Excelling Academically and Contributing to the Community – Posted 4/5/17

Gosden and FotinisCounty College of Morris (CCM) students Spyridoula Fotinis, of Succasunna, and Michael Gosden, of Rockaway Borough, have been named to the New Jersey All-State Academic Team based on their exceptional educational achievements and contributions to the community.

The students were selected by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges based on their academic records and participation in the CCM chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society.

Fotinis also was named a 2017 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar. She is one of only 50 students nationwide to receive a Gold Scholar award. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team program by annually recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars nationwide.

The 150 Coca-Cola Scholars were selected based on scores the students earned in the All-USA Community College Academic Team competition. This year, there were more than 1,900 finalists. Each Gold Scholar receives a $1,500 scholarship.

“We’re very proud that Spyridoula and Michael have been selected for these honors,” said Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, president of CCM. “Both are exceptional students who have developed an outstanding academic record at CCM while offering their talents and skills to benefit others.”

An international studies major at CCM and vice president of service for the college’s PTK chapter, Fotinis joined CCM as a NJ STARS student in 2015. NJ STARS students are those who rank in the top 15 percent of their high school class and, thereby, qualify for free tuition at their community college. Along with excelling academically, Fotinis has traveled the world as a community service participant with the Eastern Orthodox Church. Her first mission project, at the age of 17, was in Kenya assisting school children. During her 2017 spring break, she spent her time in Romania working with orphans. She also has helped to build houses in Mexico and assisted with a homeless shelter in Cleveland.

“It’s important to reach out as a human being to make personal connections and to help and serve where you can,” she says. “In the process, I also have learned a lot about myself.”

Following her graduation from CCM in May, Fotinis plans to earn her bachelor’s degree in international studies with the goal of building a career in global service work.

An exercise science major, Gosden is president of the CCM PTK chapter. He began his service work as teenager assisting with park clean ups. As a CCM student, he has helped to arrange blood drives, worked with a homeless shelter and also has placed himself on the Bone Marrow Registry.

Following his graduation from CCM in May, Gosden plans to earn his bachelor’s degree in exercise science with a focus on physical therapy.

He notes that he is particularly grateful to have started his college education at CCM.

“In the beginning I was unsure of myself and my journey at CCM, and did not know what to expect,” he says. “It did not take me long, however, to realize I made a great decision. Not only did I save on tuition, I have met incredible individuals who have helped and encouraged me to pursue my passions.”

Photo Credit: John Hester