53 Middlesex County Educational Opportunity Fund Students Recognized For Achievements

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 53 students from Middlesex 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 53 students from Middlesex 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 Middlesex 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

  • Moaz Hewedy, Iselin, Essex County College
  • Nadine Sidaross, East Brunswick, Kean University
  • Travis Howell, Edison, Kean University
  • Amina Elmahalawy, Monmouth Junction, Kean University
  • Patrice Baker, Old Bridge, Kean University
  • Erick Bailon, Perth Amboy, Kean University
  • Rafael Ceballo, Perth Amboy, Kean University
  • Gloria Diaz, Piscataway, Kean University
  • Joshua Rosario, East Brunswick, Middlesex County College
  • Chensy Minier, Edison, Middlesex County College
  • June Thai, Edison, Middlesex County College
  • Nancy Guare, Parlin, Middlesex County College
  • Julisa Mugica, Perth Amboy, Middlesex County College
  • Adora Ekeocha, New Brunswick, Montclair State University
  • Amanda Ortiz, Fords, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
  • Mark Simko, South Amboy, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
  • Satinder Kaur, Carteret, Rutgers University
  • Philasia Luo, Edison, Rutgers University
  • Artur Alchasov, Highland Park, Rutgers University
  • Angel Reyes, Keasby, Rutgers University
  • Justina Sigle, Monroe Township, Rutgers University
  • Rafael Gandolff, New Brunswick, Rutgers University
  • Jessica Rodriguez, New Brunswick, Rutgers University
  • Jamera Sirmans, North Brunswick, Rutgers University
  • Gabriela Grzybowski, Parlin, Rutgers University
  • Michael Sodbinow, Piscataway, Rutgers University
  • Ronald Zackery, South River, Rutgers University
  • Dominique Williams-Kemp, Woodbridge, Rutgers University
  • Aaron Conteh, Old Bridge, UMDNJ

Distinguished Scholar

  • Johanna Cepeda, Perth Amboy, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Outstanding Academic Achievement

  • Amanda Be, Sayreville, Brookdale Community College
  • Mildred Garcia, East Brunswick, Felician College
  • Heena Shah, Edison, Kean University
  • Alvaro Romero, Highland Park, Kean University
  • Jarred Boykins, Piscataway, Kean University
  • Aurelin Alvarez, Sayreville, Kean University
  • WaQar Tariq, Colonia, Middlesex County College
  • Marissa Mazzola, Dayton, Middlesex County College
  • Lesley Almanzar, Perth Amboy, Middlesex County College
  • Melissa Caraballo, South Amboy, Middlesex County College
  • Abdulqadir Hussain, Avenel, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Sharien Rizk, North Brunswick, Rider University
  • Boryana Petrova, East Brunswick, Rutgers University
  • Vijal Patel, Edison, Rutgers University
  • Moriah Nester, Highland Park, Rutgers University
  • Shruti Shah, Iselin, Rutgers University
  • Amanda Alcantara, New Brunswick, Rutgers University
  • Noelle Loizos, New Brunswick, Rutgers University
  • Ceida Polezel (Placensia), New Brunswick, Rutgers University
  • My Ho, Old Bridge, Rutgers University
  • Akriti Sharma, Old Bridge, Rutgers University
  • Vishwa Gandhi, Parlin, Rutgers University
  • Sean Friend, New Brunswick, Middlesex County College

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