New Jersey Community Colleges Honor Outstanding Student Scholars and Leaders: Thirty-Eight Students Named to the 2024 New Jersey All-State Academic Team

Karla Roth-Bardinas

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Passaic County Community College Student Named to 2024 All-USA Academic Team

TRENTON, NJ, April 25, 2024 – The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) recognized 38 students from the state’s 18 community colleges as members of the 2024 New Jersey All-State Academic Team at the New Jersey Community College Scholars Celebration, Thursday evening at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. The students, all members of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for Community Colleges, were honored for their outstanding academic achievements and exceptional service to their communities and colleges. The students were nominated by their college leaders based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service.

“The 38 students have achieved a high level of academic excellence while contributing to their college and the broader community. We applaud the New Jersey All-State Academic Team members for their hard-work and dedication, and for their many contributions to their colleges and their communities,” said NJCCC President Aaron R. Fichtner, Ph.D.

“The dedication, creativity, innovative spirit, and commitment to service of these amazing students inspires us all. We are confident that they will have bright futures and that they will shape the future of our state,” said Dr. Sheetal Ranjan, Chair of the NJCCC and a trustee at Bergen Community College.

New Jersey’s 18 community colleges serve 230,000 students across the state at 49 campus locations and provide affordable, high-quality academic and workforce programs that expand access to education and economic opportunities while helping students to be part of the state’s skilled and innovative workforce.

The students on the All State Academic Team include both students who will continue their education and those who will pursue careers following their graduation from community college this spring. The honorees include students with diverse interests and areas of study, including computer science, healthcare, physics, creative writing, engineering, liberal arts, political science, criminal justice, and psychology.

Check out the event photos

The 2024 New Jersey All-State Academic Team members are:

  • Atlantic Cape Community College:  Priya Momi (Galloway) and Enin Taggart (Estell Manor);
  • Bergen Community College: Mateo Armas (Garfield) and Shiwa Yangzom (Fair Lawn);
  • Brookdale Community College:  Amarachi David (Jackson) and Eden Pela (Cherry Hill);
  • Camden County College:  Aisha Badshah (Sicklerville); and Jack Ruiz (Clementon);
  • Essex County College: Esther Okie (Newark) and Vanessa Porta (Cedar Grove);
  • Hudson County Community College:  Leonardo Silva Serra de Paula (Jersey City) and Shemia Superville (Jersey City);
  • Mercer County Community College:  Subish Benjamin (Plainsboro) and Nathalie Wijaya (North Brunswick);
  • Middlesex College:  Kyrollos M. Girgis (East Brunswick) and Manmeet S. Singh (Edison);
  • County College of Morris:  Hamza Alvi (Rockaway) and Alison Bott (Kinnelon);
  • Ocean County College: Jillian Kane (Toms River) and Sadain Siddique (Jackson);
  • Passaic County Community College:  Bilal Gebril (Passaic) and Samantha Marte (Paterson);
  • Raritan Valley Community College:  Olivia O’Donnell (Basking Ridge) and Jordan Nussbaum, (Hillsborough);
  • Rowan College at Burlington County: Charissa Foster (Willingboro) and Katriel Master (Cherry Hill);
  • Rowan College of South Jersey, Cumberland: Jasmine Figueroa (Bridgeton) and Kayla Ortiz (Egg Harbor Township);
  • Rowan College of South Jersey, Gloucester: Mackenzie Cochran (Sewell) and Isabella Teti (Deptford)
  • Salem Community College:  Megan Campbell (Pennsville); and Ashley Norton (Salem);
  • Sussex County Community College: Viviana Pineda (Succasunna) and Melanie Salerno (Franklin);
  • Union College of Union County, NJ: Michaela Fajardo (Elizabeth) and Camila Taddeo (Union); and
  • Warren County Community College: Nevaeh Bruck (Stewartsville) and Talisa Gordon (Phillipsburg)

We are also proud to announce that Bilal Gebril (Passaic), Passaic County Community College, has been selected to the 2024 All-USA Academic Team, sponsored by Cengage, Phi Theta Kappa, and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).  He 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, five 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:

  • Jocelyn Caceres, Atlantic Cape Community College, New Century Workforce Pathway Scholarship;
  • Shiwa Yangzom, Bergen Community College, Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship;
  • Jordyn Bostick, Mercer County Community College, Coca-Cola Bronze Scholarship;
  • Bilal Gebril, Passaic County Community College, New Century Transfer Pathway Scholarship;
  • Mackenzie Cochran, Rowan College of South Jersey, Cumberland, Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship

About the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC)

Governed by the presidents and trustees of the state’s 18 Community Colleges and enshrined in state law, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) supports New Jersey’s Community Colleges and the more than 230,000 students they serve annually across 49 locations by fostering collaboration and developing solutions that expand access to college, promote equity and student success, and create a skilled workforce to drive economic growth.

NJCCC brings together the state’s Community Colleges to build a world-class, flexible higher education and workforce development system that can respond to the needs of local communities and employers while having statewide reach and impact. NJCCC promotes innovation and policy changes to help New Jersey’s Community Colleges in their efforts to achieve academic, social, and economic mobility for all residents. The Council’s New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development builds statewide industry, education, and labor partnerships that align education and training with the needs of a changing economy.

To learn more about NJCCC and New Jersey’s Community Colleges, go to Follow us @NJCommColleges on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to learn more about our latest programs and initiatives.