From left: Math Club President Leonardo Ruales, Ton Duong, Romulo Quiliche, Damilare Adefioye, Math Club Vice President Cristobal Vega, and Brian Higgins

Members of the Essex County College’s Math Club recently heard about opportunities, and challenges, they will have when they transfer to four-year schools in the near future. What made the experience much more relevant was that the presenters themselves are all recent Essex alums.


“The purpose of this program was to help educate our students on what they will face at much larger four-year colleges and universities,” said Mathematics Professor Mamta Vyas, who is co-advisor of the club with fellow math Professor Chengwen Wang.


The lively discussion for the 20 current students who attended the session covered a wide range of topics facing them as transfers. While they are still Essex students though, current Stony Brook University student Damilare Adefioye (Essex Class of 2016 in Mathematics) said, “Be creative and take advantage of every opportunity you have here.” He is a former president of the Math Club at Essex.


Ton Duong, Essex Class of 2014 in Engineering, attends Stevens Institute where he is majoring in Mechanical Engineering/Robotics.  While at Essex he was involved in robotics and built his own Quadcopter, a model flying machine.


Ton has continued that passion at Stevens, joining classmates with a similar passion. For his senior design project, he is working on what he described as a “violin playing robot.”


Romulo Quiliche, also Essex Class of 2014 in Engineering, told the students he is working on a device to test structural beam strength at Stevens.  He also urged the Essex students to take advantage of intern opportunities in the summer.


Rutgers University-Newark student Brian Higgins (Essex Class of 2016 in Mathematics), said Essex’s Honors Program is one outstanding way to prepare for a four year school. He had also participated in the LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) program while an Essex student. That program provides opportunities for students to work hands-on in the summers at research sciences labs at areas universities.


At Stevens, Ton co-founded the Transfer Student Association to help transfers become acclimated to their new environment. “That way you can work and learn from each other.”


In his talk with the Essex students, Brian suggested they start researching where they want to transfer as soon as possible. That is a very good way to find scholarships, he added.


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