, illustrations, digital and mixed media work, including a large-scale augmented reality installation with a two-meter tall 3-D printed sculpture surrounded with multiple viewing stations by Frida De Myr, Ph.D., an experimental film, “New York Gradual,” by professor Gregg Biermann and a series of large watercolor landscapes by professor Claire McConaughy.

“Many of the Bergen visual art faculty members make their homes, maintain studios, and are represented by leading galleries in New York,” Gallery Bergen Director Tim Blunk said. “There is a vital, direct connection to the ever-changing art scene for Bergen students.”

“(Pro)found Objects” highlights the work of Bergen faculty members Frank Aiello, Mary Bays, Gregg Biermann, Theresa Daddezio, Frida De Myr, Ph.D., Ellen Denuto, Andrea Geller, Ada Goldfeld, Ethan Greenbaum, Rumi Hara, Carl Jablonski, Ezequiel Jimenez, Juan Leon, Claire McConaughy, Paul Mindell, Scott Staton, Vesselina Traptcheva, Sun You, and Michael Vanderleeuw.

“Teaching at Bergen has had a profound effect on my own art practice,” McConaughy, who also has a November show at Manhattan’s Painting Center, said. “I am constantly challenged by my students to see subjects in a fresh way. Teaching them the fundamentals of drawing reshapes my own way of seeing and investigating the world.”

“(Pro)found Objects” will remain on view through Jan. 23, 2020. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by special appointment. Gallery Bergen is located on the third floor of West Hall at the Paramus campus. For more information, please contact Gallery Bergen director Tim Blunk at [email protected] or at (201) 879-8817.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 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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College, Sheriff Enhance Communication for Deaf Community

Bergen County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Christopher Sloma and Bergen student Jonathan Uloa participate in a simulated traffic stop as part of the launch of a new communication card.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College student Jonathan Uloa saw Bergen County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Christopher Sloma in his rearview mirror, lights flashing. Uloa pulled his car to a stop, but remained concerned about what would follow – not because of a potential ticket, but because as a member of the deaf community, communicating with law enforcement can present challenges.

But this time, and once Uloa identified himself as deaf, Sgt. Sloma returned to his patrol car and returned with a tool to foster communication between law enforcement and the deaf community – a card created by the College’s Office of Specialized Services and the Sheriff’s Office. The colorful communication card enabled Uloa and Sgt. Sloma to interact with each other via pictures and words.

The simulated traffic stop took place Nov. 8 at the College as part of a launch event for the communication card.

“We are a community college, and that means different things to different people, but here is the key point: our mission is to make possible an affordable, quality education for all,” Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., who spoke at the event, said. “We welcome students of different races and ethnicities, from different countries of origin, natives and immigrants alike, sexual orientation, gender identities, as well as differences in ability. And we strive to help all of to find their places and begin on a path to a better future. This initiative represents another reflection of these goals.”

The Sheriff’s Office has laminated the card and will place it 70 departmental vehicles and distribute among 52 officers. The College will also distribute the card among students and at social service, governmental and public agencies. Sheriff Anthony Cureton plans a wider release, too.

“It is our hope that this card will serve as a regional model for all law enforcement in Northern New Jersey,” he said. “You have my commitment that my office and I will take this card to the Bergen County Chiefs Association in hopes to implement in departments across Bergen County.”

Members of the College’s Office of Specialized Services, which assists nearly 1,300 students with disabilities each year, led the development of the card.

“This card will help to keep officers safe and in legal compliance with communication needs until an interpreter can arrive on the scene,” department coordinator Jennifer Flynn said. “This communication card offers a great deal of assistance for the officer and the driver alike; but our work is not yet done. We are continuing our training and collaboration on this and future endeavors.”

For more than a decade, the Sheriff’s Office has maintained a substation at the College to support the campus’ overall safety. In addition to providing the College with uniformed law enforcement, officers have often collaborated with the institution’s faculty and staff to develop new initiatives aimed at enhancing community relations. In addition to the card, officers have hosted events such as “coffee with a cop” and K-9 demonstrations.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 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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