48 Union County Educational Opportunity Fund Students Honored

TRENTON – Today, Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks recognized the academic achievements of more than 800 students who received support through the state’s Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), including 48 students from Union County.

The Educational Opportunity Fund is one of the nation’s most comprehensive and successful state-supported efforts to provide access to higher education for economically and educationally disadvantaged students. This year the program saw a 25 percent increase in students being honored for their academic achievement at New Jersey’s two- and four-year colleges.

“The academic success of these students is a testament to their talent, industry and resilience and to the hard work of the EOF program staff who support them. The 48 students from Union County who’ve been recognized for achievement show access to higher education can change lives and communities,” said Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks. “EOF funds build on Governor Christie’s commitment to providing necessary resources to expand opportunities for New Jersey students to pursue their education in college.”

The announcement follows campus student achievement award ceremonies for students in the EOF programs at 42 of the New Jersey’s public and independent higher education institutions. Award categories include Academic Achievement, Distinguished Scholar, Outstanding Academic Achievement, and Outstanding Achievement. Awards for Distinguished Scholars were presented to ten students who maintained a cumulative grade point average of 4.0 throughout their academic careers. Outstanding Academic Achievement awards were presented to 378 students who maintained cumulative grade point averages from 3.5-3.99. An additional 385 graduates with cumulative grade point averages between 3.2 and 3.4 received Academic Achievement awards. In addition, one student on each campus who best exemplifies the spirit of the EOF program was recognized with an award for Outstanding Achievement.

“I salute the determination and perseverance that our EOF students displayed, their commitment to excellence, and their outstanding leadership qualities,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Higher Education Glenn Lang. “Their accomplishments are also a credit to the colleges and universities which will grant them their degrees.”

More than 12,400 undergraduate students are enrolled in the EOF program. Approximately 10 percent of all first-time, full-time freshmen enter New Jersey’s public and independent higher education institutions through the EOF program. Students enrolled in an EOF program receive financial assistance through grants up to $2,500. These grants are renewable annually based upon continued eligibility.

A list of the Union County student awardees, with their institutions and hometowns, is printed below for the students who granted permission for their names to be released by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.

Academic Achievement

  • Craig Davis, Plainfield, Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Esther DeJesus (Valentin), Elizabeth, Kean University
  • Michelle Fernandez, Elizabeth, Kean University
  • Monica V. Garcia, Elizabeth, Kean University
  • Angelica Salazar, Elizabeth, Kean University
  • Yahari Torres, Elizabeth, Kean University
  • Carline Dumay, Hillside, Kean University
  • Jamel Wallace, Hillside, Kean University
  • Tiffany Wingate, Hillside, Kean University
  • Karim Fox, Kenilworth, Kean University
  • Jamie Williams, Plainfield, Kean University
  • Aakash Shah, Roselle Park, Kean University
  • Roodline Jean-Baptiste, Elizabeth, Montclair State University
  • Events Rene, Elizabeth, Montclair State University
  • Merylou Rodriguez, Elizabeth, Rutgers University
  • Fidelia Perez, Elizabeth, Seton Hall University
  • Sherise McCauley, Plainfield, Seton Hall University
  • Melinda Ayala, Elizabeth, Union County College
  • Sharissa Garcia, Elizabeth, Union County College
  • Ahmad Hicks, Union, Union County College
  • Tara Sprague, Union, Union County College

Outstanding Academic Achievement

  • Monique Pineros, Elizabeth, Caldwell College
  • Danielle Dorilus, Elizabeth, College of St. Elizabeth
  • Laymah Cisco, Hillside, Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Janifer Do, Plainfield, Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Christian Sanchez, Berkeley Heights, Kean University
  • Alix Lazarre, Elizabeth, Kean University
  • Brenda Marquez, Elizabeth, Kean University
  • Adriana Paez Bernate, Elizabeth, Kean University
  • Alejandro Soto, Elizabeth, Kean University
  • Maria Alguera, Plainfield, Kean University
  • Taheera Eutsey, Union, Kean University
  • Mayra Ramirez, Union, Montclair State University
  • Camila Del-Castillo, Elizabeth, New Jersey City University
  • Mike Ortega, Berkeley Heights, Rutgers University
  • David Swerdloff, Clark, Rutgers University
  • Claudia Herreros, Elizabeth, Rutgers University
  • Laura Salcedo, Elizabeth, Rutgers University
  • Kenneth Disbrow, Union, Rutgers University
  • Damarys Ayala, Elizabeth, UMDNJ
  • Patricia Francisco, Westfield, UMDNJ
  • Caroline Neves, Hillside, Union County College
  • Alexavier Rivera, Rahway, Union County College

Outstanding Achievement

  • Craig Davis, Plainfield, Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Camille Jackson, Union, Georgian Court College
  • Amanda Camacho, Elizabeth, Rutgers University
  • Mirla Rodriguez, Plainfield, Union County College
  • Lourdiana Saint Louis, Union, William Paterson College of New Jersey

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