Essex County College students have a sense of belonging and successful alumni have made themselves an integral part of the College’s extended family.
Ton Duong (Class of 2014), graduated with an A.S. in Engineering. He moved on to Stevens Institute of Technology where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering/Robotics. Ton is now in Stevens’ Accelerated PhD program for Mechanical Engineering. He returns frequently to the Essex campus to talk to students on making the transition to 4-year schools.
“My time at Essex County College was truly an invaluable experience for me. I met a lot of amazing and supportive professors who really cared about my academic success. Plus the curriculum in the College’s Honors Program really prepared me to move on to a 4-year institution”– Ton
Renata Martin (2012 Valedictorian), graduated with an A.S. in Biology/Pre-Med and was a recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship. She transferred to Brown University where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, and then worked a year and a half as a research assistant in neuroscience at Dr. George Church’s Harvard Medical School lab. Renata is currently studying stem cell research at Stanford University as she pursues her PhD.
“I will never forget the mentoring, love and care I found at Essex County College. It was the only place where I was given a chance at an education. Not only did I receive a great education, but Essex is also where I gained confidence in my academic abilities thanks to the many great mentors and educators. I will forever be grateful for my time there!” – Renata
Sofia Medina-Pardo (Class of 2014), earned her Essex A.S. in Biology Pre-Medicine. After receiving the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship, she transferred to Johns Hopkins University from where she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Public Health Studies. Sofia plans to attend medical school in the near future and is currently working in Rehabilitation Services at CarePoint Health.
“It will always be the place that was able to help me begin turning dreams into reality, and through which I formed extraordinary friendships and memories.” – Sofia
Matthew Simonetti (Class of 2017), earned an A.A. in Arts in Liberal Arts. He has transferred to Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s Mason Gross School of the Arts to study Design. Matthew found Essex to be the perfect place for him to resume his education after being out of school for 16 years.
“I want to be recognized and known for my artistic talents and for the real person I am. I feel these goals are attainable as Essex has provided for me a solid educational foundation. The school has also awakened in me a sense of self-confidence and maturity that I lacked the day I first set foot on campus.” – Matthew
Jessica Bennett (Class of 2015), earned her A.A. in Liberal Arts and was a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship, which helped pave the way for her to transfer to Columbia University where she is majoring in Ethnicity and Race Studies. Jessica plans to pursue post-graduate studies in Education Policy when she completes her Bachelor’s degree requirements. She has also conducted research during summer 2017 at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
“The experience that I had in the Honors Program at Essex County College challenged me to engage with topics in history, sociology, and literature. I loved that my professors encouraged me to explore these subjects and think about ways to make connections across fields. This enabled me to organize with student activists on issues surrounding immigration and identity and prepared me for my future studies.” – Jessica
Ashley Morales (2016 Valedictorian), graduated from Essex County College with an A.S. in Business Administration. While at Essex, she was inducted into the highly-selective New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association Honor Society. She attends Rutgers University-Newark where she is enrolled in the Business School as a management major. Ashley plans to graduate from Rutgers in December of 2017 and then continue toward her ultimate career goal to become a corporate lawyer.
“I am extremely proud to have been part of a truly outstanding institution and I will always be a Wolverine. I received a great foundation here at Essex County College; the school truly exceeded all my expectations. Essex became another home and those within an extended family.” – Ashley
Brian Higgins (Class of 2016), graduated with an A.S. in Mathematics. He is currently attending Rutgers University-Newark, where he is majoring in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. After he earns his Bachelor’s degree, Brian plans to pursue his PhD. in Applied Mathematics, mostly likely at Stony Brook University in New York. Brian frequently returns to Essex County College where he tutors students in Physics, Computer Science and Mathematics.
“I’m very proud of my time at Essex County College. My caring mentors, amazing professors and dedicated fellow students instilled a foundation of success and ambition that continues to fuel my aspirations. No matter how far I go into academia, Essex will always be my home.” – Brian