Essex County College students have a sense of belonging and successful alumni have made themselves an integral part of the College’s extended family.
Tavia Williams (Class of 2016) earned her A.S. in Accounting. She transferred to Cornell University where she is majoring in Industrial and Labor Relations with a double minor of Business, and Policy Analysis and Management. In the Summer of 2017, she interned with The Boeing Company as a Human Resources Generalist Intern, and received a full-time offer contingent upon completion of her B.S. in 2018. While at Essex, she served as an English and accounting tutor, and was VP of Scholarships for the College’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
“I am still grateful for the solid foundation I received during my time at Essex County College! I found my niche and the networking/relationship tools necessary to be where I am today. I couldn’t have asked for a better institution to have earned my Accounting degree, one that truly sets me apart from my competitors.” – Tavia
Shazam Bacchus (Class of 2012 & 2016), first graduated with an A.A.S. in Radiography and, four years later, earned an A.A.S. in Nursing. After earning his Nursing degree, Shazam sifted through a number of job offers, and started his healthcare career at Newark’s University Hospital where he is an ICU staff nurse. He is continuing his education toward becoming a Nurse Practitioner. Shazam also works as an adjunct instructor in Essex County College’s Radiography program.
“Positive thinking and great leadership from the educators at Essex County College have driven me to success. Essex is where I truly understood my academic ability, gaining the confidence I needed to propel my career. No matter where I go, Essex will be close to my heart and I will forever be grateful.”– Shazam
Sofia Castro-Pedrido (Class of 2016), graduated with an A.S. in Engineering. While at Essex, she participated in summer research at Stevens Institute of Technology and worked as a Teaching Assistant in support of math students. She transferred to Rutgers University- New Brunswick where she is majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She was a 2017 graduate of the Governor’s STEM Scholars Program, and currently has an internship with Colgate-Palmolive while she is studying full-time.
“I am forever thankful for my mentors and peers at Essex County College because they helped shape who I am today. Their support and ambition has motivated me to push my own limits and achieve a level of self-confidence that is necessary for success.” – Sofia
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
Kandace Sparks (Class of 2017), earned her A.A.S. in Health Information Technology. She has transferred to NJIT where she is majoring in Medical Informatics Engineering. Kandace also works full-time as a Senior Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice President of Strategy, Corporate Development and Corporate Finance at Conduent, Inc. in Florham Park. Kandace was a member of Essex’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
“Essex County College gave me extensive and meticulous direction, especially coming back to school after 30 years. Overall, the College was incredibly supportive and nurturing. I plan to be an active alumna and give back to the institution that believed in my potential.” – Kandace
Additional information on Kandace is available here.
Chinedu Onyemaobi (Class of 2016), graduated from Essex County College with an A.A. in Liberal Arts: Communications Option. He transferred to Rutgers University-Newark where his major is Journalism & Media Studies. On October 10, he was part of the panel that asked questions of New Jersey Gubernatorial candidates Phil Murphy and Kim Guadagno during their televised debate. Chinedu plans on going to graduate school after earning his Bachelor’s degree in 2018. His career goal is to become a sports broadcaster and producer.
“I will always be grateful that I started my college career at Essex County College. Essex helped me establish my identity and certainly gave me the confidence to move on. It was here at Essex that I had the opportunity to make such wonderful friends who I will never lose.” – Chinedu
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