Chemistry Major Timothy Hajj Becomes CCM Intern at Novartis

Community College Education Leads to Life-Changing Opportunities – Posted 4/28/16

Timothy Hajj, a chemistry major at County College of Morris (CCM), doesn’t believe in giving up on a goal. If at first something doesn’t work, he follows the school of thought that you should try again with greater conviction.

That mode of thinking apparently has served him well. Not only has he developed a successful academic record at CCM, despite a lackluster high school experience, he now also will be serving as the college’s intern at Novartis this summer. Starting in late May and running through early August, Hajj, of Sparta, will be working in the company’s East Hanover location in stability control, testing how various drugs maintain or lose potency under different conditions.

He first applied for an internship at Novartis in the fall of 2015 but was not selected. Then when he found out the company was looking for an intern for this coming summer, he applied again.

“It didn’t discourage me that I didn’t get it the first time,” he says. “I updated my resume and cover letter, and I went for it and it turned out good.”

He notes that he was encouraged to do so by several chemistry professors, including Professors Janet Johannessen and Keri Flanagan, Dr. John Berger and Professor Anthony Di Stasio, who oversees the science internship program at CCM.

“I feel like the professors here really care about their students. They want them to succeed,” he says.

“CCM may not sound as glamorous as Rutgers, Penn State or NYU, but it really helps to prepare you for success,” he adds. “Because there are no distractions here like dorm parties, you can really become dedicated to your studies so when you transfer to a four-year school you are really prepared.”

Hajj, who will be graduating from CCM in May, plans to attend Rutgers in the fall to earn his bachelor’s degree and then perhaps his doctorate in pharmacy.

He explains that he and his twin, Maya, both enrolled at CCM at the urging of their parents who felt the college would provide them with the best start for their higher education.

“I came to CCM because I was not really prepared for a four-year school and CCM has a good reputation, plus it’s affordable,” says Hajj. “It was a good decision. It helped me to get accustomed to college.”

He notes that CCM also offers students a number of valuable resources, such as the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education, which helped him develop the resume and cover letter that led to the interview at Novartis.

“I’m a complete 180 degrees from where I was in high school,” he comments. “In high school, I did just enough to get by. When I came here, however, I realized that if I didn’t reach for something bigger I would not be satisfied. I really feel I will be leaving here well prepared academically. If I had asked my high school self about the success I would find here, I would not have believed it could have happened, but it did.”

Photo Credit: John Hester