Essex County College students have a sense of belonging and successful alumni have made themselves a part of the College’s extended family.


“I will never forget the mentoring, love and care I found at Essex County College. Because of the opportunity that Essex County College offered me, I have been guided and propelled to pursue my dreams. That clearly shows to me the kind of people who are at Essex.” – Renata Martin


Renata Martin (2012 Valedictorian), graduated with an A.S. in Biology/Pre-Med (4.0 GPA) and was a recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship. While an Essex student, Renata was an active member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. After leaving Essex, Renata transferred to Brown University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology. After spending a year and a half as a research assistant in neuroscience at Dr. George Church’s Harvard Medical School Lab, Renata is now in the doctoral; program at Stanford University


“Essex County College rekindled my love of learning and I was quickly able to gain confidence in each new class. My positive experiences helped me to set a career path, that of teaching English at the college level. My years at Essex were very transformative for me and I am now more confident than ever.” – Joseph LoCascio


Joseph LoCascio (Class of 2014), graduated from Essex with a 4.0 grade point average and an Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts. He also served as the class Salutatorian. While at Essex, he was named to the All-New Jersey Academic Team and the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team. Joseph also helped charter and served as president of the College’s Writing Club. He was also a popular tutor on campus. Joseph now attends Columbia University, where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English and Comparative Literature.


“I came to Essex to secure a better future for myself. Although the College’s Honors Program was often an uphill battle for me, it really helped me to grow. I will always be grateful to Essex County College for the many opportunities afforded me, especially as I recall the words of my grandmother who told me education was critical.” – Jessica Bennett


Jessica Bennett (Class of 2015), earned her Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts in Liberal Arts, graduating with a 3.96 average. She also served as president of the College’s Student Government Association. Jessica 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. While at Columbia, Jessica plans to complete a semester abroad studying at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She also wants to pursue advance degrees in Education Policy.


“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 Morales


Ashley Morales (2016 Valedictorian), graduated from Essex County College with a perfect 4.0 grade point average and an Associate in Science in Business Administration. While at Essex, she was inducted into the highly-selective New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association Honor Society. She was an active member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and earned a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship to Rutgers University-Newark where she is enrolled in the Business School as a management major. Ashley’s ultimate career goal is to become a corporate lawyer.