Excelling In and Out of the Classroom

Two County College of Morris (CCM) students recently were informed they have won top national awards based on their exceptional educational achievements and contributions to the community.

Female student in blue sweater

Andrea Lucia Alfonso

Andrea Lucia Alfonso, of Parsippany, is one of only 10 students nationwide selected to receive a $7,500 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Hites Transfer Scholarship, the honor society’s most prestigious and largest award.

Jaida Schettino, of Sparta, has been named one of 50 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholars

Jaida Schettinonationwide for 2018. As a Silver Scholar, she will receive a $1,250 scholarship. 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 program is administered by the PTK honor society.

The 150 Coca-Cola Scholars were selected based on scores the students earned in the All-USA Community College Academic Team competition.

“We’re very proud that Andrea Lucia and Jaida have been selected for these honors,” said Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, president of CCM. “Both are exceptional students who are truly deserving of this national recognition.”

A dual major in biology and engineering at CCM, Alfonso over the last three years also has been working at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) on artificial tissue engineering. She has presented her research findings at a National Institutes of Health (NIH) conference and authored an article on her work in the Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practices. Based on her success, she recently was awarded an NIH-supported internship to continue her work at NJIT this summer.

Along with her academic success, Alfonso has been an active member of the college community, serving as president of the Student Activities Programming Board and vice president of service for the college’s PTK honor society.

For Alfonso, whose brother and sister both attended CCM, there was no question where she would begin her college education. “My parents and I knew this would be the right place for me because of all the support and opportunities CCM offers,” she says. “The professors here are really supportive and know what it takes to succeed.”

Following her graduation from CCM in May, Alfonso plans to continue her studies in biomedical engineering with the goal of building a career in tissue engineering or medicine.

A communication major, Schettino is responsible for paying for her higher education so she selected CCM for its affordability. She also was determined to make the most of her experience as a CCM student. She joined the Lady Titans Soccer Team, was appointed president of the college’s PTK chapter and serves as treasurer of Sigma Chi Eta, the college’s communication honor society.

“I’ve found the small classes sizes at CCM to be particularly advantageous because I got to know my professors individually,” says Schettino. “Going to County College of Morris has transformed my academic career. I never thought I would be given the opportunity to apply to such prestigious senior colleges and receive a second chance at showcasing my abilities as a student.”

Following her graduation in May, Schettino plans to earn her bachelor’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Ithaca College and pursue a career in event coordination.

“Thanks to my accomplishments at CCM, two thirds of my remaining college tuition at Ithaca is being taken care of through merit and scholarships,” notes Schettino.