New Jersey Community Colleges Honor Outstanding Student Scholars and Leaders: Thirty-Eight Students Named to the 2022 New Jersey All-State Academic Team

Karla Roth-Bardinas

Think Media Communications or 732-996-9789

Raritan Valley Community College Student Named to 2022 All-USA Academic Team

TRENTON, NJ, April 28, 2022 – Today, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) honored 38 students from the state’s 18 Community Colleges for being named to the 2022 New Jersey All-State Academic Team for their outstanding academic achievements and exceptional service to their communities and colleges as members of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for Community Colleges. The New Jersey Community College Scholars Celebration was held at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.

“These students truly exemplify the true power of Community Colleges. The New Jersey All-State Academic Team members have worked incredibly hard to become the state’s very best Community College students. They have remarkable stories and serve as an inspiration to all,” said NJCCC President Aaron Fichtner, Ph.D.

“They have become leaders on their college campuses and have contributed to their communities in myriad ways,” said NJCCC Chair Mary Zimmermann. “As we emerge from the pandemic, New Jersey Community College students continue to prove their perseverance and achieve.”


The 2022 New Jersey All-State Academic Team members are:  

  • Atlantic Cape Community College:  Megan Kazier (Egg Harbor Township) and Madelyn Sacco (Somers Point);

  • Bergen Community College:  Katie Conte (Ringwood) and Kim Gastelu (Oradell);

  • Brookdale Community College:  Cathleen Kane (Hazlet) and Daniella Mannarino (Tinton Falls);

  • Camden County College:  Lauren Applegate (Pennsauken) and Brenda Quinones (Pennsauken);

  • Essex County College:  David Alonge (Newark) and Karolina Kowal (North Caldwell);

  • Hudson County Community College:  Marlenne Andalia (North Bergen) and Jeffrey LeVine (North Bergen);

  • Mercer County Community College:  Sukhdeep Sudan (Ewing) and Mykhaylo Yanchyk (Trenton);

  • Middlesex College:  Hely Dodia (Edison) and Thomas Emens (Jamesburg);

  • County College of Morris:  Peter Balluffi-Fry (Mountain Lakes,) and Samantha Shimabukuro (Lake Hiawatha);

  • Ocean County College:  Kaitlyn Barrett (Brick) and Sarah Wymbs (Little Egg Harbor);

  • Passaic County Community College:  Delia Casamenti (Mahwah) and Ashely Diaz (Paterson);

  • Raritan Valley Community College:  Connie Looi, (Hillsborough) and Sangeetha Punnam, (Bridgewater);

  • Rowan College at Burlington County: Pietra Oliveira (Mount Laurel) and Christina Scillieri (Maple Shade);

  • Rowan College of South Jersey, Cumberland:  Virgen Silva-Mendez (Bridgeton) and Vickie Wilde (Salem);

  • Rowan College of South Jersey, Gloucester: Samantha Bicking (Thorofare) and Alexandra Jovanovic-Foka (Deptford)

  • Salem Community College:  Abigail Chomo (Salem); and Kaitlin Hanna (Carneys Point);

  • Sussex County Community College: Riley Cunniffe (Stockholm) and Paige McCarrick (Wantage);

  • Union County College:  Mark Farag (Elizabeth) and Sophia Morales (Linden); and

  • Warren County Community College:  Dina Shenouda (Phillipsburg) and Meagan Taylor (Columbia).

We are also proud to announce that Sangeetha Punnam (Bridgewater), Raritan Valley Community College, has been selected to the 2022 All-USA Academic Team, sponsored by Cengage, Phi Theta Kappa, and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).  She is one of twenty of the Nation’s top Community College students to receive this honor. The All-USA Academic Team is recognized for their high-achieving college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society.

Additionally, eight New Jersey Community College students were recognized by Phi Theta Kappa and the Coca-Cola Foundation with scholarships as part of the USA All-State Academic Team competition. Team members were nominated by their college administrators based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service. The New Jersey recipients are:

  • Kim Gastelu, Bergen Community, New Century Workforce Pathway Scholarship;

  • Katie Conte, Bergen Community College; Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship;

  • Cathleen Kane, Brookdale Community College, Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship;

  • Thomas Emens, County College of Morris, Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship;

  • Ashely Diaz, Passaic County Community College, Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship;

  • Connie Looi, Raritan Valley Community College, Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship;

  • Sangeetha Punnam, Raritan Valley Community College, New Century Transfer Pathway Scholarship; and

  • Samantha Bicking, Rowan College of South Jersey, Gloucester, Coca-Cola Silver Scholarship.


NJCCC Proven Cover

About NJCCC:

New Jersey’s 18 agile and innovative Community Colleges are prepared to lead in the response to and recovery from this public health and economic crisis and to secure a brighter future for all New Jerseyans. The New Jersey Council of County Colleges provides statewide leadership for the advancement of New Jersey Community Colleges, performs coordinating responsibilities as required by law, and coordinates statewide efforts to build a skilled workforce and improve student success. We encourage you to visit our website at