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Essex County College main campus gives students all the benefits of being in New Jersey’s largest city, Newark – plenty of
ECC's Dr. Elvy Vieira, second from left, with other conference participants
Dr. Elvy Vieira, Dean of Community, Continuing Education and Workforce Development, represented Essex County College at the Tech Workforce Educational Fly-In conference, sponsored by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).
The conference, in Washington, D.C. on November 13-14, brought together over 50 representatives from colleges, government and non-profit agencies, and businesses. The purpose of the conference was to discuss alternative pathways to tech careers.
“It’s important for us at ECC to provide tech training to our students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. If we don’t look at giving access to high tech training to our minority population, these students face the danger of being left out of in-demand careers,” said Dr. Vieira.
ECC does provide a wide range of technology training through the College’s Training, Inc. But Dr. Vieira noted there is always room to expand and offer more programs.
“Tech talent is in high demand with one million open positions in the U.S.,” said Nancy Hammervik, Chief Solutions Officer for CompTIA. “These jobs can open doors and unlock potential for underserved populations to earn sustainable wages and strong career paths to help economically disadvantaged families and communities.”
The conference included government officials who discussed funding programs for tech career pathways and workforce needs.
“The session provided information on emerging technologies which we can use in developing new program offerings. We want our students to earn the credentials needed to secure these in-demand jobs,” stated Dr. Vieira.
The Success Stories in the Tech Workforce Landscape panel discussed how employers, educators and workforce boards are addressing the tech workforce needs and shared their experiences and recommendations.
“It’s important to know the direction various industries are going in order to meet their hiring needs and provide them with the trained employees they will require in the future,” stated Dr. Vieira.
Business Professor Jean-Wilner Alexandre (left) displays his Bright Idea Award. He is joined by Business Division Chair Germaine Albuquerque.
ECC Business Division Professor Jean-Wilner Alexandre is the recipient of the Bright Idea Award, sponsored by the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall for his in-depth case study. A professor of Economics and Finance, he is the first community college faculty member to receive the award in its 23 years.
“This honor means so much to me. I wasn’t doing the research for the recognition. I believe the subject area itself is important. But I am honored to have been recognized in this way,” Professor Alexandre said.
Professor Alexandre’s research work was one of 10 to receive the award out of 114 publications throughout the state submitted. The awards ceremony was held on November 17, 2023.
His research paper was on “Sub-Saharan Africa Case Study: Doing Business in Sub-Saharan Africa, a Paradigm Shift from Humanitarian Aid to Investment in Infrastructure, Education and Industry.”
Professor Alexandre spent over two years on the research, including a four week trip last year to Sub-Saharan Africa.
“This award is a big honor for both Professor Alexandre and our College. To be the first community college professor to receive the award is a huge achievement. It proves our faculty is of very high caliber,” said Business Division Chair Germaine Albuquerque.
“We are all very proud of the work and dedication of Professor Alexandre. Our students are the real winners,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A Boakye.
Vivian Carter – Volunteer Extraordinaire
Vivian Carter has not slowed down since graduating with an Associate degree in Elementary Education from Essex County College in 1973. The energetic retired teacher is passionate about her commitment to education, and her love of community and the City of Newark that nurtured her.
“Volunteering and giving back to the community is a part of me. I was taught at an early age the importance of giving to others. I remember when I was in the eighth grade I volunteered at a nursing home on 10th Street” in Newark, and I haven’t stopped,” Vivian stated. “It’s in my blood.”
Vivian proudly says that enrolling at Essex County College, after starting out at an out-of-state school, put her on the path to a long and rewarding teaching career in the Newark Public Schools. She was able to start initially working as a teacher assistant in Newark with the credits she had already earned. But she needed a degree to become a teacher.
“I was 24 when I started at Essex. Here I was, an adult learner and a little apprehensive. But the College was like a big family and the professors heightened my exuberance for learning. ECC rekindled my love for learning and teaching. I’m proud to say I graduated from ECC with Honors,” Vivian stated.
Vivian then went on to Rutgers University-Newark where she majored in Education and Urban Planning. “I wanted to be a city planner and teacher,” she recalled. But fulltime teaching won out.
That began a long and rewarding teaching career in which Vivian taught at a number of Newark schools. She impressed upon her students the importance of giving back to their community. Those lessons have not gone unnoticed by her pupils. “One of my former students was awarded a volunteer medal from Seton Hall University. She mentioned me in her speech. I just felt so truly blessed.”
Since retiring from teaching in 2009, Vivian dedicates herself to volunteering practically every day. Although she tries to limit her volunteer hours on Mondays, whenever possible.
The Rev. Ronald Slaughter, pastor at Newark’s St. James AME Church, can count on her for any church program and activity. “I’m a lifelong member of St. James, so I’m there for anything,” Vivian said.
Vivian frequently stops by her ECC alma mater to help with voter registration through her Delta Sigma Theta (North Jersey Alumni Chapter) where she serves on the Social Action and Scholarship committees.
Her affiliations range from membership on the Arts (Newark) High School Alumni Association to numerous college and teacher organizations. She is also Education Chair for the Ivy Hill Neighborhood Association, Newark Senior Services, Greenlight Greater Newark, Newark Museum, Newark Library and co-chairs the Friends of Newark Symphony Hall with Essex County College Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Alfred Bundy. “What the Apollo Theater means to Harlem, Newark Symphony Hall means to Newark,” she stated.
“I can’t imagine my life without volunteering. Clara Dasher (who was a longtime Chair of ECC’s Board of Trustees) was an elementary school teacher, an excellent role model for education and one of my inspirations,” noted Vivian. “It’s my spiritual calling and I can say that I’m fulfilled.”
Thanksgiving Food Giveaway volunteers
In recognition of National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, the College held a Thanksgiving Food Giveaway for students on Tuesday, November 21. Over 100 students received a total of 2,285 pounds of food, said Dr. Leigh Bello, Associate Dean for Student Affairs/Special Projects.
“Hopefully we were able to make the Thanksgiving holiday a little brighter for these students,” Dr. Bello said.
The giveaway, in the Clara Dasher Student Center on the Newark campus, provided the students a wide range of food from which to choose. The event was co-sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, Student Life & Activities Office, and the Student Government Association.
Dr. Bello said the food donations came from a variety of sources. They included 10 turkeys from the West Caldwell ShopRite, eight full baskets of food (including turkeys) from IMAC Insurance Agency, 30 $25 gift cards from the ECC Board of Trustees, 25 bags of food from Training, Inc., two cases of canned goods from ECC Community Education’s Harvest Fest, and donations from College staff and students to the annual Can-Can Food Drive.
Dr. Akil Khalfani, Executive Director of the College's Africana Institute (left) talks with Tobias Truvillion
Essex County College Nursing students
The College’s 9th Health & Wellness Expo on Wednesday, November 15, had something for students to senior citizens. The Expo was held in the College's Cleo Hill, Sr. Physical Education Building.
“Our intent was to provide the community with a wide variety of health and wellness information. We have information on alternative care such as massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, Zumba, and suicide prevention to name just a few,” said Dr. Akil Khalfani, Director of the College’s Africana Institute. The Africana Institute co-sponsored the event with ECC’s Division of Nursing & Health Sciences, the Student Nursing Organization, and a host of community organizations.
The day was divided into two major portions. In the morning and early afternoon, the theme was Youth Tipping Point for Healthy Minds & Healthy Bodies. The theme changed in the late afternoon to Restore and Rejuvenate Adult Community Health.
One of the keynote speakers was Tobias Truvillion, an actor and entrepreneur who is passionate about healthy living and building his community.
The event attracted students from area high schools as well as the College community and community at-large.
Navasky Anderson running for Essex County College
Essex County College alumnus Navasky Anderson, Class of 2020, won the Bronze Medal in the 800 Meters at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, on Saturday, November 11. Representing Jamaica, Navasky ran a 1:46.40 in the race, finishing less than a second behind the winner who had a time of 1:45.69. The second place runner had a time of 1:46.04.
Navasky holds the Jamaican national record in the 800 Meters when he ran a 1:44.70 at the Washington, D.C. Track Championships this past July 30. That time gave him the qualifying standard to represent Jamaica in the 2023 World Championships and the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. He will join a long list of ECC student-athlete alumni who have competed in the Summer Olympics.
He earned National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American honors at ECC. Navasky then transferred to Mississippi State University where he attained First Team All-Southeastern Conference honors in the 800 Meters.
ECC Head Track & Field Coach Lionel Leach recalled Navasky when he was a freshman. "We put together a plan of action, and wow, look at him now. I remember when he placed second at the NJCAA indoor championships, and I told him this was only the beginning of a great career in this sport."
Registration is underway for Essex County College’s Winter Intersession, where students can earn three college credits in just 10 days. Classes run from December 26, 2023 to January 9, 2024.
Each class is approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes in length. Classes are offered in the morning, afternoon and evening.
“Winter Intersession is a wonderful opportunity for students to earn credits during an accelerated semester. This will enable them to complete a General Education course in only two weeks,” said Dr Alvin Williams, Executive Dean of Faculty & Academics.
Registration information and courses offered can be found at: https://www.essex.edu/enrollment/winter
“We hope many of our students take advantage of Winter Intersession. This is just one way we are assisting students toward earning their degree in a timely fashion,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
Winter Intersession is popular among college students. The compressed nature of the courses at ECC enables students to quickly earn credits. The Winter Intersession classes are for both Essex students and for those who attend another college or university and are home on holiday break.
Enrolling in a Winter Intersession class can result in savings, both in money and time, for students as they move toward graduation.
Essex is offering Winter Intersession classes in such areas as English, history, business, sociology, art and music.
Dr. Keith Kirkland addresses Veterans Day ceremony audience
Essex County College’s annual Veterans Day tribute was held on Friday, November 10. The ceremony, which began with the traditional raising of Old Glory, was held at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and West Market Street.
Whitney Houston’s iconic rendition of the National Anthem, performed at the 1991 Super Bowl, followed.
Dr. Keith Kirkland, Dean of Student Affairs and a U.S. Army veteran, said “Essex County College has always shown a concern and a deep respect for our veterans. Our commitment to veterans is very serious.” He thanked ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, for ensuring the College has a strong support network for veterans.
“Today we honor all those who have safe guarded our freedom,” stated Dr. Kirkland.
Near the end of the ceremony, Veterans Service Group Advisor Shawn Yearwood, advisor/mentor in the Business Division who organized the event, stated, “We will always remember our fallen comrades.” His remarks were followed by a recording of Taps and a moment of silence.
All veterans who attended the ceremony were presented with military service pins.
Coach Fawzia Kheir
Fawzia Kheir was a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American when she was an ECC track standout. She ended her career at ECC as a six-time NJCAA Division I Track and Field All-American and two-time NJCAA Region XIX Cross Country Champion.
Now she is known as Coach Kheir, serving as the newly-named Cross Country and Track & Field coach at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Her biggest challenge is building a program, literally “from scratch.” This is only the second year the school is offering intercollegiate Cross Country.
“I spent the summer getting students to try out for the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams. I believe we are off to a promising start,” stated Coach Kheir, a member of ECC’s Class of 2014 who earned an Associate degree in General Science. Originally hired as Cross Country coach in the summer, she was also named Track & Field coach in September.
Previously, Coach Kheir served as an assistant coach at NJIT. “I learned a lot at NJIT, especially with recruiting. I worked mostly with the middle distance runners. That experience will help me going forward.”
Following her graduation from ECC, Coach Kheir had an outstanding athletic career at Winston Salem State University. She captured NCAA Division II All-American Honors in the 800 meters and still holds the school’s all-time program record in the event with a time of 2:10.10.
Coach Kheir said she will pull from her ECC experiences in building the Manhattan programs. “Essex County College was a huge stepping stone for my athletic career. I learned that hard work will pay off and we did have to work hard.” She credits the late ECC Track Coach Michael Smart as pushing her to do her best. “He believed in me and told me where ever I go I will always shine.”
She holds dual citizenship with the United States and Egypt, and runs competitively for the Egyptian National Track & Field Team.
Dr. Margaret Stevens and ECC's President, Dr Augustine A. Boakye at Essex County Veterans Day ceremony
Dr. Margaret Stevens, an ECC History Professor and published author, was honored at the 14th annual Essex County Veterans Day Observance held on Tuesday, November 9 in Essex County Veterans Memorial Park, in Newark. Dr. Stevens was a Medic in 91 Bravo with the Army National Guard in Jersey City from 1997 to 2004. She was activated on 9/11, serving as a medic in support of first responders.
“I appreciate all that Essex County does for veterans and I am honored to receive this award,” stated Dr. Stevens.
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. presented Dr. Stevens and five other members of the Essex County Veterans Advisory Board with military experience with the Essex County Community Star Award. “We are proud to stand with our veterans at this important occasion, give them our respect and thank them for representing our country with valor and bravery,” said the County Executive.
Dr. Stevens is on the Advisory Board of the Veterans for Peace, a member of the American Legion Guyton Callahan Post 153 in Newark, and a co-founder and member of the Servicewomen’s Action Network.
After receiving her Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, Dr. Stevens went on to earn both a Master’s degree and a PhD from Brown University. She participated in a management development program at Harvard University.
She is on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, Board of Trustees of the Newark Historical Landmarks and Preservation Committee, and is a member of the Ivy Hill Neighborhood Association. She is the proud mother of a nearly 5-year-old son, Jahsiri.
Over 60 Essex County College students and faculty donned rain gear and headed to Verona Park recently to take part in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Essex County “Out of the Darkness” Walk and Workshop. The ECC contingent, dubbed Essex County College Community Activist Team, was led by the Student Nursing Organization, said Nursing Professor Jennifer Chapman. The walk was held on Sunday, October 29.
“It was really a sight to admire the commitment of our students as they collaborated with members of the organization. This year we had the opportunity to have a booth that showcased information on suicide awareness/prevention and our College’s community programs,” said Professor Chapman. She added that this was an excellent example of the College’s commitment to the community, especially as ECC celebrates its 55th anniversary.
Professor Chapman thanked the work of other ECC departments in making the day a success. These included the Student Life & Activities Office, Educational Opportunity Fund and the Welcome Center.
2023 Division II, Region 19 Women's Soccer champions
ECC’s Women’s Soccer team captured the 2023 Division II, Region 19 championship with a 2-1 victory over Mercer County Community College on Saturday, October 28. The triumph avenges an early season loss to Mercer.
The win propels ECC into the Northeast District Championship game on Saturday, November 4 against Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) – Essex. The game will be played at the CCBC Dundalk Campus in Maryland.
“Our first game we lost to Mercer 7-2 due to injuries and missing a few players. But we keep pushing and moving forward, never letting our guard down; just having this hunger from where we have been from the beginning feels different,” said Coach Monique Edouard, an ECC alumna. “At the end of the day we are champions, and I am extremely proud of them.”
Nisrine Taalbe got the Lady Wolverines on the scoreboard midway through the first period. Tiffany Escobar’s tally just before halftime proved to be the game winner. Liana Arias made five saves in the victory.
“This is great news. I wish the team much success going forward. Our student-athletes have made our entire College proud,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
The winner of the November 4 game advances to the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship tournament in Tucson, Arizona.
Both the ECC Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams will be at Mercer County Community College on Saturday, October 28, competing in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 19 playoffs.
The Men’s team, coached by Tiago Dos Santos, will face Mercer at 10 a.m. in a semi-final contest. The winner of that game will face the winner of the Lackawanna College-Massasoit CC contest for the Region 19, Division II title.
Coach Monique Edouard’s Lady Wolverines square off against Mercer at 3 p.m. in the finals with the winner capturing the regional crown.
Sophomore Taina Gervais has been named Region 19 Women’s Player of the Year. Taina led the region with 14 goals in just eight game, including an amazing 7 scores in one game. She is ranked 33rd nationally in goals scored.
Sophomore defender Jonie Gabriel and freshman midfield Stacyann Clair were also named to the All-Region 19 team.
Sophomore forward Jaiden Miller was named to the Men’s All-Region 19 team.
Essex County College was well represented on Sunday, October 15, at the American Cancer Society’s 26th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Newark.The Essex County College Pacesetters contingent of 90 participants raised $1,539 (as of October 16) for cancer research.
“We surpassed our original fundraising goal in just three weeks, ranking 18th out of 375 teams. We were the only college in the top 20 and that’s especially gratifying as we celebrate 55 Year of Student Success,” said Nursing Professor Jennifer Chapman, who spearheaded ECC’s efforts.
Professor Chapman credited the full team of Essex County Collège Community Supporters for making ECC’s effort an overwhelming success. Departments involved included Student Affairs, Student Life & Activities Office, Student Development and Counseling, Student Nursing Organization, and the Student Step Team.
During the walk, the team chanted “ECC standing strong. We are proof, breast cancer takes the boot!”
Essex County College is the recipient of an $80,000 two-year grant aimed at addressing the basic support service needs of college students. ECC is part of a consortium with three other state community colleges (Union, Sussex and Camden) working with the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) to develop viable support services to allow students the chance to continue their education.
The grant money is from the Livingston-based private Tepper Foundation.
Dr. Keith Kirkland, Dean of Student Affairs, said ECC recently hosted an initial planning meeting with officials from the colleges, NJCCC and the Tepper Foundation. “We are already providing a multitude of support services and this grant will enable us to expand assistance to more of our students,” he said.
In a report from NJCCC’s Center for Student Success, the four major areas of concern of the state’s community college students are hunger, child care, housing and mental health.
Dr. Kirkland said support services ECC currently provides include:
“We plan to use the grant money for a campus awareness campaign, augment existing programs and explore new initiatives,” stated Dr. Kirkland. He added that the Tepper Foundation will use additional funds to provide the colleges with specialist assistance and other support.
According to the Center for Student Success, “Funding, statewide supports, and enhancements to current Federal and State policies would enable community colleges to better meet students’ basic needs, and ultimately support more students in earning post-secondary credentials that lead to economic mobility.”
The grand opening of Essex County College’s West Essex campus wrote a new chapter in its 55 years of service to the community. The heavy rain on Friday, September 29, didn’t dampen the enthusiasm inside the new West Caldwell campus building during the grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremony.
“Today is a joyous day,” declared Dr. Elvy Vieira, Dean of Community, Continuing Education, Workforce Development & West Essex Campus, as she welcomed the over 200 guests who filled the campus’ Multipurpose Room. Guests included Gov. Phil Murphy and wife Tammy, and Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
The new building is a 51,700 square foot, two-story structure at 730 Bloomfield Avenue in West Caldwell. It sits on the site of the original campus, a converted 100-year-old elementary school. That building was razed two years ago when construction on the new campus began.
“Back in September of 2021, nearly two years to the day, we gathered to celebrate the start of a new chapter of ECC with a groundbreaking for this building. Now, just two years later, we have an exciting new campus and we look forward to our next journey,” said Marion A. Bolden, Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.
“We have solidified our One College, Two Great Campuses vision. Today also marks the official kickoff of our 55 Years of Service to the Community,” stated ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye. “This new, state-of-the-art campus is our fulfillment of our vision of transforming lives,” he added.
Dr. Boakye thanked Gov. Murphy, County Executive DiVincenzo, and County Board of Commissioners for their support in helping make the new campus a reality. Mohamed Seddiki, ECC Executive Dean of IT & Operations/CIO, oversaw the project.
“There is no better example of the extraordinary community college system that we have in this great state of New Jersey than Essex County College,” said Gov. Murphy.
In addition to state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, the new campus includes:
· A 350-vehicle parking deck with a walkway to the main building
· Soccer field for both the College’s Men’s and Women’s teams as well as local high schools
State Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz praised the work ECC is doing for the upcoming generations of students. “It’s the community colleges that are helping people who need the financial and other support to succeed,” she stated.
The audience heard heartfelt praise for the College from ECC Student Government President Yadira Rosales and alumna Annabel Straker (Class of 2021.
Adding to the day’s festivities was a Power 105.1 FM radio stand, provided by iHeart Media, offering up music and giveaways to students.
The College’s Office of Institutional Advancement conducted an Instagram Live and Facebook Live tour of the building with four students and hosted by Alfred Bundy, Executive Director for Institutional Advancement. Participating students included Yadira Rosales, Mark Anifowose, Laila Lawal, and Samirah Scantling.
The Instagram Live tour featured a greeting from Platinum recording artist and actress Naturi Naughton, who grew up in East Orange. The heavy rain prevented Ms. Naughton, who now lives in Brooklyn, from attending the grand opening.
Essex County College and the Essex County College Foundation will co-sponsor its 23rd annual Golf & Tennis Scholarship Tournament on Monday, October 16, 2023, at the Maplewood Country Club in Maplewood. The tournament, a key source of money for scholarships, features round-robin play in both golf and tennis.
“The money raised at the tournament will help our most deserving students earn a valuable college education and take the next step forward to achieving their dreams. That has been our mission at Essex County College for 55 years,” stated ECC President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
The tournament presents an excellent opportunity for companies to use the event as a vehicle for community building while supporting a good cause. It’s also fun for individuals who enjoy playing a round of golf or a lively tennis match.
The day’s activities begin with a brunch at 10:30 a.m. and extend through the day, culminating with a reception and awards dinner at the club. A highlight of the evening is the heartfelt testimonies of former Essex students who were able to attend college in part because they were scholarship beneficiaries.
There is still time for players and sponsors to sign up for the popular event. Individuals can sign up to golf for $275 per person, or for tennis at $200 per person. There are also a number of prize incentives, such as longest drive, offered at the tournament. Donations of all sizes will also assist students. Checks should be made payable to the Essex County College Scholarship Fund.
For more information on the scholarship tournament go to http://www.essex.edu/golftennis/
Tournament information is also available by contacting Dr. Leigh Bello at (973) 877-3484 or via email: [email protected]
Nayale Green (left) in her cosmetology workshop
Jakai Price displays his clothing brand ideas
For three weeks this summer, 60 high school students from Newark came to Essex County College for four hours a day for the opportunity to learn marketable skills. They attended workshops aimed at boosting their confidence and demonstrating the many business paths available to them.
These enterprising teens, who received $15 an hour for participating, were all part of the Safe Summer Academy 2023. The Academy was organized by the Changemakers Program, in collaboration with Newark’s Office of Violence Prevention & Trauma Recovery, said Program Director Dr. Jamila T. Davis, an educator, community activist and entrepreneur. She was assisted by Civil Rights Attorney Angelo Pinto.
The students were paid through Newark’s One Stop Summer Youth Program, providing them with financial support and teaching them the importance of responsibility and work ethic, stated Dr. Davis.
The workshops at the Academy included Social Justice Writing, Teen Entrepreneurship, Cosmetology, and Graphic Design.
Serena Hazelwood, from Newark Street Academy, signed up for the Graphic Design workshops. She has started a clothing and accessory line, and is exploring options to market her startup. “This program has really helped me in creating a website and exploring ways I can advance my business,” she said. Serena proudly displayed one of her creations, a shirt emblazoned with Only the Raw Survive and a lion sporting a star over one of his eyes. “The shirt symbolizes that with passion, you can overcome life’s struggles and obstacles.”
Arts High School student Jalen Williams registered for the program to help provide him with ideas on starting a business to sell t-shirts. He said he came up with several shirt designs from his comic books. Jalen is confident the skills he leered at the Academy will help him going forward in business.
Zaniyah Austin, a student at University High School, hopes her journal writing on gun violence will help curb the scourge. “This program is certainly improving my writing skills and I hope to be able to use any forum I can to help combat gun violence,” she said.
Dr. Davis said the workshop instructors were carefully selected. “Their success stories served as inspiration for the students, showing them what is possible with hard work and determination,” she stated.
At the end of the three weeks, the student presented their work to a panel of judges. The student winners received up to $500 each to help start their own businesses.
“The Safe Summer Academy 2023 was a transformative experience for the participating students. By equipping them with valuable skills and exposing them to successful role models in their respective fields, the program aimed to inspire and empower the students to pursue their passions and achieve success,” Dr. Davis said.
Registration for the Fall I 2023 Semester at both of Essex County College’s campuses is underway. The College’s Fall I Semester starts Wednesday, August 30, 2023. Registration is open through August 29 with late registration until September 8.
Fall I classes run through December 18, 2023. Weekend College classes will be held from September 1 to December 16. Fall II classes are scheduled from October 5 to December 19.
Classes will be held at both the Newark campus and newly reopened West Essex campus in West Caldwell.
“We are confident that you will find courses that will fit your schedule at either of our two great campuses. Our goal is to ensure you have all the options and support you need for your educational pursuits,” said Dr. Alvin Williams, Executive Dean of Faculty and Academics.
For more information please click on this link: https://www.essex.edu/registration/. Students may qualify for free tuition through the state Community College Opportunity Grant program. Go to https://www.essex.edu/tuitionfree/ to see how to qualify. Additional registration information is available through the College’s Welcome Center at 973-877-4477 or the West Essex campus at 973-877-6594.
“Essex County College offers more than 50 Associate degree programs and Academic Certificates in a wide range of disciplines. Essex graduates transfer as juniors to many New Jersey colleges and universities, as well as top schools around the country. Register early to get the classes you want,” stated Dr. Williams.
“Our College offers high quality and affordable educational opportunities. Our many support services help students stay on track to graduate and realize their dreams. We also offer Workforce Development programs. Essex County College is celebrating 55 years of success,” said ECC President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
Laptop bags displayed by, from left, Adult Learning Center Director Judith Celestin; Omarion Jett Dobbs from Guardian Data Destruction; and ECC Adult Basic Education Teacher Advisors Rebecca Feit-Klein and Renae Brown
Students in Essex County College’s Adult Learning Center (ALC) now have laptop bags to carry their electronic devices to and from class, thanks to a donation to the College. Guardian Data Destruction, South Hackensack, donated 177 laptop bags to ALC in two deliveries this summer.
"We extend our deepest gratitude to Guardian Data Destruction for their generous donation of laptop bags. These laptop bags will make a significant difference in the lives of our students, enabling them to safeguard their valuable technology and carry it with ease. Guardian Data Destruction's support is a shining example of how businesses can positively impact communities and we are truly thankful for their partnership in our mission. Together, we can create a brighter and more connected future for all,” said ALC Director Judith Celestin.
Guardian Data Destruction disposes of no longer needed electronics, dubbed end of life computers and IT assets, for companies, said Sarah Damaskos, Marketing Strategist for Guardian. “Sometimes there are laptop bags with the devices in the shipments we receive. Rather than just get rid of the bags, we look to where the items will do the most good,” she stated.
Ms. Damaskos said donating the bags to the ALC is an example of “Environmental Social Governance,” in which provides sustainability. So rather than the laptop bags being destroyed, they are “recycled” to someone who can use it.
The bags were subsequently taken to Montclair-based Laptop Upcycle before heading to ECC. The College has an existing partnership with Laptop Upcycle. Laptop Upcycle is a Montclair, NJ based division of HackNCraftNJ, Inc. Last year, ALC became a Laptop Upcycle location and through this partnership, the organization donated laptops and Wi-Fi devices to the ALC program.
The Adult Learning Center services students who are working toward their high school diploma, U.S. citizenship, Microsoft Office certification, or taking English as a Second Language classes.
Laptop Upcycle @ EssexCountyCollege-ALC, welcomes donation as part of its goal is to provide laptops, laptop bags and/or Wi-Fi device to its students in need of technology.
ECC President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye
Dr. Leigh Bello talks about student services
SWEP participants touring campus
More than 100 East Orange teens learned what opportunities are available with a college education following a visit to Essex County College. The high school students who visited ECC on Thursday, July 13, are all participants in the East Orange Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP).
“When you start your higher education at Essex County College, you can finish your first two years of college with no student debt. That’s very important. This is a big opportunity for you; the door is open for you to become our future leaders,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
The teens learned about ECC’s academic and student support, student life and activities offerings, and what financial aid is available to them. They toured the Newark campus with stops in the Information Commons, Center for Technology, Nursing Simulation Lab, Dasher Student Center, Training, Inc., and the Cleo Hill Sr. Physical Education Building.
There are 500 teens, ages 14 to 18, participating in SWEP this summer. They are working at such locations as East Orange City Hall, East Orange Fire Department and private businesses, said LaDonna Johns, Manager of the East Orange Office of Employment & Training. She said SWEP is an initiative of East Orange Mayor Ted R. Green and the East Orange City Council.
“It’s important for our young people to have the opportunity to visit a campus and to see firsthand what a college looks like,” said Ms. Johns.
Dr. Jamila Davis, who facilitated the students’ visit, said, “Coming to a college campus can be life changing. It’s a chance for them to see what’s available, attainable and affordable. I hope after today that some of the youngsters make Essex County College their home,” she said. Dr. Davis is founder of the educational organization “Be the Changemakers.”
Dr. Davis was joined at ECC by attorney Angelo Pinto, also from “Be the Changemakers.” He said the goal of the visit was to provide the SWEP participants access to affordable higher education.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) has reaffirmed the accreditation of Essex County College (ECC) for the next eight years. The next eight-year reaccreditation evaluation will occur in the academic year 2030-2031.
The MSCHE recently announced the accreditation reaffirmation after finding ECC to be in full compliance with each of the Commission’s 15 Requirements of Affiliation and 7 Standards of Accreditation. The announcement follows the College’s extensive multi-year self-study process and an MSCHE small team site visit to the Newark campus this past March.
“This reaccreditation is a testament to our commitment to our Mission, thus providing ‘Access to Success’ through comprehensive educational programs and workforce development. We are grateful to the Commission for providing guidance. I extend my appreciation to the ECC Board of Trustees, all the stakeholders, and the College community for their team effort throughout the accreditation process and beyond,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
Dr. Boakye added that the self-study was an intensive effort engaged in by more than 100 members of the ECC community over the past several years, which included administrators, staff, full-time and adjunct faculty, and students.
“From the implementation of the Self-Study, to the evaluation team’s visit, to the Commission’s reaffirmation of accreditation, the entire process has been rewarding and acknowledges that Essex County College is on track and achieving its Vision, Mission and Values to effectively serve students and community with excellence,” said Ms. Marion A. Bolden, Chair of the ECC Board of Trustees.
Essex County College’s approach, as outlined in its Self-Study Design and Self-Study Report was to “challenge itself to faithfully abide by two simple guiding principles: to make the process a fully inclusive, college-wide endeavor, and to embrace the process as an opportunity for institutional renewal through self-appraisal, self-reflection, and bold action.”
Under this inclusive and transparent approach, the institution held regular College-wide Town Halls for both students and College employees. The Board of Trustees were briefed regularly on the progress of the self-study by President Boakye and members of his leadership team. Members of the Board also met with representatives from the Commission including the Evaluation Team on multiple occasions.
Essex County College earned commendations from the Evaluation Team, which applauded the institution for its transformational progress in spite of an extraordinarily challenging Covid-19 pandemic. In the Evaluation Team’s Report to the Commission, the College received recognition of accomplishments and progress for several exemplary and innovative practices.
Commendations were in such areas as
As per their website, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, “is a global institutional accreditor recognized by the United States Secretary of Education since 1952,” ensuring students and the public of “the educational quality for over 500 institutions of higher education.” Its rigorous process for accreditation ensures “institutional accountability, self-appraisal, improvement, and innovation through peer review” as well as its application of “standards within the context of institutional mission.”
The Commission’s Self-Study Evaluation Team concluded its report with: “As a MSCHE Evaluation Team, we are inspired by your unwavering dedication to your students, faculty, staff, and the community.”
Diaine Watson’s association with Essex County College began in 2018 in the College’s Adult Learning Center. Having moved to the United States from Jamaica, Diaine was determined to first earn her high school diploma on her way to a better life.
“If you have a goal and a vision, get up, show up, and do it,” Diaine said. After earning her high school diploma, Diaine went on to become an ECC student. She graduated in 2021 with her Associate degree in Social Science.
Now a student at Montclair State University, the Newark resident is the recipient of a New Jersey Association for Lifelong Learning (NJALL) scholarship. Diaine was recognized by the NJALL in a virtual ceremony on June 16. The full value of the scholarship is $2,000.
A Family Science & Human Development major at Montclair State University, Diaine is on track to graduate with her Bachelor’s degree this coming December. The mother of three sons, her goal is to become a special needs elementary school teacher. One of her sons is autistic and has helped empower her passion of becoming an educator.
“Diaine used every opportunity to expand her knowledge and acquire the skills needed to further her educational pursuits. Her passion for education has led her to begin the journey to fulfill her dream of becoming an educator. When the time comes, I believe the lives of her students will be enriched for having had her as a teacher,” said Judith Celestin, Director of ECC’s Adult Learning Center.
Diaine credits Adult Learning Center Teacher Adviser Tamalois Axt for encouraging her to continue her education after earning the high school diploma. “Ms. Axt told me you can do whatever you set your mind to do,” she recalled. She also encouraged Diaine to apply for the NJALL scholarship.
“I knew I met the scholarship criteria, so I took a leap of faith and applied. The scholarship will certainly help.”
Diaine has come a long way from the day she enrolled in the Adult learning Center. “Essex County College not only motivated me to come out of my comfort zone, but the faculty and environment changed me in a way I needed to change. ECC helped make me to become more confident in myself and my abilities. I will always be grateful to ECC.”
Essex County College is also a family affair. Diaine proudly saw her oldest son Kevin graduate this June from ECC with Highest Honors and an Associate in New Media Technology.
Standing, from left, Dr. Akil Khalfani and Dr. Augustine A. Boakye. Seated, Dr. Angela R. Garretson and Mr. Lawrence Hamm.
Dr. Akil Khalfani shows some of the items on display in the Africana Institute
Artwork in recognition of Juneteenth on display in the Africana Institute
Juneteenth was observed at Essex County College with a Juneteenth Reflection panel discussion on Thursday, June 15. Moderated by ECC Africana Institute Director Dr. Akil Khalfani, the program offered perspectives and the importance on Juneteenth from Dr. Angela R. Garretson (Chief External Affairs Officer at NJIT) and Mr. Lawrence Hamm (Chair of the People’s Organization for Progress).
The Juneteenth Reflection and art exhibition was sponsored by the Africana Institute. The exhibition is on display through June 23 in the Africana Institute, 2nd Floor of the College’s Newark campus.
Juneteenth is an annual holiday observing the end of slavery in the United States. It marks the day (June 19, 1865) when news of emancipation reached people in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy in Galveston, Texas.
“No one gave us Juneteenth. We struggled and with determination made it happen. June 19 was a seminal event at the conclusion of the most catastrophic ware ever fought in the country. It’s what it took to end slavery. But to has taken another 150 years for this country to have a holiday recognizing the abolition of slavery,” said Mr. Hamm.
Dr. Garretson said that education is a crucial tool for people to understand the importance of Juneteenth.
ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, said the College will build on the programs recognizing Juneteenth. “Through education, more people will learn about the importance of Juneteenth, and we are doing it right here at Essex County College.”
Students working with a drone
Using potatoes to light up a digital clock
Keynote speaker Jocelyn Allen
The purpose of Teentech 2023 was to encourage young women to further their education in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. Based on the reactions from the 75 Newark high school girls who recently spent a day at Essex County College (ECC) participating in Teentech 2023, it was mission accomplished.
The all-day event was co-sponsored by ECC and the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The guests were students from Weequahic, Westside and the Newark School of Fashion & Design High schools.
The students took part in a series of hands-on science workshops conducted by ECC faculty.
In one workshop, ECC Physics Professor Nadia Lvov demonstrated how to turn a small digital clock on using wires pushed into potatoes, lemons, and small cups of soda. The girls were paired into teams. “I’ve seen this on TV but it’s the first time I’m actually doing it,” said one of the Westside High School students. Her classmate agreed as they successfully got their clock to light up.
In the College’s Center for Technology, the students worked with Professor Teryn Cha using Python programming language to fly a small drone. Slowly, each team of students were able to get their drone to liftoff, with one even going up against the ceiling.
Other workshops included DNA extraction from strawberries, making fragrance soaps and learning about food allergies. The students were able to take part in each of the workshops over the course of the day.
Freelance webmaster Jocelyn Allen was keynote speaker. She said that networking is a key to success and to have confidence in one’s self. “Rejection is merely a redirection. Remember, you are your role model,” she said.
Dr. Stephanie Falana served as Chairperson of the day’s events. “Today, you will learn about so many opportunities that you didn’t even know about. Keep striving and you will get to where you want to go,” she told the students.
Following the program, Dr. Falana said, “I am grateful for the diligence and dedication of the ECC faculty and staff, the AAUW volunteers, and our keynote speaker Ms. Jocelyn Allen for making today a success.”
ECC President Dr. Augustine Boakye is flanked by Valedictorian Zachary Miller and Salutatorian Yulanda Spencer
Assistant Marshals (from left) Favour Ogbinaka, Yen Pham, Rafiatou Bikienga, Lissette Fuentes and Jesutomi Ayetan
Proud members of the Class of 2023
NJ State Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz address the Class of 2023
Essex County College’s 54th annual Commencement was held on Friday, June 2 with 1,096 graduates receiving their hard-earned Associate degrees. The ceremony was held at Newark’s Prudential Center.
“Our class made it through the Covid-19 pandemic. We overcame so many struggles to succeed with unique stories on our journeys to get to this point. We are now ready to take on the world’s expanding technologies,” said class Valedictorian Zachary Miller. The Engineering major, with a 4.0 grade point average, is heading to Cornell University this Fall.
Yulanda Spencer, a Criminal Justice major, served as Salutatorian. She also has a 4.0 GPA and has transferred to Rutgers University-Newark School of Criminal Justice.
In her keynote address, New Jersey Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz talked about the power of education. “Opportunity comes in different ways. The question is, are you ready for the opportunity. I want you to be successful in life. We all must contribute to the fabric of this country.” Senator Ruiz received an honorary Essex County College Associate degree.
ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, presided over the Commencement.
There were five Assistant Marshals in the Class of 2203: Jesutomi Ayetan (Biology, Pre-Medicine with a 4.0 average); Rafiatou Bikienga (Biology, Pre-Medicine with a 3.95 average); Lissette Fuentes (Accounting with a 4.0 average); Favour Ogbinaka (Engineering with a 3.95 average), and Yen Pham (General Science with a 4.0 average) have the honor of leading today’s processional.
The youngest graduate in the class was Zainab Folarin, 18, with an Associate degree in General Science. The oldest new alumna was Mary Moore, 68, with a degree in Liberal Arts.
Biology Professor Dr. Frank Duroy served as this year’s Grand Marshal. Congratulatory greetings were also given by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and Maria Heidkamp, from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges.
Among this year’s graduates were 107 high school students in the College’s Dual Enrollment program. They represented Newark East Side High School (67 in Liberal Arts), Essex County Schools of Technology – Newark Tech (24 in Liberal Arts), Orange High School (5 in Liberal Arts), and Newark West Side High School (11 in Business Administration). They were recognized during the ceremony and called up by name to receive their degrees.
Three members of the Class of 2023 have the distinction of being inducted into the highly selective New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association (NJCBAA) Honor Society. The NJCBAA is reserved for the top one percent of undergraduate students from both two and four year colleges and universities pursuing degrees in business.
Aanyah Cox (Business Administration), Lissette Fuentes (Accounting), and Michael Serrano (Business Administration) are this year’s inductees from Essex County College.
“It is such an honor to be inducted into NJCBAA. I was very excited when I learned I would be a part of this prestigious group,” said Aanyah, who has transferred to the Rutgers University School in Newark. The Newark resident’s goal is to become a CPA. She earned a 3.92 grade point average at ECC.
Lissette, who has a perfect 4.0 GPA, is one of the Class of 2023’s Assistant Marshals. “I was very surprised when I got word I was selected. I want to thank the faculty at ECC for helping me achieve this honor.” She is transferring to Thomas Edison State University.
Michael, a U.S. Army veteran from Bloomfield who graduated with a 3.95 GPA, said “I’ve received so much support from my time at ECC. I’m glad I started here.” He has transferred to Rutgers University-Newark, where he is majoring in Management Information Systems.
“Congratulations to our newest NJCBAA Honor Society inductees. This is wonderful and outstanding news,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
“The professors in the Business Division have been instrumental in bringing out the best in our students and challenging them to achieve new heights. In previous years, our students have gone on to represent the top one percent at their four-year university for the same award,” said Professor Germaine Albuquerque, Chair of the Business Division.
Students gathered at the bright green and gold awning outside the Clara Dasher Student Center under sunny skies to take advantage of the Essex County College Farmers Market held on Thursday, May 16.
Over the course of just a few hours, ECC’s Office of Student Care Services distributed for free over a ton (2,071 pounds) of fruits and vegetables to 158 students. The food giveaway was funded through the Hunger Free grant from the state Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, said Dr. Leigh Bello, Associate Dean of Student Affairs/Special Projects, Office of Student Affairs.
“I love it. I always stop by after class whenever there is a food giveaway,” said Isabel, as she presented her full basket for weighing after selecting her fruits and vegetables from bins placed on tables. The bins were continually filled during the giveaway.
The May 16 Farmers Market was the first food giveaway for Gene. “I will be back,” he promised after having his basket weighed.
The next Farmers Market is scheduled for June 8, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dr. Bello said the fruits and vegetables Farmers Market was the first of this kind the College has conducted. She said the office conducts free food giveaways throughout the year with various “grab and go” items, sandwiches and breakfast items. There are also Open Food Pantry Days. “These are all designed to provide healthy foods for our students,” she said.
Fruits available ranged from bananas and honey dew melons, to mangoes and strawberries. Just a few of the vegetables offered were carrots, corn, cucumbers, onions, spinach and tomatoes.
Professor Cassandra Johnson
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. At Essex County College, the mental health of students is a 12-month commitment.
“Mental health matters. Academic success intertwines with both a person’s physical and mental health. So, if a student is experiencing stress, is anxious, depressed or having a mental health crisis, we are here for you,” said Mental Health Counselor Cassandra Johnson, a professor in the College’s Office of Student Development & Counseling.
She said the College has partnered with Uwill a Tele-Mental Health agency for students who may be experiencing a mental health crisis. Students can call 1800-646-1526 to reach a mental health provider 24/7/365 free of charge.
The College has also partnered with several Essex County agencies for students who are not comfortable with telehealth counseling. The in-person service is free of charge, whether or not a student has insurance, she said.
“Students can meet with our ECC counselors at both the Newark campus and our new West Essex campus, opening for the Fall 2023 Semester. We are here to talk, help and offer referrals, when necessary,” Professor Johnson said. Counselors are available Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The counselors are in Room 4122 at the Newark campus.
“Our goal is to provide our students with insightful therapy to help them reach their social, emotional, as well as psychological well-being. In that way, they will be better empowered and able to achieve their academic goals,” she said.
Professor Johnson can be contacted at [email protected] or 973-877-3184.
Rising high school juniors and seniors can earn college credits at Essex County College's Early College Summer Camp 2023. The program runs from July 10 to August 17.
"The program is for those students interested in college after graduating high school,” said Dr. Elvy Vieira, Dean of ECC's Office of Community, Continuing Education & Workforce Development. The program is offered free through funding from the State Office of Higher Education and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, she said.
“Summer Camp 2023 is an excellent opportunity for high school students to receive academic enrichment, experience college life and learn more about what Essex County College has to offer,” Dr. Vieira said of the popular program.
"Our Early College program provides future college students with a foundation to better succeed at the next level of their education," said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
Students will have a great opportunity to take college courses in College Composition I and College Success Seminar, earn college credits, participate in college and career exploration, as well as professional and social skills workshops.
High school students interested in Summer Camp 2023 should contact their high school guidance counselor or Essex County College's Pre-College Readiness Program Coordinator Yelena Pirtskhalava at 973-877-1899, [email protected]
From left: Nickson Ekekwe, Bolaji Falade, Calixte Abanda, Dr. Nidhal Marashi, ECC President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Keith Kirkland, Elizabeth Bakare, and Rafiatou Bikienga
Members of the Essex County College Chemical Society did themselves proud at the recent annual American Chemical Society (ACS) Meeting & Exposition in Indianapolis.
The ECC team received the ACS Commendable Award and the Green Chemistry Award. ECC Chemistry Professor and ECC Chemical Society Advisor Dr. Nidhal Marashi said most of the American and international colleges and universities at the event were four year institutions. “That’s what made our showing even more impressive,” she stated.
Chapter President Calixte Abanda & Secretary Rafiatou Bikienga accepted the awards for the College.
“Congratulations to all our students and Dr. Marashi on this outstanding achievement. You made us all proud,” said ECC’s President, Dr Augustine A. Boakye.
Dr. Marashi said the event provided the students with the opportunity to network with professionals in the chemical fields and to get to know their peers. She said the Society’s volunteer work at off-campus science fairs, on campus programs and activities such as planting trees in local neighborhoods contributed to their success at the ACS event.
Silvia Huerta Lopez, Essex County College Class of 2014, is the recipient of a $90,000 award from the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. She is one of only 30 recipients out of nearly 2,000 applicants to receive the 2023 Fellowship.
Silvia, who is in the Harvard Medical School joint Harvard-MIT MD/PhD program, applied for the Fellowship last Fall upon hearing about it from someone she works with in the school lab. “At that point, I just said to myself I hope I get it and I waited, she recalled. She was notified in early April, prior to the formal announcement from the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.
“Congratulations to Silvia Huerta Lopez. All of us at ECC are very proud of her. Her accomplishments are a testament to the strong academics and student support we provide at Essex County College,” said ECC President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
“It’s amazing to receive this Fellowship. To me, what’s so special is that the Fellowship is for immigrants and children of immigrants,” said Silvia, who was born in rural Mexico. Her family came to the United States when Silvia was 6, settling in Perth Amboy, NJ, a city with a large Spanish speaking population, which helped ease the transition of uprooting from another country.
After earning her A.S. in Biology, Pre-Medicine, Silvia received a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship worth, at the time, $90,000. She transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2017. The Fellowship will go a long way toward Silvia being able to earn her doctorate in Neurobiology, she said.
Since the Fellowship’s founding 25 years ago, the program has provided more than $80 million in funding, and recipients have studied a wide range of fields from medicine, the arts, law and business.
“My and Paul’s experiences as immigrants informed our desire to give back by investing in the accomplishments of New Americans. It has been a joy to see how our Fellows leverage their education over the years to make a deep impact across communities. I’m delighted to welcome this year’s Fellowship class. As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of Paul’s passing, it is gratifying to see how his legacy lives on through every Fellow,” said Co-Founder Daisy Soros.
While at Harvard, Silvia co-founded Quetzales de Salud, a non-profit organization that aims to improve access to primary medical care for undocumented immigrants through medical accompaniment. The organization supports Spanish-speaking patients through one-on-one phone calls with medical trainees before, during, and after clinic appointments or hospitalizations to ensure they have the resources and services to receive quality medical care.
Once she completes her Doctorate studies, Silvia wants to work with underserved communities and immigrant populations.
“Essex County College provided me with a solid foundation to help me work toward my goals and dream. I owe so much to ECC and all the people I met while a student,” said Silvia.
The visit to Essex County College by His Majesty, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, Okyenhene, from the Ghanaian Akyem Abuakwa State on Friday, April 21, will not be forgotten by all who saw the awe-inspiring procession and heard the King’s words. The visit mixed both centuries old traditions and a 21st Century outlook by His Majesty, who assumed the Ofori Panin Stool (throne) in 1999, following the death of his brother.
The historic was on full display as the King and his entourage entered the Newark campus and moved across the College’s main forum in a slow procession accompanied by the sounds of a flute and the steady beat of drums. A member of his entourage was entrusted with a golden staff, topped with a leopard and the Ofori Panin Stool. When the staff is raised, that means the King is about to speak.
Accompanied by his wife (Nana Asabea Ofori-Atta), the King spoke at a small gathering in the College’s Africana Institute followed by a public program in Smith Hall.
During his address, the 35th royal ruler of Akyem Abuakwa talked about the history of his country – before, during and after European colonialism - and what the future can offer. “Hope for all will come when we make investments in education. The best use of technology is through the education of all people. But we can’t do that if we leave our women behind. Change is not for the faint of heart; we must prepare a better future for our children.”
The King is a proponent of equal rights and education for all citizens, and protection of natural resources.
The Akyem royal lineage goes back to the 13th Century. The Rev. DeForest “Buster” Soaries noted that His Majesty has broken a royal tradition of rulers having a number of wives. “He has distinguished himself; his wife with him today is his only wife,” the former New Jersey Secretary of State said to applause from the audience.
ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, said the College has students from more than 32 nations, including many from Ghana. “I was very pleased when I learned that His Majesty would come to our College during his short visit to the United States. We have a rich history and culture to teach the next generation,” said Dr. Boakye, who was born and raised in Kiamasi, Ghana. ECC President Emeritus, Dr. A. Zachary Yamba, who took part in the program, was also born in Ghana.
The visit to ECC was coordinated by Dr. Akil Khalfani, Director of the College’s Africana Institute and Sociology Professor. “We think the distances between our countries is so great. But the land never ceases beneath the ocean, so we are always connected. We have to understand our long histories for us to continue to exist,” stated Dr. Khalfani.
Other guests included Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark Deputy Mayor Ligia DeFreitas, and former Akyem Association of New Jersey President Richard Antwi Bosiako.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, His Majesty was presented with an ECC gift basket and a plaque. In turn, the College received a book on the history of the royal Akyem and a colorful mask symbolizing leadership.
In 2001, the College welcomed another king from Ghana on the occasion of the African Institute opening. Then President Dr. Yamba hosted His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, of Ghana’s Asante Kingdom.
Renee C. Burgess, (Essex County College Class of 1999) is passionate about public service. She is a former member of the Board of Education and Township Council in her hometown of Irvington. She now holds the position of New Jersey State Senator for the 28th Legislative District.
“My time at Essex County College (earning an Associate degree in Business Administration) prepared me for the financial career I have had. Graduating from ECC was one of my life’s biggest milestone,” she stated.
From ECC, Senator Burgess went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Pillar College and a Master’s in Public Affairs and Administration from Metropolitan College of New York. She has worked for Merck Pharmaceutical and CIT Financial.
She was selected to fill the unexpired 28th District seat of Ronald L. Rice, himself an ECC alumnus, last September. Senator Burgess won the special election last November for the term that runs through 2023. Senator Rice passed away on March 15, 2023. The district encompasses all or parts of Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Newark, and Nutley.
“My goal, as a whole, is to create unity in our melting pot of cultures, especially in my Legislative District. It’s important to focus on women’s rights, help for our senior citizens, provide health education for all ages, and prevent gun violence. I want to be in a position where I can better serve our residents.” Her state committee assignments largely align with her goals.
Senator Burgess served from 2002 to 2014 on the Irvington Board of Education, including a time as President. She is most proud of spearheading an initiative for students in all grades to wear school uniforms.
While on the Township Council, she worked to maintain vital services and public safety, along with developing senior citizen programs. She also provided needed support for the new football field at Irvington High School.
To today’s students, Senator Burgess said, “Stay motivated and focus on education. It’s important to give back to the community and never forget from where you came.”
Yadira Rosales, ECC’s Student Government Association (SGA) President, has been honored with the 2023 Essex County Althea Gibson Leadership Award. Yadira received the award at Essex County’s Women’s History Month event on Wednesday, March 22. The annual program is organized by Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
“What an honor it is to receive this award. I wouldn’t be standing here today without the strong women who have come before me,” Yadira, a Computer Science major from Bloomfield, told the audience at the County’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Building.
Yadira was nominated for the award by ECC Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Keith Kirkland for her commitment to issues aimed at improving people’s lives.
The SGA President is active with the organization Citizens’ Climate Lobby, an international grassroots environmental group. “I eventually want to work with companies who advocate for communities affected by climate change, as well as drawing attention to our environmental crisis through apps and websites. I would like to help people stay informed on the ways change affect our everyday lives and things we can do to help our planet.”
From an environmental standpoint, Yadira also volunteered for the Newark Water Coalition.
Three students from the Essex County Vocational High Schools also were recognized at the March 22 program.
The pairings for the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIX Men’s and Women’s Basketball playoffs have been announced and both ECC teams will take to the road this Thursday, February 23.
The Wolverines Men’s team, with a Region XIX 3 seed, will visit second seeded Lackawanna (Scranton, PA) with tipoff at 7 p.m. The 13-13 team is coached by Bobbie Morgan.
The 17-8 Women’s team earned a 4 seed and will travel to Harcum College (Bryn Mawr, PA) for a 6 p.m. start time. The Lady Wolverines are coached by Anthony Green.
“I’m glad to see our student-athletes continue to perform at a high level, both on and off the court,” said Dr. Keith Kirkland, Dean of Student Affairs.
“We are extremely proud of our student-athletes for their dedication on the court and in the classroom. Their successes this season continue to build on the proud traditions of both programs here at Essex County College. We wish both teams the best of luck heading into the Region 19 Tournament,” said Athletic Director Michael Doughtie.
Fresh off a 103-78 win over Delaware Tech on Saturday, the Men are riding a three game winning streak. They are led in scoring by sophomores Jaheim Lewis (18.3 points a game) and Pascal Dodard (15.8 points). Freshman Koi Kirk, Jr. leads the team with nearly 10 rebounds a game.
The Women have won their last two games, including a 69-56 triumph at Chesapeake CC last Friday.
The team has received balanced scoring this year with four players in double figures. Freshman Naomi Lucca leads the way with an 11.6 points per average. Sophomore Mia Martinez is next with 11.4 points, followed by her twin sister Ania Martinez, who chips in with 10.3 points a game. Freshman Ja’Laiyah Smith scores at a 10.2 points a game clip. Naomi and Ja’Laiyah both average nine rebounds a game.
The Region XIX championship games will be played on Saturday, February 25 at the home of the higher seeded team.
The 11 members of Essex County College’s 2022 Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) class proudly entered Smith Hall on January 20, 2023 to receive their well-earned LPN pins.
“This class is mighty in spirit, commitment and full of energy. They will need those characters and more in the Nursing profession,” said Dr. Gale Gage, Chair of the Division of Nursing and Health Sciences.
Olusegun Adeniyi, who served as LPN Class President, said growing up in Nigeria he frequently watched his mother work as an auxiliary nurse. “I would see people coming in to the doctor’s office sick and I would then see them leaving happy. I knew helping people like that was something I wanted to do,” the current Newark resident recalled.
Olusegun plans on continuing his education after working as an LPN for a year. He is interested in pediatric and ICU nursing. At the pinning, he received the LPN Leadership Award and was class Salutatorian with a 3.41 grade point average.
Co-Valedictorians, with 3.48 grade point averages, were Natasha Golding and Joseph Odirih.
Onyinye Okafor attributes her decision to pursue nursing as both family and cultural. “I’m Nigerian and it’s a Nigerian thing, she said proudly. In addition, she said some of her family members are either doctors or nurses.
Onyinye, of Orange, plans to work and gain experience for awhile before pursuing her next goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.
Bridgette Martin earned her Associate degree in General Science from ECC in 2021. That came after working nine years as a Certified Nursing Assistant as she now moves on as an LPN. “I’m trying not to west any time,” the East Orange resident said with a smile.
Bridgette said she took care of her grandmother in Jamaica, which helped spark her healthcare dream. At the ceremony, she received the Clinical Excellence Award.
Mariama Yanka, who received the Florence Nightingale Award, had the honor of leading the class in the recitation of the Nightingale Pledge. Asha Winters received the Community Service Award.
Next step is preparing for the upcoming National Council Licensure Examination (known as NCLEX).
The spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. filled Essex County College’s Smith Hall throughout an emotional memorial program held on Tuesday, January 24. The program was presented by the College’s Africana Institute and the Center for Global Education and Experiences (CGEE), in partnership with the African Consul Generals Group (ACGG) in New York.
One of the highlights of the program came from 11-year-old Ikenna Obikulu, formerly from Orange, who dazzled the audience with his heart felt presentation of Dr. King’s immortal “I Have a Dream” speech from August 28, 1963. Ikenna, who gave the speech without the aid of notes, received a standing ovation at the conclusion.
Eight Consul Generals of Africa brought greetings and calls to follow the work of Dr. King to bring peace and equality to the world. Following the program, the ambassadors and deputy ambassadors from South Africa, Senegal, Algeria, Angola, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, and Egypt were available to meet with audience members to discuss Consulate Services that people would usually need an appointment in New York to do.
In urging the audience to continue Dr. King’s dream, Dr. Akil Khalfani, Director of the College’s Africana Institute, said, “You have the ability to bring change to the world. Don’t sit on your laurels; you have to have passion. Let’s be impactful.”
ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, said in his welcome, “Today is truly a great day as we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He focused on peaceful equality and justice. We need to bring peace to the world.”
Essex County College’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Program will be held on Tuesday, January 24, at 10 a.m. in Smith Hall. The event is under the direction of the College’s Africana Institute and the Center for Global Education and Experiences (CGEE), in partnership with the African Consul Generals Group (ACGG) in New York.
“The Africana Institute hosts this event annually to pay tribute to the vast African American contributions in the struggles for freedom, equality, and justice in American society. Those efforts brought changes like the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This event honors the heroes and heroines of the 1950s and 1960s,” said Dr. Akil Khalfani, Director of the Africana Institute and the CGEE.
This event will feature remarks by the eight Consul Generals, said Dr. Khalfani. “We aim to celebrate the international impact of the ideals of Dr. King by including African Consul Generals. Dr. King's strivings represented a synthesis of the echoes of thousands of African Americans fighting to be treated humanely, “he stated.
The participating Ambassadors are:
Amb. Dr. Motumisi Tawana, South Africa, Chair ACGG
Amb. El Hadji Amadou Ndao, Senegal, Alternate Chair ACGG
Amb. Brahim Chennouf, Algeria
Amb. Augusta Mangueira, Angola
Amb. Nathaniel Wreh Nagbe, I, Liberia
Amb. Abdelkader Jamoussi, Morocco
Amb. Lot Egopija, Nigeria
Deputy C.G., Mr. Mohammad Elhalawani, Egypt
Dr. Khalfani said that people will have the opportunity to meet with the Consul Generals in country-specific break-out rooms at the College to discuss Consulate Services that they would usually need an appointment in New York to do.
Ikenna Obikulu, an 11-year-old formerly from Orange, will portray Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he gives the "I Have a Dream" speech.
Praxis Core Exam Preparation (PCER) Course offered at Essex County College
Anyone interested in teacher certification is required to take the Praxis Core Exam. Essex County College’s Education Seminar I (EDU 233) offers a variety of test preparation strategies, resources and information that will prepare students for success in passing the Praxis Core Exam. The Praxis Core Exam Preparation Course will help participants become familiar with the different elements of the Praxis Core Exam (PCE).
Key elements of the Praxis Core Exam Include: Reading, Writing, Math and Testing
Passing the Praxis Core Exam is the first step in acceptance into 4-year College/University Education Degree Programs, it is a “MUST HAVE” for Teacher Certification as well as some job placements.
Child Development Associate (CDA) Courses
Essex County College also offers an 11-credit course on Child Development Associate (CDA) which covers the 120 hours of course instruction, professional portfolio development, and classroom observation, all which are requirements and preparation for obtaining the Child Development Associate Credential. This program is for anyone interested in teaching infants through pre-school children.
Both programs are offered during Essex County College’s Spring 2023 semesters. The Spring I semester begins on Monday, January 9, 2023 and Spring II classes start on February 10, 2023.
Additional information on either of these programs is available by contacting Dr. Bridget Turner at [email protected].
Elizabeth Bakare andFavour Ogbinaka are Essex County College’s 2023 representatives on the All USA-New Jersey Community College Academic Team. The high achieving students are also in the running for the All USA National Academic Team.
“I was surprised and real grateful for this honor,” said Elizabeth, a Biology, Pre-Medicine major from Newark. She said she had applied for the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society scholarship, which led to her selection. She is Vice President of Scholarship for the College’s Alpha Theta Theta chapter of PTK. Elizabeth has a 3.89 grade point average.
“I was just hoping to receive a scholarship,” recalled Favour, an Engineering major from Newark. “I filled out the application and just hoped things would work out, which they have,” he added. Favour, who has a perfect 4.0 grade point average, serves as PTK Chapter Secretary.
“Both Elizabeth and Favour are exceptional students and student leaders. I could not be prouder of Elizabeth and Favour for their contribution to the team and to the student body, and I am excited to see what the future holds for them,” said Professor Lynn Wilson, co-advisor of the ECC PTK chapter.
“Congratulations to Favour and Elizabeth. We are proud of them. And thank you to our PTK advisors,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
“Most times, I look at myself and think a small girl from a little city is having big dreams,” said Elizabeth, whose career goal is to become a medical doctor. She lists Cornell University and Rutgers University-New Brunswick as her top two transfer destinations after graduating from ECC.
In addition to his work in Phi Theta Kappa, Favour helped revitalize the College’s Engineering Club. He plans to major in Computer Engineering after graduating from ECC, and is considering NJIT and Columbia University as transfer options.
They will represent Essex County College in Trenton (formally called PTK Day) in May of 2023, where they will be recognized alongside other New Jersey community college nominees by State officials.
A wide range of pertinent information for students is now just a quick electronic device click away as the College has launched its new ECC App. The App’s promotion is “Let’s Stay Connected to Essex.”
“The app gives administration and faculty the opportunity to communicate directly with students. Conversely, students also can communicate directly with us to help keep them on track toward completion,” said Dr. Keith Kirkland, Dean of Student Affairs.
Specifically, the app will connect students to:
On Tuesday, November 29, Senior Campus Success Consultant for Ready Education Carrie Dione provided an overview of the app to students via Zoom. “Hopefully you will use all the app’s features which will help you toward success at ECC,” she said.
“We are excited to be able to offer this app to our students,” said Dr. Leigh Bello, Associate Dean, Student Affairs/Special Projects.
Students also received hands-on assistance on using the ECC App from College staff stationed at a table on the 2nd Floor Forum the day of the launch.
Students can download the app from either the App Store or Google Play Store. For questions on using the app, contact Dr. Bello at [email protected]
A lack of access to technology will no longer be an obstacle to students in Essex County College’s Adult Learning Center (ALC), thanks to Laptop Upcycle @ EssexCountyCollege-ALC, a partnership with Laptop Upcycle of Montclair, NJ.
“Our goal is to provide an initial 25 laptops and/or Wi-Fi device to deserving students,” said Judith Celestin, Director of the Center. She said we will be accepting donations to be able to make more laptops available as needed. “We are thrilled that this partnership will remove a barrier that many of our students run into when having to complete coursework at home,” Ms. Celestin stated. “Corporations and organizations as well as individuals can donate laptops to the Laptop Upcycle @ EssexCountyCollege-ALC program by emailing us at [email protected] as a way to support equitable access to technology and ensure our students are successful in their academic careers.”
The Adult Learning Center services about 400 students who are working toward their high school equivalency, U.S. citizenship, Microsoft Office certification, or taking English as a Second Language classes.
Jon Bonesteel, Co-Founder/Treasurer of Laptop Upcycle, said the company is excited to be partnering with the ECC Adult Learning Center. “The opportunity to share our mission of repurposing technology to help eliminate impediments to learning in the ALC community is a win for all concerned.” The Laptop Upcycle lab team is training ECC staff in order to establish a hub on site where they will repair and upgrade unwanted laptops which can then be distributed to other ALC students in need of technology in order to complete classwork.
“We had provided laptops to the College on occasion in the past, especially when there was a real need for them during the Covid-19 pandemic. Going forward, the ECC team will assume the lead on campus. We are excited to share what we do with ECC and we look forward to supporting them,” Mr. Bonesteel said.
Ms. Celestin said students who receive the laptops can keep the devices. “This partnership is another example of Students First at Essex County College,” she added.
Laptop Upcycle is a division of the Montclair, N.J.-based not-for-profit organization HackNCraftNJ, Inc. Learn more about Laptop Upcycle at http://laptopupcycle.org.
A steady stream of students filled the area outside the Division of Business offices from October 31 to November 2. The attraction was the annual Business Division Week program.
Information tables focused not only on the Business Division and its varied majors. There was also general information about the College to keep students on track to graduate; tables with representatives from book publishers, and four-year colleges and universities recruitment tables.
“The student respond was phenomenal. Our faculty and staff put a lot of work into making the week a success for our students,” said Business Division Chair Germaine Albuquerque.
Chair Albuquerque said the four year schools were also represented by academic deans who discussed programs with ECC students. “That’s important for students to hear from the visiting deans. He said ECC President Dr Augustine A. Boakye, who initiated Business Division Week a few years ago when he chaired the Division, also met with the visiting deans.
“The opportunity for our students to hear from potential transfer school officials is important. “For our students, the transfer process begins on their first day at ECC. It’s better to get the information you need to make an informed decision earlier than wait until your last semester,” said Chair Albuquerque.
Students received information on the 2023 Business Plan Competition, which will be held this coming March. The competition has students preparing a complete business plan which is judged by business professionals.
Division faculty also told students about the College’s Bloomberg Terminal software, which provides the user with full access to the same real-time financial market data from Bloomberg as do the top business and financial industry experts. The Bloomberg software is located in the College’s Learning Center.
Forty-seven Essex County College Nursing students, along with two faculty members, spent a recent Sunday afternoon in Verona Park for a very good cause. They were participants in the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention’s Essex County “Out of the Darkness” Walk held on Sunday, October 30.
The ECC contingent raised $240 for the Foundation.
“The students had the opportunity to experience the stories of the advocates, families and survivors, and attend the various booth workshop on the day of the walk. We look forward to networking with the Foundation on suicide prevention workshops,” said ECC Nursing Professor Jennifer Chapman. Fellow Nursing Professor Natalee White-Smith also participated in the walk.
Keith Bellamy, Ph.D., had graduated three years earlier from East Orange High School and was working at a day care center when he enrolled at Essex County College (ECC) in 2005. “I wanted to be a juvenile court attorney and eventually a juvenile court judge,” the current Newark resident recalled.
Exploring his ECC course options, Keith had a conversion with Paralegal Studies (PLS) Program Coordinator Dr. Linda McDonald Carter. She steered him toward that major, which would fit into his legal career path. “That was probably the best decision of my life. I loved it,” he said.
Two things about PLS that Keith really enjoyed were the public speaking and the necessary, in-depth research required. “As I worked toward my degree (he graduated from ECC in 2008), law was still very much on my mind.”
He followed his Associate degree up by earning a Bachelor’s degree in PLS from Montclair State University. But something was missing. He missed teaching. “I care about the law, but I believe as a teacher I can help more young people accomplish their goals.”
Keith has worked in both the Jersey City and East Orange school districts. He is now a special education teacher for third to fifth graders at East Orange’s Benjamin Banneker Academy.
Even while educating young people, Keith wanted to continue his education. He recently earned a Doctorate in Education from Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona.
“It’s so surreal. I was 20 when I started at Essex County College and 17 years later I have my Doctorate,” he said. “ECC started me on the way to building up my confidence and to believe in myself.”
Dr. Carter, now a retired ECC professor, agrees. “He is a model of a person, who was fortunate enough to recognize and be encouraged to identify his creativity, tap into and add to his existing resilience and resourcefulness to make positive things happen in his life. This against all the odds; in addition to being a Black man in America,” she said.
Once again, Essex County College has one of its Associate degree programs top ranked by the online ranking service College Factual! This time it is the Finance program, ranked Number 1 for 2022 out of 20 schools reviewed nationally.
The Finance program’s recognition comes on the heels of College Factual recent ranking of ECC’s Health Sciences Associate degree majors Number 1.
ECC offers multiple Associate degrees through the Division of Business, including Finance.
“Congratulations to our outstanding faculty and students. Everyone at ECC should be proud of this ranking, which is proof of the quality of education we provide,” said President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
“We provide outstanding experiential learning instead of just classroom theory. Our students visit Wall Street, tour the financial institutions, and talk to financial experts. They also learn the many career opportunities that are open to them,” said Professor Jean-Wilner Alexandre, Finance Program Coordinator. “With faculty members who have worked on Wall Street and major financial institutions, we prepare students for the real world.”
Through the Federal Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), ECC received funding to secure Bloomberg Terminal software packages. The Bloomberg Terminal software is available to faculty in the Division of Business and students enrolled in the Division’s eligible CTE programs, including Finance majors.
The Bloomberg Terminal software provides real-time and historical data, market moving news, and analytics to help leading business and financial professionals worldwide make more informed investment decisions.
The Business Division is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP). Essex’s Business Division is one of four New Jersey community colleges to have received ACBSP accreditation. The College’s accreditation, granted in 2015, is for 10 years.
In addition, the Business Division presents to the entire College community monthly Financial Literacy Workshops, where experts in the field are invited to speak to the attendees.
According to College Factual, the overall quality of the Associate degree college, and not just a particular major, is the most important factor in its ranking system. Other factors considered include:
Division of Business Chair Germaine Albuquerque said there are a number of career options for Finance majors. Some of the available positions include:
“The College Factual ranking clearly shows that ECC has all you need to succeed,” said Dr. Boakye.
Learn more about Essex County College’s Finance program, as well as all other degree and certificate programs at essex.edu or call 973-877-4477. Fall II classes begin on October 6, 2022.
Essex County College’s Associate degree programs in Health/Medical Preparatory have been ranked Number 1 for 2022 out of 23 schools reviewed nationally by the online ranking service College Factual. ECC offers Associate degrees in Nursing, Radiography, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Vision Care Technology through the Division of Nursing & Health Sciences.
“Essex County College is providing the community wonderful opportunities to succeed in the high demand Health Sciences fields. This accomplishment of a Number 1 ranking by an independent organization is a testament to the faculty and staff at the College,” said Dr. Alvin Williams, Executive Dean of Faculty and Academics.
The College’s Associate degree Health Sciences programs are accredited by the following national agencies:
“The College Factual ranking clearly shows that ECC has all you need to succeed,” said Dr. Boakye.
Learn more about Essex County College’s Health Sciences programs at essex.edu or call 973-877-4477. Fall II classes begin on October 6, 2022.
Every 2022 graduate of Essex County College’s Radiography program passed the required national licensing exam on the first try this summer. And all 17 graduates received at least one job offer before received their hard-earned Associate in Applied Science degrees on June 3, 2022.
Radiography graduates must pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam, said program Coordinator Darlyn Warner. She said this is the largest Radiography class since 2014 when there were 18 graduates.
“This is great news. Congratulations to our students and faculty for an outstanding job,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
“This was the class that applied to the program during the Covid-19 pandemic. They toughed it out and we are so very proud of them. There is a serious need for health care providers and they are ready,” said Professor Warner.
She credits the entire Radiography program team of Professor Mary Ellen Carpenter, adjuncts and staff for providing the students the academics and support needed to succeed.
Professor Warner said at least four of the graduates will be seeking advanced degrees. She said others will receive additional training at their employers.
“The perseverance these students showed is truly amazing. I’m confident they will be very successful in their endeavors,” said Dr. Alvin Williams, Executive Dean of Faculty and Academics.
According to the college rating company College Factual, ECC is the topped ranked institution nation-wide for an “Associate Degree in Other Health/Medical Preparatory Programs.”
Sister Also Member of this Year's Class
Sisters Maya and Jasera Abdurrashid both received Associate in Liberal Arts degrees at Essex County College's 53rd annual Commencement on June 3. The South Orange residents joined a long line of siblings who have received ECC degrees at the same ceremony.
But what sets Maya a little apart from other alumni and her sister Jasera is her age. At 15, Maya had the distinction of being the youngest graduate in this year's class.
"I got sick while nearing high school, and the doctors felt as if homeschooling would have been the best option for me," said Maya. Their mother, who is also a New York City teacher, Michelle Abdurrashid, agreed to set up a rigorous curriculum for her daughter.
Maya's mother made the curriculum a rigorous high school experience for her. "The academic work at home was intense. It was just as if I was in a traditional high school," recalled Maya.
Jasera had enrolled at ECC in the Fall of 2020, and Maya was ready the following Spring. "I began here during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, so my classes were all online," Jasera said. She added that online and some hybrid classes made it a bit easier for her sister to transition to college.
Maya agreed, stating, "The online classes were similar to homeschooling, and with that, I was able to have a smooth transition into ECC. As Covid-19 got better, hybrid classes were available, so I felt comfortable once I started taking some classes on campus. This college experience had a great impact on my academic endeavors. I'm very happy I started here at ECC."
The sisters had a couple of classes together. "It was interesting to me to see how well Maya fit into the classes. I wasn't sure at first with the age difference of her classmates, but there were no problems," said Jasera. In addition to earning her degree, Maya graduated with College Honors and an Honors designation. "This is just the beginning of my educational journey as I plan to go the way to my doctorate," said Maya.
Now Michelle Abdurrashid is confident her daughters are ready for the next phase of their higher education. Both are transferring to the Savannah (Georgia) College of Art and Design (SCAD). The sisters will room together, and the family has relatives in Georgia.
At SCAD, Maya is looking to combine her love of art with the business side. Jasera will concentrate on game design. The two sisters plan to give back to those in need. "I have been a benevolent person ever since I was young. I have always been eager to help the ones around me.” Maya says.
They are helping by working with The Treehouse Learning Academy as Maya and Jasera believe in educating all. "Young brains need support from those around them. I like to think of it as a tree. A young tree usually needs support to allow it to grow straight up. Without the support on either side of the young tree, it begins to lean to the side, and as it grows, it won't reach its highest potential, just like our brains, which is why support is necessary from a young age. The education we get from a young age comes to play in our futures. It determines the quality of life we will have as adults." Maya added. You can follow Maya's journey on www.mayasjade.com.
ECC's President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, said the Abdurrashid sisters are excellent examples of how the College is ideal for students of all ages. "I am proud of Maya for being our youngest graduate in the Class of 2022. Jasera is another outstanding student, and I'm confident both will do themselves and Essex County College proud going forward."
As proud family and friends looked on, 1,118 members of the Essex County College Class of 2022 received their hard earned Associate degrees at the College’s 53rd annual Commencement on Friday, June 3. The ceremony, the first in-person graduation since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was held in the Prudential Center, Newark.
Class Valedictorian and Liberal Arts major Latina Byrd said she is “honored and humbled” by her selection. She then handed her classmates one last assignment. “Remember how you feel today. I want you to guard this feeling and don’t let anyone, situation, nor circumstance interfere with this feeling. Furthermore, always remember that it was that same feeling that allowed you to keep going to school during a global pandemic. Ultimately, that feeling is why you are graduating today.”
A Newark City Firefighter, Latina was surprised when given several bouquets of flowers from her fellow firefighters. She is transferring to Seton Hall University with a career goal of becoming an attorney.
Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, Marion A. Bolden said, “Today, we celebrate your achievements and salute you for your hard work, your resilience, and your determination to succeed. For many of you, the journey was indeed arduous … juggling work and family responsibilities with the myriad challenges of everyday life, including the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet you overcame obstacles in every possible way. Be proud of your success and now move confidently into the next phase of your life’s plan.”
ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, who presided over the ceremony, acknowledged all students who are serving or have served in the armed forces, as well as members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Educational Opportunity Fund. “Our 2022 graduates come from Essex County; from across the state of New Jersey and many nations around the world including Antigua & Barbuda, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, and Russia. We take pride in the rich diversity of our students at Essex County College.”
New Jersey Assemblywoman Britnee N. Timberlake, representing the state’s 34th Legislative District, was keynote speaker. “I congratulate you on your achievements. Many of you are now first and second-generation college graduates. We need you to keep going and achieve. Fortune favors the bold,” she said. After her address, Assemblywoman Timberlake was presented an honorary Degree of Associate in Liberal Arts.
Krystle Sanabria, a Social Science major, served as class Salutatorian. She is transferring to Montclair State University where she will major in Education.
Class of 2022 Assistant Marshals, who had the honor of leading the processional into the arena, were Fatoumata Fofana (General Science); Ines Kenfack Donfack (Biology, Pre-Medicine); Jenny Simbaina (Finance); and Nicholas Stremel (Engineering).
Biology Professor Yasser Kabakibiwas Grand Marshal for the class. “Today is a day of celebration, recognition of your achievements and earning of your diplomas. This is a time of new beginnings, not the end. It is a beginning of a journey to reach your future goals. A journey that is full of innovations, self-advancements, opportunities to impact others to make the world a better place, and self-reflections for continuous improvements,” he told the class prior to the traditional tassel turning.
The youngest graduate in this year’s class is Maya Abdurrashid, 15. Linda Brown, at 73, is the oldest new alumna. Both majored in Liberal Arts.
Since opening in 1985, the Essex County College Gymnasium had simply known as the Physical Education Building. A change occurred on May 27, 2022, when the newly renovated Gym was formally dedicated as the Cleo Hill, Sr. Physical Education Building, complete with exterior signage. Additionally, the Cleo Hill, Sr. name also emblazoned on the new Gym floor.
Cleo Hill, Sr. was an NBA standout and legendary ECC Men’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director. Born and raised in Newark, he was a graduate of South Side (now Malcom X Shabazz) High School and Winston-Salem Teachers College (now University). In 1961, he was the top draft choice of the St. Louis Hawks, the fifth player ever drafted from a Historically Black College and University.
Unfortunately, he was “blackballed” from the NBA following his rookie year. He subsequently played in the American Basketball League and the Continental Basketball League before coming to ECC as head coach.
At ECC, Coach Hill compiled an amazing 489-128 record over 24 years, including a trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association championship game.
“We loved you Cleo Hill and hope we’ve done well by your family today,” said Marion A. Bolden, Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees during the dedication ceremony. College Trustee Johanna Wright added Coach Hill had great courage. “Courage is something you can’t buy; it’s the willingness to stand for right, even if you stand alone. That is who we honor today.”
Fighting back tears, an emotional Cleo Hill, Jr. said, “Our family is forever grateful to Essex County College, Newark and Essex County for this honor. My father was passionate about winning, the fundamentals of basketball and, most importantly, the grooming of young men.”
Before the formal cutting of the green ribbon in front of the Cleo Hill, Sr. Physical Education Building, former ECC basketball players offered testimonies to their coach.
“Coach Hill was the first person to teach me about life. He mentored me and got me on the start to where I am today,” said Essex County Commissioner and former ECC basketball player Rufus Johnson.
“I couldn’t wait to get here today and show my appreciation to Coach Hill. Coach first saw me when I was a kid playing basketball at the rec center. He taught me so much,” said Louis Grimsley. Grimsley was the longtime basketball coach at Shabazz High School and served as an assistant coach at Elizabeth City (North Carolina) State University.
Former ECC players Russell Shuler and Kim Fisher also offered testimonies. “It’s difficult to find the words for what Coach Hill meant to me. He was like a second father,” said Shuler.
“Cleo Hill, Sr. dedicated his life to Essex County College. We will never forget what he did for us,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye. Dr. Boakye also thanked Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. for the role he played in renovating the interior of the Gym, including the floors, hallway and lighting.
County Executive DiVincenzo called the culmination of the dedication ceremony a “team effort. Rufus Johnson first suggested naming the Gym for Cleo Hill. It is the right thing to do. Today is Cleo’s day. This will be here forever. He was an important man who did a lot of good for a lot of people.”
ECC Athletic Director Michael Doughtie said, “We are honoring the legacy of an individual who had such an impact on both our College and Essex County. His legacy at the College might be as impressive as his playing ability” He added that an ECC Athletic Hall of Fame is also planned for the Gym.
Essex County College was well represented in two prestigious Track & Field meets this Spring, the Penn Relays and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Outdoor National Track & Field Championships. The Men’s and Women’s teams are coached by Lionel Leach.
At the Penn Relays, held in Philadelphia April 28-30, the Women’s 4x400 Relay Team captured the College Eastern title with a time of 3:52.15. Members of the victorious team were Megan Thompson, Delverna Broomfield, Thomyka Valcent, and Jelese Alexander.
The Men’s 4x100 Relay team, with Dwight Henry, Carl Drakes, Daniel Cunningham, and Rashaun Stewart, finished 4th in the Men’s 4x100 College Eastern race. The Men’s Sprint Relay posted the 4th best time at the meet. This race was run by Carl Drakes, Dwight Henry, Daniel Cunningham, and Khabeeba Mills.
The Women’s 4x100 Relay team of Elaine Robinson, Yanique White, Megan Thompson, and Jelese Alexander finished 7th.High Jumper James Bell came in 10th overall in his event.
“I am extremely proud of the performances by our talented student-athletes at such a prestigious event. Their hard work throughout the year has shown. Our student-athletes shining on one of tracks biggest stages, in front of huge crowd and national audience, is excellent exposure for our students and Essex County College” said ECC Athletic Director Michael Doughtie.
At the 2022 NJCAA National Championships, held May 20-21 in Hutchinson, Kansas, Jelese Alexander placed 4th in the Women’s’ Heptathlon. Dwight Henry came in 6th in the Men’s 100 Meter Hurdles. The Women’s 4x800 Meter Relay, run by Megan Thompson, Thomyka Valcent, Delverna Broomfield, and Zoey-Ann Wint finished 7th. James Bell tied for 7th in the High Jump.
Summer Camp for Future College Students
Rising high school juniors and seniors can earn college credits at Essex County College's Summer Camp 2022. The program runs from July 11 to August 18.
There’s also an online option for the program.
“Summer Camp 2022 is an excellent opportunity for high school students to receive academic enrichment, experience college life and learn more about what Essex County College has to offer,” Dr. Vieira said of the popular program.
"Our High School Initiatives program provides future college students with a foundation to better succeed at the next level of their education," said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
Students will have a great opportunity to take college courses (ENG and MTH), earn college credits, participate in college and career exploration, as well as professional and social skills workshops.
High school students interested in Summer Camp 2022 should contact their high school guidance counselor or Essex County College's Pre-College Readiness Program Coordinator Yelena Pirtskhalava at 973-877-1899, [email protected]
College Joins Medical School Pathway Partnership
Essex County College has entered into a partnership with Caldwell University and St. George’s University (SGU) designed to enable ECC students a pathway for admission into SGU’s School of Medicine. The program is dubbed the 2+1+4 Partnership.
The partnership allows ECC students who earn an Associate degree in Biology, Pre-Medicine to transfer to Caldwell University for one year. They can then move on to St. George’s University’s School of Medicine, in Grenada, to pursue a four-year medical degree. They'll also have the opportunity to spend their first year of medicine at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom, which maintains a partnership with St. George's University.
"We're extremely excited about this new partnership," said Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, President of Essex County College. "We’re pleased to be able to help our students who aspire to careers in medicine make their dreams a reality at St. George's University. Essex County College’s curriculum will help ensure students receive a solid foundation as they continue on the path toward becoming medical doctors.”
“By including Caldwell University in our new partnership with St. George’s University, our students will be even more prepared for the rigors of medical school. The third year at Caldwell University will provide students with the extra confidence to succeed at St. George’s University School of Medicine,” said Dr. Alvin Williams, Executive Dean of Faculty and Academics at Essex County College.
"We are thrilled to establish the first-ever 2+1+4 partnership for high-achieving students at Essex County College and Caldwell University," said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George's University. "The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the depth of the U.S. doctor shortage. Partnerships like this one will help close that gap by making the path to medicine more accessible for aspiring physicians,” he stated.
In order to remain eligible for the program, students must maintain a 3.4 grade point average while enrolled at Essex County College and at Caldwell. They must also register a competitive score on the MCAT.
Students accepted into the 2+1+4 program will receive a $10,000 scholarship upon matriculating at St. George's University. They will receive their Bachelor of Science degree from Caldwell upon successfully completing the first year of the SGU's MD program.
"Caldwell University is thrilled to partner with St. George's University and Essex County College to offer students the opportunity to pursue medicine with exposure to medical professionals from around the world. This collaboration will provide our high achieving students the chance to earn both undergraduate and medical degrees through a global lens," said Caldwell University’s President, Dr. Matthew Whelan.
ECC Basketball Star Jakira Coar Named to All American Team
Jakira Coar began playing basketball at the age of eight, under the tutelage of her father. Through a lot of hard work and talent, she developed into a highly regarded player.
After starring at Lincoln High School in Jersey City, Jakira came to Essex County College and has already established herself as a star in just her first year of collegiate basketball.
Jakira concluded the 2021-22 campaign for the Lady Wolverines averaging 26.2 points a game, tops in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II this year. She is also an NJCAA 3rd Team All American. That honor comes on the heels of her selection as Garden State Athletic Conference Player of the Year and being named to the NJCAA’s Region 19 First Team.
Coach Anthony Green said he had his eye on Jakira while she was playing high school ball. “We were lucky to get her,” he said.
“That attention I received from ECC helped me to decide to come here,” Jakira said in an interview conducted in the ECC Gymnasium.
“As an Athletic Department, we are extremely proud of Jakira’s individual accomplishments, as well as the team’s success this year to put Essex County College Women’s Basketball back into the national spotlight. She had one of the best individual seasons in program history. We look forward to watching her and the team build off of their successes from this year and continue to grow in 2022-23,” said ECC Athletic Director Michael Doughtie.
“At the start of the season I was a bit nervous,” the Criminal Justice major admitted. “But after a few games everything started to click,’ the shooting guard added.
Coach Anthony Green said he could see Jakira getting more and more comfortable after each game, and she was starting by the fourth game. Then on January 25 against the County College of Morris, Jakira exploded for 51 points, following it up with a 44 point effort against Sullivan College.
For the rest of the season, Jakira had to face a variety of defenses constantly keying on her. “I think I adjusted well to that challenge,” she said with a smile. And she successfully shot her way out of any slump.
The team, composed entirely of freshmen, concluded the season with a 14-8 record.
Jakira is working on her overall game this off season. “My goal is to maintain good grades and transfer to a good Division 1 college after graduation from ECC.”
When James Spivey earned his Associate degree in Nursing from Essex County College in 2020, he was also starting his one-year term as President of the New Jersey Nursing Students, Inc. His leadership role carried the added distinction as he was the first African American to hold that position. “That was an amazing honor,” he said.
From ECC, James headed to Clara Maass Medical Center, in Belleville, part of RWJBarnabas Health.
“When I graduated, we were in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. That was a scary time working in the ER,” James, a Roselle resident, recalled. He saw that patients were especially traumatized and wanted to help in a meaningful way.
“I advocate for my patients at their most vulnerable times, and I’ve seen how mental health care can really help people,” James said, who worked as a behavioral health nurse.
His work at Clara Maass was highlighted in RWJBarnabas Health’s Nurses series. “That was a real honor being recognized as spokesperson for their department,” James said. In the series he said, “My team has coped with the increased demand for mental health services by taking care of each other so we can give our all to our patients.”
“Working at Clara Maass has been fantastic, but I want to help even more people. Plus, I love to travel,” said James explaining his decision to enter into a new phase of his Nursing career. James is now a Travel Nurse.
“Travel Nurses are in demand, especially in areas hard hit by the pandemic,” James said. He recently completed a stint in California, which included work at a correctional facility. He said the assignments, contracted through an agency, can be anywhere in the country. “That’s exciting and I love the lifestyle.”
James’ success comes as no surprise to Dr. Gale Gage, Chair of ECC’s Nursing Department.” James was a reserved student at first, who gained his confidence and clinical competency after tackling several of the more difficult courses in the program. He has been recognized by his peers for his perseverance and leadership,” she said.
“ECC changed my life, providing me the skills needed to be a competent Nurse and deal with adversity. I’ve received a life-long career and that can’t be replaced. The training from my professors was priceless,” James said.
Essex County College’s Veterans Service Group is off to a good start, having only been established in October of 2021 with a handful of members by Business Administration major Thishin Jackson. The group was recently chartered a National Veterans Honor Society by the organization SALUTE (Service, Academics, Leadership, Unity, Tribute, Excellence).
“We have veterans performing outstanding academically at the College,” said Thishin, a Newark resident. He stated that while the group is similar to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (of which he is a member with a 4.0 grade point average), it is specifically to acknowledge veterans for exceptional academic performance.
Thishin said he is unaware of any similar two-year college chapters in the area. “My goal is to give veterans the opportunity to stand out and be recognized for their outstanding achievement.”
He explained that SALUTE is an excellent vehicle for providing veterans with scholarships, networking and referral opportunities. “It’s important for veterans to have a strong support system,” he added.
Thishin is a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, which included two tours of Afghanistan.
SALUTE was formed in 2009 by the Colorado State University Veterans Office through a grant by the American Council of Education and Wal-Mart Foundation.
Membership into the National Veterans Honor Society is based on a veteran’s grade point average. It’s broken into four tiers: Alpha (3.75-4.0); Bravo (3.50-3.74); Charlie (3.25-3.49), and Delta (3.24-3.0).
“It’s the responsibility of all Americans to ensure that veterans are welcomed back home by providing them needed support. ECC is providing that support through our education programs, enabling veterans to advance academically,” said Veterans Service Group Advisor Shawn Yearwood, advisor/mentor in the Business Division.
The Veterans Service Group is a great way for the College to show support to those who have served. I want to thank Thishin for all he has done, and I’m confident the group will continue to grow and flourish,” said Dr. Keith Kirkland, Dean of Student Affairs.
Thishin is graduating this Spring from ECC and is looking to transfer to the Rutgers University-Newark School of Business. But he promised, upon graduation, to help in any way he can the ECC Veterans Service Group.
Dr. Augustine A. Boakye will be inaugurated as Essex County College’s 9th President in an Inaugural ceremony on Thursday, May 5, 2022. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. in the Cleo Hill, Sr. Physical Education Building on the College’s Newark campus.
Dr. Boakye was appointed Interim President on July 21, 2020. He was officially appointed President by the College’s Board of Trustees effective November 1, 2021.
“We look forward to a long and productive relationship with our new President, one that will certainly continue to put Students First,” stated Board of Trustees Chair Marion A. Bolden. “The Inaugural ceremony shows the commitment that everyone has at Essex County College to move our proud institution into our next chapter of service to the community,” she added.
The Inaugural theme is Servant Leadership, a philosophy in which the goal of the leader is to serve. The theme fits into the Essex County College slogan of Students First and the personality of the institution’s new leader.
Dr. Boakye started his Essex County College career in 2009 as an Associate Professor of Economics. He has also served as Chair of the Division of Business, and Acting Dean of Liberal Arts and Business. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom.
Participants in the ceremony include Essex County College President Emeritus Dr. A. Zachary Yamba, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and Rutgers University-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor. Father Edwin Leahy, Headmaster at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, in Newark, will deliver the invocation.
Other state, Essex County and local officials, and representatives from New Jersey colleges and universities are expected to attend the Inauguration.
Following the Inauguration, there will be a community reception at the College.
In the evening, the College will hold its Presidential Scholarship Gala at the Crystal Plaza, in Livingston, NJ.
Additional information on the Essex County College Inauguration is available at essex.edu/inauguration.
Dayana Arrue is an environmental staff engineer for the engineering consultant firm Langan while also pursuing an advance degree from the Colorado School of Mines. She is a proud graduate of Essex County College, Class of 2015, coming a long way since her family emigrated to the United States from El Salvador when she was only six.
Settling in Newark, Dayana graduated from Science Park High School and saw that ECC was her best option. “I felt I was at a low point academically and very uncertain about myself when I came to ECC. But that all changed once I started classes. I can say with 100 percent certainty that I would not change that part of my life,” Dayana said in a telephone interview from Golden, Colorado.
Dayana was part of ECC’s intense Honors Program, graduated with Highest Honors in Biology, Pre-Medicine, and earned the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship. She then transferred to Rutgers University-Newark, from where she graduated in 2018 with a degree in Geoscience Engineering.
It was through her Honors Program Capstone project that Dayana had the opportunity to conduct thermal analysis research at Rutgers. She started working at Langan during the Summer while attending Rutgers. That led to a fulltime position with the firm.
Her biggest project at Langan has been the preliminary environmental investigation ahead of a major expansion at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Looking back at her time at ECC, Dayana said Dr. Eunice Kamunge’ s Microbiology class was her favorite. She also left a favorable impression on Dr. Kamunge, now head of the Division of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. “She was highly motivated and focused on her educational goals. She is a perfect example of what we do here at Essex County College,” Dr. Kamunge said of Dayana.
For now, Dayana is concentrating on earning her Master’s degree in Hydrologic Sciences and Engineering, and working part-time on assignments out of Langan’s Denver office.
“Essex County College opened my mind and eyes, and challenged my world view. I will also always be thankful for that,” Dayana said.
Biology, Pre-Medicine major Ines Kenfack Donfack has the honor of being Essex County College’s recipient of the 2022 Essex County Althea Gibson Leadership Award. Ines, of Irvington, received the award from Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. on Wednesday March 30. The theme of the program this year, in celebration of Essex County’s Women’s History Month, was Students Achieving Today – Our Leaders of Tomorrow.
“This honor caught me totally be surprise. I certainly wasn’t expecting it, but I’m certainly grateful for it,” said Ines, who was born in Duala, Cameroon. She has lived in the United States since she was three years old. A high school graduate of Newark Tech, she has a 3.97 grade point average at ECC.
Ines was recommended for the award by ECC Chemistry Professor Nidhal Marashi in her capacity as co-advisor to the College’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Alpha Theta Theta. Ines is a member of PTK as well as treasurer of the Biology/Pre-Medicine Club and the Essex Chemical Society. She is also a tutor in the College’s Learning Center.
“Ines is a wonderful young lady, an outstanding student and with her work as a tutor and volunteer, she is worthy of this recognition,” said Dr. Marashi.
“The experiences I’ve had at ECC have helped me grow in confidence, and taught me the importance of teamwork, community, creativity, organization, and much more,” said Ines. She is looking to transfer to Rutgers University-Newark in the fall, with an eye on medical school. Her goal is to be a pediatric surgeon.
Led by the nation’s leading scorer, the Essex County College (ECC) Women’s Basketball team enters the 2022 Region 19 tournament as the second seed and will host a semi-final game at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 24, in the College Gym. The regional tournament is the first stage of the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) Division II basketball championships.
The Lady Wolverines are 14-7 and paced by freshman standout Jakira Coar. Jakira is the top scorer in Division II, averaging just over 24 points a game. Fellow freshman Salma Abouelkheir enters the tournament as the team’s leading rebounder, with 8.6 boards a game.
ECC will take on Harcum College in the regional semi-final game.
ECC did not field a team the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s squad is composed entirely of freshmen and a first-year coach in Anthony Green. “What the team has been able to accomplish is remarkable. Everything in the past two years has been unique, which makes this season even more impressive,” said ECC Athletic Director Michael Doughtie.
“The entire College applauds the success of our Women’s Basketball team. Congratulations to our student-athletes, coaches and Athletic Department. They have and will continue to make us proud,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
Essex County College’s Men’s and Women’s Track & Field teams continued its successful 2022 indoor campaign with five first place finishes at the Monmouth Winter Collegiate Invitational held on Saturday, February 12.
The Wolverines, coached by Lionel Leach, competed against a number of four-year institutions, including host Monmouth University, St. Peter’s University and Lafayette College. ECC is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
On the men’s side, Dwight Henry led the way with wins in the 60 meter dash and 60 meter hurdles. James Bell won the high jump, and Daniel Cunningham the 500 meter run. The Women’s 4x400 meter relay team of Delverna Broomfield, Megan Thompson, Zoey-Ann Wint, and Thomyka Valcent won their event.
Other high finishers for the men included Carl Drakes, 2nd in the 60 meters and 3rd 200 meters; Khabeeba Mills, 2nd in the 800 meters; Mohamed Soumare, 2nd in the 500 meters, and Rashaun Stewart, 2nd in the 200 meters.
For the women, Jelese Alexander finished 3rd in the high jump, and Delverna Broomfield, 4th in the 500 meters.
“This team has really developed into one of the top tier programs in the region as well as the country. The results at Monmouth University show that our small community college can compete with four-year institutions, and it helps us as we prepare for Nationals (NJCAA Indoor Championships) the first week of March,” said Coach Leach.
Both the Men’s and Women’s teams are ranked Number 1 in the Atlantic Region for two-year colleges by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Resource Day Fair at Essex County College was an overwhelming success as more than 300 people learned what resources are available to them, both at the College and the community. The event on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, was presented by the College’s Office of Student Development and Counseling.
A steady stream of students and College staff filled the 2nd Floor Forum to take in all the information and services available to them. Some faculty members brought their classes to the event so the students could obtain information about different services.
“The Resource Day helped to bring awareness to our students about both on-campus and off-campus resources that are available to them. The participating offices and organizations provided information that ranged from career services, mental health counseling services, library resources, and the EOF program available on-campus. There was also information on health and social services resources, homeless prevention, housing and energy assistance, library resources, available off-campus,” said Dr. S. Aisha Steplight Johnson, Director of Student Development and Counseling.
“Students need to be supported as a whole to succeed both academically and personal. Our office is committed to support our students’ needs. By supporting our students, we are increasing retention and graduation rates. We want our students to know that we do not only care about their education, but we also care about their everyday life experiences, their emotional and physical well-being,” said Shirlgandy Saint Jean, Coordinator of Career Resources and Student Development Initiatives
The Essex County College Men’s & Women’s Track & Field teams scored big at the DeSchriver Invitational on February 5, capturing an overall total of eight first place finishes. The meet was held at East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University.
Dwight Henry led the way for the Wolverines, winning both the 55 meter and 200-meter dashes. Other first place finishers on the men’s side were:
On the Women’s side, first place winners were:
The teams, coached by Lionel Leach, competed against four-year universities and colleges at the NCAA Division II and Division III levels. These schools included Rutgers University-Newark, East Stroudsburg University, Kutztown University, Adelphi University and Pratt Institute. ECC is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
Other high place Wolverine finishers at the invitational included for the men:
Other women’s high finishers were:
“What I’m most impressed about with our student-athletes is their consistency and improvement from week to week. These are dress rehearsals leading up to next month’s NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships,” said ECC Athletic Director Michael Doughtie.
“I’m very proud of the performance of our student-athletes. They have dedicated themselves to representing our College is a true championship way,” said Dr. Keith Kirkland, Dean of Student Affairs.
As part of Essex County College’s celebration of February as Black History Month, there is a special exhibition on the 2nd Floor, Pan Africana in Nine Boxes. The exhibition was curated by Dr. Akil Khalfani, Director of the College’s Africana Institute and professor of Sociology and Africana Studies.
Dr. Khalfani said the exhibition, on display throughout February and March, contains artifacts from the African Continent and the Diaspora. He added that visitors will see the weaving of African culture through artifacts ranging from northern to southern Africa, and from West Africa to Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, and the United States.
He has collected African and Diaspora art and artifacts world-wide for more than 30 years. The exhibited items come from his personal collection and those of the Africana Institute.
The exhibition includes:
Dr. Khalfani will offer a live virtual tour of the Africana Institute on Friday, February 25 at 6 p.m. This tour will include a viewing of and commentary on the Pan Africana in Nine Boxes exhibition.
Register at: https://essex-edu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJckdu2qpz4sGNHK39VsTx4Jtl9I4oqAIILD
Essex County College’s Men’s 4x400 meter relay team reigned supreme at the prestigious Millrose Games, held Saturday, January 29, at The Armory, New York City. The Wolverine team captured the title
in the 4x400 meter College Relay, besting a field of 4-year colleges and universities.
“Congratulations to our student-athletes on such a great showing,” ECC Athletic Director Michael Doughtie said of Carl Drakes, Khabeeba Mills, Mohamed Soumare and Daniel Cunningham. The team, coached by Lionel Leach, won the relay with a time of 3:20.83, a full second ahead of the second-place team from St. Francis College of Brooklyn.
The full race is available for viewing here: https://vimeo.com/672001897
“The sky is the limit for these young men; few athletes can lay claim to winning the Millrose Games 4x400 meter College Relay. I am so proud of them. Many more titles will follow if they stay the course,” said Coach Leach.
“A wonderful showing by our outstanding student-athletes. I applaud our team, Coach Leach, Athletic Director Doughtie and our entire College Athletic Department. We are very proud of you,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
The ECC Women’s 4x400 meter relay team finished fourth in their race. Delverna Broomfield, Kayla Charles, Megan Thompson, and Zoey-Ann Wint ran for Essex.
The 23 excited members of the Essex County College Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Class of 2021 took center stage on Friday, January 21. They were joined by their proud families and friends in a joyous celebration held in the College’s Smith Hall. The students completed their requirements in December of 2021
After first taking note of the long hours of rigorous course work required for him and his classmates to reach this point, LPN Class President Leonardo Vaca declared, “We are feeling great and ready to move on!”
Moving on as LPNs, as well as continuing their health care education, is on the minds of these graduates. Their first step is preparing for the upcoming National Council Licensure Examination (known as NCLEX).
Leonardo, who served in the United States Army for six years, said his military experience has inspired his career path. “I want to help those who served. I’m ready to become an RN and then earn my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.” He eventually wants to work in the mental health field.
Loleeta Butler has worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant for 18 years. “Receiving my LPN is a continuation of my nursing career,” said the Newark resident, adding she plans to continue toward becoming a Registered Nurse. “I’ve always been interested in the medical field. As a child I loved walking around with my medical play bag,” she said with a laugh.
“Nursing has always been my dream,” said Anita Peters. She recalled a family tragedy when her cousin was in a car accident in another country and died from those injuries. That tragedy inspired Anita, of East Orange, to pursue her dream and be in a position to “give back to the less fortunate.” Her goal is to become a nurse practitioner.
Tomas Olivier works in the ER at St. Michael’s Medical Center and had been thinking of continuing his education. “I heard about the LPN program at ECC and decided to give it a try,” Tomas said. Now that he has earned his LPN, he believes his medical experience will help when working with Covid patients. “Covid is a very complex issue and we have to be in a position to help the community out,” said the Newark resident.
Ricky Saurel is very clear where she sees herself going. “Nursing is my passion,” said the Newark resident. She hopes to become a nurse within five years and has the confidence to achieve that goal.
LPN class Valedictorian, with a 3.83 grade point average, is Augusta Nwachukwu, and Salutatorian, with a 3.81 average, is Tania Cheron.
“When you entered the program here, you had a dream. You followed your dream and tonight we see the fruits of that dream. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” keynote speaker Dr. Eunice Kamunge, Chair of ECC’s Division of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, said.
After congratulating the graduates on their achievement, ECC President Augustine A. Boakye said, “you need to first understand this important job and then commit to it. Do it from your heart and with love. Today we need more nurses due to do battle with Covid-19.”
In closing, Dr. Boakye said he expects to see the graduates back on campus working toward their RN degrees. That’s something which the Class of 2021 agrees.
Once again, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is providing scholarships for current, fulltime Essex County College students enrolled in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Associate degree programs. The Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S-STEM) awards are $2,000 per semester.
S-STEM is geared toward financially needy, academically talented students majoring in the STEM fields. Students must have a minimum 3.2 grade point average and been awarded financial aid, such as a Pell grant.
Dr. Jill Stein, ECC Professor of Biology, said the College has been participating for five years in the NSF scholarship program. To date, she said that 51 ECC students have received the scholarship awards.
“The S-STEM grant provides students the additional funds that financial aid doesn’t cover. I urge eligible students to apply for this grant. It’s money that the student can use for any educational purpose,” said Dr. Stein.
Essex received a portion of the NSF award as a participant in a Rutgers University-Newark led initiative along with two other community colleges.
Although this is the last year of the 5-year NSF grant initiative, Dr. Stein said the College is working toward extending this program.
“These additional funds are critical for so many of our students to be able to remain in college. I certainly agree with Dr. Stein in encouraging our eligible students to apply for the NSF grants,” said ECC President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
Applications for the NSF grants are being accepted through January 28, 2022.
The application can be found at https://www.essex.edu/gs-lsamp/
Questions may be sent to [email protected].
When Essex County College’s (ECC) Student Nurse Association put out a campus-wide call for donations to its Toy and Coat Drive benefitting ECC’s Child Development Center (CDC), the response was enormous.
“It was on short notice, but we received an overwhelming response from everyone. We all came together as a team to benefit the children,” said Nursing student Takeyah Spann, Director of Community Service for the Association.
In just one week, donations poured which enabled Santa and Mrs. Claus to visit the Center on December 17, where they presented more than 60 bags of toys for the children. Clothing and coats were also collected and presented to the families of the children.
“Our CDC families left the event thrilled and elated about the items received and the care that went into putting the event together. Santa and Mrs. Claus were a big hit and put smiles on the faces of every child. Your joy and your spirit of giving were precious,” said CDC Director Virginia Flanigan.
You have helped spread the holiday spirit,” Porsha Davis, the CDC’s Interim Family Engagement and Assessment Coordinator, told the students.
For the record, Santa was played by Nursing student Terrence Rose. Nursing Professor Majuvy Sulse had the honor of portraying Mrs. Claus at the event.
Takeyah said it was an easy decision to select the CDC as the recipient of the Toy and Coat Drive. “The Center is right here at the College and we have done some of our nursing clinicals there. There’s a need in the community and we wanted to help,” she said.
In addition to Takeyah, other members of the Student Nurse Association Executive Board include Joshua Morales, President; Racquel Young-Daley, Vice President; Clementine Williams, Secretary; Rox-Anne McKenzie, Treasurer; Laura Provenzano, Director of Fundraising; and Jennifer Alexandre, Director of Public Relations. Professors Majuvy Sulse and Donna Francis serve as advisors to the group.
Karolina Kowal and David Alonge have the honor of being Essex County College’s 2022 representatives on the All USA-New Jersey Community College Academic Team. The announcement of the honor caught both students a little by surprise.
“Honestly, I was not expecting this. I was both excited and surprised when I received the word from Professor Wilson,” said Karolina, a Computer Science major from North Caldwell. Karolina has a 3.97 grade point average at ECC.
Professor Lynn Wilson serves as one of the advisors to the College’s Alpha Theta Theta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, to which both students serve as officers.
David, a Computer Science major from Newark, expressed similar surprise and gratitude in receiving the honor. “I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to represent Essex County College on the Academic Team,” he said. David has a 3.91 grade point average.
Karolina and David, who were nominated for the honor by Phi Theta Kappa, will be recognized by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges in the Spring on a date to be announced, said Professor Wilson.
Both students are also eligible for a number of national scholarships through the All USA-Coca Cola Foundation. Nominees are also eligible for the All USA National Academic Team.
"This is a great news! Congratulations to our students and Phi Theta Kappa mentors," said Essex County College President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
“Karolina is a wonderful student and student officer who can always be counted on when it comes to chapter activities and events. So much so that she was recognized as one of the top 10 members of the Phi Theta Kappa Middle States Region during the recent Honors in Action Leadership Conference,” said Professor Wilson. Karolina is the Chapter’s Vice President of Service, and is President of the College’s Robotics and Computer Club.
“David is the second person in his family to serve as an officer of Alpha Theta Theta. Like his sister Deborah (Officer Team 2020 – 2021) he has a ‘can do’ spirit that inspires others. As VP of Social Media, David has been pivotal in making sure that our chapter is represented and recognized throughout Middle States,” said stated Professor Wilson. David has also participated in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholarship program at ECC.
In keeping with the holiday spirit, members of the Essex County College Radiography Class of 2023 took it upon themselves to help the less fortunate.
“This year’s labor of love,” as Professor Darlyn Warner put it, was to collect personal items for the homeless youth staying at Newark’s Covenant House of New Jersey. “The students collected various items such as toothpaste, towels, pillows and shampoo to include in the packets the children receive at Covenant House,” stated Professor Warner Coordinator of the College’s Radiography Program.
“Our students and program faculty are honored to support Covenant House of New Jersey and want to thank their staff for the amazing work and commitment they offer to the youth of Newark who are in need,” added Professor Warner. “This is our way of giving back to the community,” she said.
“Because of your donation of personal care items, we will be able to expand our welcome kits for our youth who arrive with little to no belongings. Your donation is actually helping to impact many of our young people,” Covenant House Volunteer Coordinator Nabijah Shabazz said in her thank you to the ECC students. “Students like you help keep our mission of unconditional love for our youth alive,” she added.
“I applaud the generosity of our students. This spirit of giving and helping the community is what Essex County College is all about during this special time of the year,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
Professor Warner said her students annually help out a local organization. “Covenant House is in our neighborhood and this project worked out perfectly,” she added.
Essex County College’s 2nd Floor Forum was transformed into an employment opportunity center on December 7, 2021 with a College Career Fair. The event was sponsored by the College’s Office of Student Development and Career Services.
“Our Career Fair is geared toward students and alumni. The Fair is also open to area residents, as we are working to meet the needs of the community,” stated Shadiquah Hordge, Assistant Director of Career and Transfer Services, as she watched employment recruiters field questions from a steady stream of students.
“The Career Fair gave our students the opportunity to speak with various employers offering opportunities ranging from short term employment to internships to careers. There were openings available for students with skills in Business, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Engineering, Human and Social Services, Marketing, Nursing, Physical Therapy and other areas related to their majors at our College,” said Dr. S. Aisha Steplight Johnson, Director of Student Development and Career Services.
Ms. Hordge said the next College Career Fair is planned for the Spring.
The 12 Essex County College students who took part in the week-long NASA Community College Aerospace Scholarship (NCAS) virtual program this fall were recently treated to a special campus celebration. The Essex County College Chemical Society co-sponsored the celebration with the College.
“You did it! I see the energy you have and the role our faculty and administration can play for you to move forward. The NASA program is an excellent opportunity to help you become future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) professionals,” ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, told the students.
ECC was one of only seven community colleges participating in this year’s NASA program in which teams of students developed a prototype rover capable of lunar and planetary exploration. The College has had a three-year relationship with the NCAS, including several on-campus programs pre-pandemic. In all cases, ECC students worked with their counterparts from around the nation on the projects.
“With this all virtual program, the students didn’t know what to expect. But in the end, they accomplished something with NASA and they did it in just one week. I’m really humbled by their accomplishments,” said ECC Chemistry Professor Dr. Nidhal Marashi. Dr. Marashi and Physics Professor Dr. Nadia Lvov serve as the College’s NASA program coordinators.
At the celebration, several students recalled their NASA experiences.
“At first, I wasn’t sure I could go through with it. But the program showed me what I could expect in my career path and, in the end, our team developed a very strong bond,” said Mechanical Engineering major Chinanue Edward Igbokwe. He added the mentors, ECC adjuncts Dr. Patrick Dzisah and Professor Faraz Siddique, provided excellent support.
Going in, Rashown Rumble admitting he didn’t have a “NASA type background. But I saw it as a great opportunity and I had a lot of fun. I would recommend the NASA program to any student interested in this field,” he said.
“Being a part of the NASA program was not only an honor, but also a great asset for any future undertakings,” said Manuel Simo.
Dr. Lvov said for the students to get to the weeklong simulation, they had to compete a five-week virtual Summer program. “All the credit for what they accomplished goes to our students. It was a very intense week,” she said.
Paced by a pair of outstanding sophomores, Essex County College’s Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams are Region 19 champions. The Wolverine harriers captured the titles on October 30, 2021 in Newark, Delaware.
Sophomore Davian Gray traversed the 5 mile course in 27:50, a full three minutes faster than his nearest competitor. Sophomore Megan Thompson completed her 3.2 mile run in 21:28 in winning the women’s title.
Other ECC finishers for the men were Khabeeba Mills (2nd), Daniel McDonald-Hylton (4th), Mohammed Soumare (5th) and Daniel Cunningham (7th). On the women’s side it was Zoey-Ann Wint (2nd), Khadija Lynch (3rd) Delverna Broomfield (5th) and Kayla Charles (6th).
The Women’s team is ranked 24th in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), its highest ranking ever. The College competes athletically in Region 19 of the NJCAA.
“I am so proud of these young men and women. After a 5-year drought, it feels good to bring the regional championship back home. They are peaking at just the right time for Nationals,” said Coach Lionel Leach. He is assisted by Eddie Greene.
“I’m extremely proud of the perseverance of our student-athletes, especially with all the Covid related challenges they have had to face, to reach such a high standard of excellence. I especially want to salute our sophomores who have continued to push themselves in order to succeed at this level,” said ECC Athletic Director Michael Doughtie.
“Once again, our student-athletes and coaches have done our College proud. Congratulations to all on a job well done,” said Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, ECC President.
“This is fantastic! Congratulations to our Cross Country teams and coaches for an outstanding performance,” said Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Keith Kirkland.
The College will be sending a contingent to the NJCAA championships on November 13 in Richmond, Virginia. Athletic Director Doughtie said all five women runners will compete. On the men’s side, Davian Gray, Daniel McDonald Hymon and Khabeeba Mills are representing the College at Nationals.
Under sunny skies Friday, September 10, a groundbreaking ceremony signaled the official start of work on Essex County College’s new 51,700-square-foot West Essex campus building, on the site of the old facility in West Caldwell. Governor Phil Murphy was a special guest at the ceremony.
“This beautiful new facility will allow us to expand our academic programs for degree students and provide more Workforce Development training opportunities for other residents. Our new state-of-the art campus has been designed to meet the needs of our students,” said ECC Interim President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
The new four-story building will be constructed closer to Bloomfield Avenue than the current 1920s elementary school structure. It will provide space to complement the current curriculum offered by the College and is designed with flexibility to accommodate any changes that may arise in the future. It will include space for classrooms, labs, an information center, the ECC Skilled and Technical Science Academy and multi-purpose halls. Officials said the new campus is expected to be open in the Fall of 2022.
Dr. Boakye noted that the College has been in West Caldwell for over 40 years in an aging building. “We could not provide enough resources and space to meet our students’ needs.” That will change with the new spacious campus, he added.
“Our community colleges touch the entire spectrum of our state. Students from 18 years of age to our seniors attend community college, all looking for an education, additional job training, to start a new career, or for enrichment. The community college system is our secret weapon in the state’s future. I just had to be here today,” said Gov. Murphy. A project like this requires a partnership, which we have here,” he added.
“I want to thank Governor Murphy and Dr. Boakye for their partnership on this project. Building this new campus is an example of what can be accomplished when different government agencies share the same goals and work together to achieve them,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
The project’s funding includes school construction grants and a grant from the state’s Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act. Funds also are being provided from the State of New Jersey and the Essex County Capital Budget.
Jim Johnson, from project designer Netta Architects of Mountainside, said the new campus will consist of “a lot of glass and openness, driven by technology and a modern Information Commons. It will be a place where students want to come and stay. It will be a pinnacle to this County for years to come.”
Essex County College Board of Trustees Chair Marion A. Bolden said “days like this are what it’s all about. Community college is a lifeline for so many and this new campus will provide outstanding educational opportunities.”
ECC Students Government Association President Jessica Clark and Vice President Nicholas Mendez thanked Gov. Murphy and County Executive DiVincenzo for their support, presenting the officials with special College gifts.
The demolition of the original campus building is being handled by Two Brothers Contracting, Inc. of Totowa. The contract to construct the new campus building will be put out to public bidding in a few weeks.
Nkuah Asare, Essex County College’s newly elected Alumni Association President, is quick to point out how his classes at ECC prepared him for when he transferred to NJIT. “I quickly realized, especially in math class, how my time at Essex made my adjustment to a four year university that much easier,” said Nkuah. He graduated from Essex in 2015 with an Associate degree in Environmental Science.
Now a Geotechnical Engineer at Frank H. Lehr Associates, in East Orange, the Newark resident figures he is in a good position to give back to his first collegiate alma mater. Nkuah earned a Civil Engineering degree from NJIT and this Fall will pursue a Master’s degree there in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Geotechnical Engineering.
Although his two year term has just started, Nkuah is already formulating an Alumni Association agenda with other members of the Executive Board.
“It’s important that we showcase the College to prospective students as an affordable option. Students take the same courses in their first two years of college and they can save money by starting at Essex. Then they can transfer to a four-year school with junior status,” he said.
“My plan is for everyone who ran for a seat on the Executive Board to bring many other alums into the Association. That will increase our membership exponentially. I would also like everyone who voted in the election to become active and then we can go from there. We are a team,” he stated.
Upcoming Alumni Association meetings will be on Zoom and eventually in person. The next meeting is scheduled for August 19. “We should also have a platform to provide graduates information on the importance of giving back. “If one day, which I don’t want to happen, Essex County College is no longer functioning, our degrees will not look as good as they do now. Support your alma mater and your degree is that much more valuable,” said Nkuah.
For now, Nkuah wants the Alumni Association to raise money for scholarships at various events. “We will be building for Essex County College,” he said.
Other Alumni Association Executive Officers are Stephanie Carter, Vice President; Patrick Saint Fort, Treasurer; Allison James-Frison, Corresponding Secretary; Nesseline Belceus, Recording Secretary; and Maria Andrade, Serena Barnes, and Corneille Adanou.
“I’m pleased that the Alumni Association had its election with such outstanding candidates. I have confidence in Mr. Asare’s leadership as President and the rest of the Association’s Executive Officers. The College is well on its way toward building a strong and vibrant Alumni Association,” said Interim President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
“The College administration is looking forward to giving Mr. Asare, his leadership team and the entire Alumni Association our full support. We are in the process of creating a Welcoming Packet that will be available at our Welcome Center for all alumni,” said Alfred Bundy, Executive Director for Institutional Advancement. He said the packet will provide information on the College’s various services available to alumni.
The Dual Enrollment program at Essex County College allows pre-college students to take college for-credit classes while still attending their local high schools. This year, 21 Newark Tech students were recognized for earning their Associate degree during ECC’s Virtual Commencement on June 4, 2021.
One of these students from Newark, Tatyanna Nelums, is a true overachiever. In addition to earning her Associate degree, she also had the honor of serving as Newark Tech’s Valedictorian this year.
“Going to college while attending high school was a wonderful opportunity for me and definitely worth the extra work,” the 17-year-old said, who will be heading to Syracuse University this fall to major in Aerospace Engineering. To make it work, Tatyanna said it was a matter of budgeting her time after she decided to enroll in the ECC program as a high school freshman.
“Our program prepares these high school students for college by giving them additional classes each year,” said Dr. Elvy Vieira, Dean of Community, Continuing Education & Workforce Development at ECC. Dr. Vieira explained that the students receive the necessary tutoring to keep them on track. The courses are taught by ECC faculty and College adjunct instructors.
Newark Tech Principal Carmen Morales has been very impressed by Tatyanna. “She is bright, articulate, and unafraid to push boundaries, thinks outside the box, and puts in the hard work that is needed to achieve the goals she sets. Her strong work ethic, competitive nature, and ability to work as a team player is what has led Tatyanna to this level of success in her academic career. There is no doubt that she will continue to soar and achieve many great things," Principal Morales stated.
In addition to her College courses during the regular school year, Tatyanna took several ECC courses over each summer in the program, including the College Success Seminar and history classes.
Interestingly, Tatyanna also served as class Valediction in both elementary and middle school.
On her career choice, Tatyanna said, “I’ve always been interested in science. When I learned about NASA and space exploration, that really sparked my interest in science and aerospace.”
She has received a full tuition scholarship to attend Syracuse. Since she has earned her Associate degree at ECC, Tatyanna will be on course to complete her Bachelor’s requirements early.
Tatyanna is not resting on her laurels and taking the Summer off. Before starting at Syracuse on August 24, she will spend four weeks in Italy through the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) program. “I want to learn about the culture of Italy and travel through the country,” she said. “I know it will be a great experience.”
“I’m confident Tatyanna is well on her way toward doing great things. All of us at Essex County College are extremely proud of all our high school graduates from the Dual Enrollment Program. I wish all of the students continued success,” said ECC Interim President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
Essex County College is the recipient of a $90,000 grant as part of the Johnson Controls Community College Partnership program, which aims to equip students with in-demand knowledge and skills supporting employment and a pathway for life-long careers upon graduation.
In addition to the funding, Johnson Controls employees will support ECC through volunteering and mentorships, providing students with real-world experience, internship opportunities and professional networking connections. Johnson Controls is an international company, with a United States office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“We are very grateful to be participating in the Johnson Controls Community College Partnership program. The materials and training our students will receive will provide them with outstanding long-term career opportunities,” said ECC Interim President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.
The funding will support the purchase and development of classroom materials, learning technologies and student scholarships. ECC’s award also enables the College to create a partnership with CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) to expand IT certification programs for careers in IT and Help Desk positions.
“Through this grant, participating students will be better prepared for IT certification at no cost to them. The courses, coupled with possible internships, will propel students toward lucrative careers in the IT field,” said Dr. Elvy Vieira, Dean of Community, Continuing Education and Workforce Development.
ECC is one of ten community colleges receiving grants for the 2021‒2022 academic year. The grant is provided by Johnson Controls in an effort to expand associate degree and certificate programs in areas where the U.S. Bureau of Labor is predicting an increased need for skilled trades expertise in the coming years.
“Johnson Controls is proud to build upon our significant presence in the city by partnering with Essex County College on the Community College Partnership Program. We believe the program will empower people to build life-long careers that will transform their lives and the city,” said Grady Crosby, VP of Public Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at Johnson Controls. “Just as smart, healthy buildings are critical to our well-being, well-educated and trained technicians are crucial to keeping our environments operating safely and efficiently. As a leader in the building industry for over a century, Johnson Controls is honored to share our expertise with the country’s leading community colleges.”
When Abimbola Arigbe assumed the presidency of the Essex County College Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society for the 2020-21 year, she knew the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would create unique challenges to the vibrant group of high achieving students.
“Because most classes are online and we have all new officers, we have been adapting. We meet weekly via Zoom, even if it’s just a short discussion on College projects,” said the Biology, Pre-Medicine student from Newark. She said a number of service projects are planned including an on-campus mural initiative.
The College’s Alpha Theta Theta Chapter of the Honor Society has won numerous awards at both the Middle States and International conventions, including the prestigious “Five Star Chapter.”
Even though the recently completed NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program had a different look this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Essex County College participants still had a fulfilling experience that will only help them going forward.
NASA officials modified the virtual challenge to student teams designing a mission to the Moon or Mars. ECC, with 22 participants, had the largest contingent out of the hundreds of students taking part nation-wide. The College was also was the only community college from NASA’s six pilot institutions to continue the program during the pandemic.
“It was such a great experience. We learned to be part of a group and do the best to achieve the goals that we set up for the day. We listened to each other and discussed every decision to move forward and asked for help when we had questions,” said Salma Alami Yadri. She graduated from ECC in the spring with a degree in Engineering. She is now at NJIT majoring in Electrical Engineering.
“Our students had a very unique experience working with peers around the country and having access to NASA professionals,” said Dr. Nidhal Marashi, ECC Chemistry Professor, and the PI and Program Coordinator. Dr. Marashi and ECC Physics Professor Nadia Lvov mentored students during the summer portion of the program.
“I’m extremely pleased with all our participants,” Dr. Marashi said.
Sixty desks, spread out across the expansive floor, occupy a good portion of the Essex County College’s Gymnasium basketball court. Normally the home of ECC’s successful Wolverine basketball teams, the Gym now serves a new role during the COVID-19 pandemic: Internet Café.
With the College offering a majority of classes through remote instruction, it has created a number of challenges for students, especially those with limited or no access to the Internet and computers.
The Internet Café, open 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, has been designed to provide a safe and secure space for computer work. Students can even borrow fully charged iPads and Notebooks for use in the Café. The Internet Café aide will provide students with the password for borrowed equipment. Students may also
bring their own computer equipment.
The Café’s available bandwidth capability allows more stations to be added as needed.
“I’m very impressed by the support of the College staff, especially IT, in creating this innovative, customized Internet Café for our students. “The Café has been designed for student success as we continue dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting/Interim President Dr. Augustine Boakye during a tour of the facility.
“We know remote instruction has created challenges beyond the normal rigors of college. The Internet Café is just one way of lessening the pressure and ensuring you stay on track toward reaching your academic goals,” Dr. Boakye said.
During the pandemic, Essex County College follows all CDC health and safety guidelines, including social distancing. The stations are positioned to maintain at least six feet between students and staff. Wearing a mask on campus is mandatory, and that includes the Internet Café. In addition, disinfectants and hand sanitizers are available for Internet Café users.
The College's Associate degree Nursing program has received continuing accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) for the next eight years. The next ACEN evaluation visit will be in Fall of 2027.
"This is a true testament to our faculty and their commitment to Nursing education for our students," said Dr. Gale Gage, Chair of ECC's Nursing Department. "We are proud of the quality education we provide to our students, our new nurses."
Dr. Gage said the accreditation approval from the ACEN is timely this year as 2020 has been designated by the World Health Organization as the International Year of the Nurse.
"This is phenomenal news and is a testament to the great work being done by our Faculty and Nursing Chairperson," said ECC's President, Dr. Anthony E. Munroe. "Our students and their future patients are the real winners," he added.
"We look forward to continued successes for your nursing program. On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, we thank you and your colleagues for your commitment to quality nursing education," wrote Dr. Marsal P. Stoll, ACEN's Chief Executive Officer, in the confirmation letter to Dr. Gage.
An ACEN team visited the College last fall to evaluate the program. The final site visit report determined all six standards had been met. Final ACEN approval came following the recent action by the ACEN Board of Commissioners.
Essex County College was front and center during the March 10 New Jersey State Senate Budget Committee hearing, as President Dr. Anthony E. Munroe delivered the 2020-2021 budget presentation and issues on behalf of all 18 state community colleges. The hearing was held at neighboring NJIT.
Dr. Munroe was accompanied by ECC students Ronnie Bermeo and Madeline Mendez. Ronnie, a Newark Supply Chain Management major also addressed the Senate panel on the importance of continuing the state’s Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) program, which covers tuition costs for qualified students.
Dr. Munroe remarked that more than 7,000 students state-wide have taken advantage of the CCOG program, which is the “last resort” following the exhaustion of other aid and grants. He urged the program be made permanent. At ECC since the Fall of 2019, 631 students have received CCOG aid, totaling $713,357.
Dr. Aaron Fitchner, President of the New Jersey Council of Community Colleges, joined Dr. Munroe at the hearing.
A free computer training and programming workshop, using the program Python, will be held Friday, March 13.
The half day workshop is from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. It will be held in Room 4164B on the Newark campus.
The hands-on program is made available through a Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Grant. Underrepresented students are encouraged to enroll in the program.
“Python is a programming language which has a wide range of applications in many high-demand, well-paying IT fields,” said Engineering and Computer Science Professor Dr. Hossein Assadipour, who will teach the class. “Anyone who needs to know coding, whether it is in health sciences or business and economics, can use the program.”
Seating for the workshop is limited. To apply/register, contact Dr. Assadipour at [email protected].
The recent Essex County College Supply Chain Management field trip to Fleet Distribution Center in Harrison began at the top with a round table discussion with founder and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Alex Habbaz.
Students flipped their regular classroom session for this educational tour to gain practical exposure to Supply Chain Management and the technology that supports logistics, customer service operations, transportation systems, strategic value-add operations within distribution centers and the logic of cross-docking.
In his question and answer session with students, Mr. Habbaz emphasized innovation and development of solutions to meet the needs of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and end users. He encouraged the students to pursue their career with vigor and know that “while things can go wrong, success comes when we learn from our experiences and reposition ourselves to improve our desired outcomes.”
Supply Chain Management student Madeline Mendez was fascinated by the tour. “This was my first visit to a Third Party Logistics Company. During the tour, we saw logistics processes involving operations, receiving containers, unloading, repackaging and branding products for specific retail and wholesale stores. Seeing our classroom discussions come alive in the real world confirmed the role of Supply Chain Management in our service-driven economy.”
Professor Pavi Jalloh, instructor of the College’s Supply Chain Management courses, added that interaction with industry practitioners is a game changer for our students and Fleet Distribution Center has been an excellent partner for ECC’s Supply Chain Management program
Speaking to the students, Dr. Augustine Boakye, Acting Dean of Liberal Arts & Business, said “our job is to support, mentor and encourage you to keep the momentum. We will give you the keys and show you the doors to opportunities, the rest is up to you to make it happen.”
The A.S. degree Supply Chain Management program was introduced at Essex in January, 2017, the first two-year institution in New Jersey to offer the degree. The program has graduated 12 students to date while 40 students are in the pipeline.
A free day-long workshop using Matlab/Octave will be held Wednesday, October 30.
The morning session is from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., while the afternoon portion is from 1 to 4 p.m. The workshop will be in Room 4165B on the Newark campus. Participants need to commit to both sessions.
The hands-on program is funded through a Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Grant. Underrepresented students are encouraged to enroll in the program.
“This workshop is ideal for students to learn about Matlab/Octave and the opportunities available in this high paying field,” said Engineering and Computer Science Professor Dr. Hossein Assadipour, who will teach the class.
Seating for the workshop is limited. To apply/register, contact Dr. Assadipour at [email protected]
Freshmen Navasky Anderson and Leon Clarke represented themselves and Essex County College well at the National Junior College Athletic Association Indoor Track and Field Championships, held March 1-2 in Pittsburg, Kansas.
Competing in the 800 meter run, Navasky finished seventh in his qualifying heat with a personal best time of 1:54.71. He then placed seventh overall in the finals.
Leon also ran his personal best of 1:19.55 in the qualifying round of the 600 meter run. In the finals, he finished eighth overall.
Both Navasky and Leon finished with the second fastest freshman times in their respective events.
The Wolverine track team is led by Head Coach Shaylah Counts and Assistant Coach Lionel Leach.
Due to the inclement weather and unsafe road conditions, Essex County College will be closed today, Thursday March 5th, 2015.
The Essex County College Lady Wolverines soccer team seeks to defend its Region XIX title this Saturday, October 27. The team advanced to the finals following a 1-0 victory over Harcum College this past Saturday.
Ashari Bowen, off an assist from Shanearay Wilkins, netted the game’s lone goal in the first half. Goalie Nicolette Craig recorded four saves in posting the shutout.
Coach Monique Edouard’s 9-1-1 squad will take on Sussex County Community College at 12 p.m. in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. The Lady Wolverines have a 1-0 victory earlier this season over the Sussex Skylanders.
“It way an amazing victory to bring the team back to the region final,” said Coach Edouard. “It was a collaborative effort from the entire team and I am so proud of them. But we still have a big one coming up this Saturday. We just need to stay focused.”
Meanwhile, the 9-1 men’s soccer team will take on Harcum College at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow, October 23 in the Region XIX semi-finals. That game is set for 2:30 p.m. at Weequahic Park in Newark. Dr. Richard Esposito’s team won at Harcum, 3-1, earlier this year.
The winner of that game will travel to Conshohocken as well on Saturday for the regional final.
Essex County College (ECC) will receive up to $305,000 as part of the state’s Community College Innovation Challenge. This grant, awarded to all community colleges that applied, is but a small piece of Gov. Murphy’s multi-million dollar Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG). The ultimate goal of the CCOG is to provide free community college tuition for state residents who meet specific economic guidelines.
These funds will be utilized in order to continue the affordable, high quality education which ECC has provided its students for 50 years. Bolstered by the state money, ECC will continue to enhance our support and wraparound services to students while our College, as always, develops new programming to help satisfy the needs of a constantly evolving future. By next fall the College anticipates receiving additional dollars from the governor’s Student First Initiative.
“When fully implemented, this initiative will be boon for the entire state of New Jersey, and especially for the many residents who will be eligible for the free tuition,” said Essex President Dr. Anthony E. Munroe. “It is extremely important we work together to position ourselves to take full advantage of state CCOG money as it becomes available over the next few years.”
As you know, ECC is fully-accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, serving the dynamic needs of diverse constituencies through comprehensive educational programs and services. In today’s ever changing economy, more and more New Jersey residents will need a post-secondary credential or degree for a career that provides a family sustaining wage. That’s extremely important right here in Essex County, where some 15 percent of all residents do not possess a high school diploma.
ECC has comprehensive Financial Aid and Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) programs with over 70 percent of ECC students receiving such assistance. Additionally, ECC students receive over $700,000 in scholarships and grants each year. Still, there is a large population in Essex County in need of tuition assistance.
Our accomplishments are many. Since 2012, ECC has been one of the leading two-year institutions in the nation in producing Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholars who receive up to a $120,000 award from this prestigious organization.
We were recognized as a “Rising STEM Star in Northern New Jersey” in the August edition of University Business magazine for our many nationally-recognized science and allied health degree programs. About 40 percent of our graduates earn their Associate degree in one of the STEM fields. Our Division of Business is one of only two New Jersey community colleges accredited by the Accreditation Council of Business Schools & Programs.
A recent Stanford University study found that ECC students have greatly increased their earning power over the past few years. In fact, the study showed that 30 percent of Essex students moved up two or more income quintiles after graduation, which ranked the institution 26th out of the 690 two-year colleges surveyed. Each quintile jump is a 20 percent increase.
College Choice named Essex County College the 50th Best Community College for 2017.
ECC is New Jersey’s only two-year College designated a Predominantly Black and a Hispanic Serving Institution.
We must continue to position ourselves to take advantage of programs that will provide our most deserving students the money necessary to continue their education. If you want ECC to be part of your life please visit https://essexedu2483.wpengine.com/why-ecc/ or call 973-877-3100 for more information.
The Essex County Register’s Office has launched its Public Records Electronic Search System (PRESS) today May 13th. This system allows the public to search documents electronically through the internet at: https://press.essexregister.com/prodpress/index.aspx
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to provide a brief update to let you know that we are on schedule with our national search to identify the next President of Essex County College (ECC). I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in the online survey, as well as the public forums, through which participants had opportunities to discuss the qualities and qualifications ECC is seeking in our next president. Your feedback was insightful and valuable, and your contributions informed the development of the Presidential Profile.
On May 19, 2021, the Presidential Search Committee met for orientation and training, and to work on the draft Presidential Profile. On May 25, the Board of Trustees held a special meeting to review and approve the Presidential Profile.
The Presidential Profile is now finalized and can be found at the ECC presidential search webpage: https://www.essex.edu/presidentialsearch2021/
The target date for applications is August 25, 2021.
The Board of Trustees is committed to conducting an equitable, inclusive, and transparent national search process. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to our ACCT Search Consultants:
Marion A. Bolden, Chair, Essex County College Board of Trustees