NJ Council of County Colleges Honors the State’s Top Community College Student Scholars

Article Posted -- May 8, 2017

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges honored New Jersey’s 39 best and brightest community college students and their families at its 23rd annual Phi Theta Kappa Day celebration on Thursday, May 4, at the Lafayette Yard Hotel in Trenton, NJ.

“Each year, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) invites New Jersey’s top community college students and their families to celebrate their outstanding academic achievements and exceptional service to their communities as members of Phi Theta Kappa at their local community colleges,” said NJCCC President Dr. Lawrence Nespoli. “The event, sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges, the Coca-Cola Foundation, and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), provides deserving community college students statewide recognition by policymakers and legislators.”

In addition to honoring student achievement, Phi Theta Kappa Day celebrates scholarship recipients. Phi Theta Kappa and the Coca-Cola Foundation awarded a total of nine scholarships to outstanding New Jersey students as part of the All-USA Academic Team competition.

As the top community college student in New Jersey, Kelsey Giggenbach of Brookdale Community College received a $2,000 New Century scholarship from the Coca-Cola Foundation. She was recognized during the American Association of Community Colleges national convention in New Orleans on April 24.

Spyridoula Fotinis of the County College of Morris and Emily Stratton of Raritan Valley Community College each received $1,500 scholarships for being named Coca-Cola Foundation All-USA Gold Medalist Scholars. Dimitri Papavasiliou of Bergen Community College and Doris Pagan of Passaic County Community College each received $1,250 scholarships for being named Coca-Cola Foundation All-USA Silver Medalist Scholars. Christina Cover of Rowan College at Burlington County, and Nikita Gyawali, Sara Hwang, and Daniela Liberato of Bergen Community College each received $1,000 scholarships for being named Coca-Cola Foundation All-USA Bronze Medalist Scholars.

The 2017 New Jersey All-State Academic Team members are:

  • Atlantic Cape Community College students Sevil Nimetullaieva of Brooklyn, NY and Charlene Salva of Mays Landing;
  • Bergen Community College students Nikita Gyawali of Wood Ridge, Sara Hwang of Fort Lee, Daniela Liberato of Lyndhurst, and Dimitri Papavasiliou of Teaneck;
  • Brookdale Community College students Kelsey Giggenbach of Howell and Varsha Medidi of Parlin;
  • Camden County College students Rachel Einhorn of Voorhees and Umar Nisar of Gibbsboro;
  • Cumberland County College students Ahmad Graves-El of Vineland and Elijah Jacobs of Bridgeton;
  • Essex County College students Chioma Anaemejeh of Belleville and Yannick Kenfack of Irvington;
  • Hudson County Community College students Kristina Mejias of Bayonne and Hugo Iglesias of Union City;
  • Mercer County Community College students Jasmina Biller of Princeton Junction and Jason Lima of Hamilton;
  • Middlesex County College students Danielle Davis of Colonia and Alicja Wisniowska of Sayreville;
  • County College of Morris students Spyridoula Fotinis of Succsunna and Michael Gosden of Rockaway Borough;
  • Ocean County College students Abigail Orr of Manchester and William Poser of Brick;
  • Passaic County Community College students Zenya Koprowski of Ringwood and Doris Pagan of Clifton;
  • Raritan Valley Community College students Kristine Bulava of Basking Ridge and Emily Stratton of Phillipsburg;
  • Rowan College at Burlington County students Christina Cover of Mount Laurel and Yoresmi Medina of Pennsauken;
  • Rowan College at Gloucester County students Michael Koppel of Deptford and Gianna Visceglia of Williamstown;
  • Salem Community College students Debora Saavedra of Salem and Justin Schaller of Pedricktown;
  • Sussex County Community College student Megan Biemesderfer of Sparta;
  • Union County College students Bao Nguyen and Carlos Santibanez, both of Elizabeth;
  • Warren County Community College students James Crouse and Benjamin Volk, both of Phillipsburg.

In addition, 21 of New Jersey’s four-year colleges and universities have offered over $1 million in scholarships to Phi Theta Kappa students transferring to their institutions.

Phi Theta Kappa has recognized and encouraged scholarship among community college students for 99 years while promoting the academic integrity of the associate degree program. Students with grade point averages of 3.5 or higher are invited to join Phi Theta Kappa.

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 the voice of the community college sector before the state legislature and other branches of government.

Pictured: Sussex County Community College student Megan Biemesderfer of Sparta