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A total of 1,422 students who graduated from Middlesex County College on Thursday, May 23 at the Rutgers Athletic Center. Approximately 725 members of the class participated in the exercises, representing the 350 graduates of August 2018; 364 from January 2019; and 708 of May 2019. Participants included several students who fulfilled the requirements for more than one degree or certificate during this academic year.
Graduates include Alexandria Wonski, who is transferring to Princeton university in the fall.
“Since 1990 until last year, Princeton didn’t take transfer students from community colleges,” said Linda Scherr, dean of Arts and Sciences at MCC. “This is a recognition that prestigious universities such as Princeton understand that community college students can do first-rate work. It says a lot about community colleges in general and MCC in particular.”
So that’s where Wonski is headed this fall.
“It was beyond exciting to hear that transfer admissions had been reopened after such a long period,” she said.
Ms. Wonski toyed with majoring in Chemistry before choosing Mathematics at MCC. She’d like to combine the two, perhaps studying Theoretical Chemistry or Computational Chemistry at Princeton, where she is receiving a full scholarship. She hopes to eventually earn a doctorate and work in research at a university.
While a student at Bishop Ahr High School, Ms. Wonski took a pre-calculus class at MCC through the High School Scholars program.
“I loved it,” she said. “So I decided to come here when I graduated high school. I liked the environment and had a great experience here. It was a very caring atmosphere. The professors cared about the students and the students cared about their education.”
She cited Natural Sciences Professor Phalguni Ghosh, Mathematics Professor Brian Sicilia, and Philosophy Professor John Roskoski as especially influential. She is graduating from MCC with Highest Honors.
Ms. Wonski was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges, as well as the Music Club and the Dance Club. She plays the piano, guitar and ukulele; she is also an opera singer who twice won contests and performed at Carnegie Hall.
“Since I was a kid I wanted to go to Princeton,” she said. “And now I’m realizing that dream.”
Jeffrey Herron, Acting Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, presided at the Commencement ceremony. Greetings were delivered by Mark McCormick, MCC President; Dorothy K. Power, Chairman of the Board; and Ronald G. Rios, Freeholder Director.
Valedictorian Courtney Rohrig delivered the class welcome, sharing her experiences and offering advice.
“Wherever your next step takes you – either into a four-year university or out into the real world – remember all that you have learned here,” she said. “Thank you to the professors who have shared advice and guidance, for taking time after class to help us better understand, and for leaving us with a foundation to succeed. Thank you to the advisors for making sure we were on track to graduate. And thank you, Middlesex County College, for preparing us as we take our next step.”
She told the class to embrace art.
“Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, allow art to become a part of your life,” she said. “It will enrich your daily experience. Take an art class. You will be surprised by the amount that can be learned and the skills that will carry over into your field. You become a team and learn from one another. You gain confidence with each critique. You learn to problem-solve and always have a backup plan.”
Dr. Herron presented the candidates for graduation and Dr. McCormick conferred the degrees and certificates. Earlier in May, the College held an honors convocation for students with the highest academic achievement in each program. MCC also presented the Chambers Awards to graduates with the highest grade point average. They include Ms. Rohrig, the salutatorian, Austin S. Brooks, and Matthew J. Cassisi, Amanda N. Fernandez, Julissa Gesumaria, Kaitlin Gray, Matthew M. Guerrero, Isabelle Gunn, Sarai Jacqueline McCullough-Garcia, Larson C. Pushard Hutchinson, Alexander Lewis, Amber Scalera, Rashmiben M. Shah, and Kendall C. Westbrook.
MCC recognized Chambers Award winners, graduates with the highest grade point average. They include Austin S, Brooks, Matthew J. Cassisi, Amanda N. Fernandez, Julissa Gesumaria, Kaitlin Gray, Matthew M.Guerrero, Isabelle Gunn, Sarai Jacuqeline McCullough-Garcia, Larson C. Pushard Hutchinson, Alexander Franklin Lew, Courtney Rohrig, Amber Scalera, Rashmiben M. Shah, and Kendall C. Westbrook.