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The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) recently honored 37 students from the state’s 18 community colleges for being named to the 2023 New Jersey All-State Academic Team for their outstanding academic achievements and service to their communities and colleges.

“These exceptional students utilized the many opportunities that New Jersey’s Community Colleges have to offer and succeeded brilliantly,” said NJCCC President Aaron Fichtner, Ph.D.

“We applaud the New Jersey All-State Academic Team members for their academic excellence, hard-work, and perseverance to rise to the top of their class.” Fichtner said. “Their tenacity and incredible work ethic serve as an inspiration to all.”

In addition to the All-State Academic Team honors, Union College student Carine Medellus, of Roselle, is one of only 20 students nationwide selected for the 2023 All-USA Academic Team, sponsored by Cengage, Phi Theta Kappa, and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The All-USA Academic Team recognizes high-achieving students who demonstrate academic excellence combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society.

NJCCC Chair Mary Zimmermann said the work ethic demonstrated by all 37 students was inspiring.

“These students have thrived on and off campus as community leaders to reach this high level of achievement,” said Zimmermann. “They exemplify all the good that comes from a New Jersey community college education, and we could not be prouder.”

The 2023 New Jersey All-State Academic Team members are:

  • Atlantic Cape Community College: Alexis Cabrera (Mays Landing) and Harper Showalter (Marmora);
  • Bergen Community College: Mana Mehdizadeh (Nutley) and Petar Petroski (Oradell);
  • Brookdale Community College: Belinda Asamoah (New Brunswick) and Sara Hosbach (Freehold);
  • Camden County College: Misturah Mustapha (Sicklerville);
  • Essex County College: Elizabeth Bakare (East Orange) and Favour Ogbinaka (Newark);
  • Hudson County Community College: Sally Elwir (Bloomfield) and Dina Thompson (Jersey City);
  • Mercer County Community College: Sean Duigon (Mercerville) and Mykhaylo Yanchyk (New Egypt);
  • Middlesex College: Ezra Goldfarb (Edison) and Dzulieta Ismaili-Jean (South Amboy);
  • County College of Morris: Zachary Strickler (Mount Arlington) and Samantha Wrobel (Succasunna);
  • Ocean County College: Brooke Doering (Toms River) and Cynthia Huggins (Brick);
  • Passaic County Community College: Nicolette Carpenter (West Milford) and Carolina Ramos (Totowa);
  • Raritan Valley Community College: Jennifer Barnickel (Flemington) and John Vargas, (North Plainfield);
  • Rowan College at Burlington County: Michelle Sprenger (Shamong) and Emily Weiman (Westampton);
  • Rowan College of South Jersey, Cumberland: Brandi Zerillo (Vineland) and Melissa Straub (Pittsgrove);
  • Rowan College of South Jersey, Gloucester: Abrahim J. Kromah (Glassboro) and Megan Rinaldo (Millville)
  • Salem Community College: Amy Chomo (Salem); and Emma Joyce (Woodstown);
  • Sussex County Community College: Brookyln-Taylor Rubenacker (Sussex) and Tyler Yanagi (Stanhope);
  • Union College of Union County, NJ: Mina Basaly (Elizabeth) and Carine Medellus (Roselle); and
  • Warren County Community College: Sarah Sylverne (Phillipsburg) and Alyssa Zikas (Belvidere).

The New Jersey Community College Scholars Celebration held April 27 at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton also included awards to seven community college students, who 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 recipients are:

  • Marie Eng, Bergen Community College; New Century Workforce Pathway Scholarship;
  • Mana Mehdizadeh, Bergen Community College, Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship;
  • Petar Petroski, Bergen Community College, Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship;
  • Nicolette Carpenter, Passaic County Community College, Coca-Cola Silver Scholarship;
  • Jennifer Barnickel, Raritan Valley Community College, Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship;
  • Ozichi Chinedu, Union College of Union County, NJ, Coca-Cola Silver Scholarship; and
  • Carine Medellus, Union College of Union County, NJ, New Century Transfer Pathway Scholarship.

About the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC)

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) was created in 1989 to support and promote New Jersey’s 18 community colleges. These community colleges now enroll more than 180,000 people each year in credit, noncredit, and workforce development courses at more than 70 campuses throughout the state. The New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development, a subsidiary of NJCCC, brings together the community colleges as a collective to provide workforce development training.