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Student Scholarship Representatives

3/8/15


Kelly Blake
Liberal Arts/Humanities and Social Sciences

Kelly Blake started out at a four-year college before enrolling at Mercer. While she was doing fine there academically, she decided against her original plan of being a high school teacher. Returning to New Jersey, Blake says Mercer was her best choice to continue her education. “It was affordable and close to home and would allow me the freedom to figure out just what I did want to do.”
 
And she has figured it out.  After taking a Sign Language course, Blake fell in love with the field.  She has a deaf relative and has grown up surrounded by family members who sign.  “In a way, I have been preparing for a career as a sign language interpreter my whole life,” she says.

“Mercer is a good school, a good community college.  I have been academically challenged.  There is a lot more going on here than I thought,” Blake says.

She especially likes the small classes, noting the vast difference between Mercer, with typical classes of 20 or 30, and her prior state university, where a class could have up to 300 students.

The recipient of the Allen M. Silk Esq. Scholarship, a new scholarship awarded to an outstanding female student, Blake says her Liberal Arts associate degree with a concentration in Humanities and Social Sciences is a natural fit. She volunteers regularly at human services organizations like Allies/Project Freedom, a local group home.

Blake, who works part-time, says the scholarship has helped her get a step closer to her dream career of helping others. 

Kelly Blake

Juan Cobos
Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management

Originally from Ecuador, Juan Cobos began taking ESL classes at Mercer six years ago.  After taking four classes, he decided he was ready for college.

Cobos, who was in business before coming to New Jersey, got his first U.S. job in a delicatessen in Monroe.  He found he liked cooking and the business that goes with it.  He enrolled in MCCC’s Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management program and has never looked back.

“I have a vision to do something with my life,”Cobos said.  “Every time I come to Mercer, I learn more that I can use in my work.  Everything I know I learned here.”

Cobos is a busy man.  In addition to attending Mercer part-time, he is raising a family and working two jobs.  He is employed at Meadow Lakes Retirement Community, where he creates menus for the dietary department. He also works in the food pantry of the community organization R.I.S.E., accepting food donations, filling orders, and educating people about healthy eating.  “I am working with food all the time.  And, I am giving back to community,” Cobos says.  This summer, he will spend his day off at the community garden at Etra Park, where 20 families have signed up to grow their own produce.

Cobos has been a recipient of a Chef Jacket Partnership Scholarship for the past two years.  “What they gave me helped a lot.  I bought my books with that money.  Books are expensive.”

Cobos says he has found excellent faculty at Mercer who are “teaching me the right way to do things.”  His favorite course was culinary math, which helped him decide on a future in food service management.  He plans to transfer for his bachelor’s degree.

Juan Cobos

Kelly French
Business Administration


Kelly French, who will earn her associate degree in Business in May, believes in hard work and says she is well-prepared for the next phase of her college career.  She has set her sights high as she awaits word from her transfer schools.

Noting that she underachieved in high school, she has done a 180-degree turnaround at Mercer, with challenging classes and professors who care.  “Most importantly, I have developed critical thinking skills and a belief in myself,” says French, who is enrolled in American Honors at Mercer.  “My classes have added to my ability to analyze and consider new ways of seeing things.”

A member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, French  has juggled a full course load during her two years at Mercer, while also conducting tours for the Admissions office and serving as an ambassador for the American Honors at Mercer program.  She does it all while working two jobs that add up to 32 hours per week.

French has a network of friends at Mercer who have bonded over academics.  “It’s good to excel; it’s good to achieve.  I used to have so much free time.  Education wasn’t my priority.  Now I realize how important it is,” she says.  “I’m so glad I came to Mercer.  It helped me understand what college life is all about.” 

French was the recipient of one of four scholarships awarded by PNC Bank for academic excellence in business studies.  “The scholarships  helped me pay for two classes.  It was a big help,” she says.

Kelly French

Kourtney Laws
Dance


Kourtney Laws, a Dance major, initially made Mercer her college choice because it was close to home and an affordable option. But she quickly realized there were numerous advantages in a Mercer education.

Laws says Mercer gives her multiple chances to perform and that’s what it’s all about in the performing arts.  “We have the opportunity to audition and dance,” she said. “We get to be creative and put our dance skills to work in important ways.”

Kourtney, a graduate of Ewing High School, expects to complete her Mercer degree in 2016.  Her plans include transferring to Rutgers University and eventually earning her master’s degree in Dance, with the goal of teaching as a choreographer and establishing her own dance company.

Kourtney was the recipient of the 2014 Dow Jones Memorial Scholarship, awarded to a student engaged in the Performing Arts. Kourtney sees herself as someone who works hard and has a desire to help others. She has always dreamed of becoming a dancer and creating a place where young adults can come together to express themselves creatively.

“I think there should be more opportunities for dancers,” Laws says. “Mercer has been a good place for me to get launch my dance career.”  She credits her MCCC instructors with opening her eyes to new outlets for her artistic talent.

Her advice for new students? Just be yourself. “Hang in there and be fully aware of your surroundings, and just have fun,” Laws said. “And always be open to learning.”

Kourtney Laws

Gina Migliaccio
Liberal Arts/Education


Gina Migliaccio came to Mercer used to serving her school.  At Steinert High School, she was president of her senior class and, upon enrolling at Mercer in Fall 2013, she got active in student government.  This year, she is serving as president of the Student Government Association.

Migliaccio notes that her Mercer experience has been top notch – from excellent professors to her extracurricular activities.  “It’s been fantastic.  There are so many people who know so much about how to help you achieve your goals,” she says.

After graduating in May with her A.A. in Liberal Arts/Education, Migliaccio plans to transfer to Rider University as an Elementary Education major.  “I feel ready for transfer.  Academically I gained even more than I expected. Mercer is challenging and stimulating,” she said.

In addition to SGA, Migliaccio is a member of the Music Club, serves as secretary for the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, and is an ambassador for the college’s SOAR program for new students.  “Being involved as a leader gives you an opportunity to exercise your talents, make friends and work towards common goals with your peers.  You gain leadership skills and independence.  You can take these skills with you.”

The recipient of the Jennie DeLapo Memorial Scholarship and the Edward H. House Memorial Scholarship in the fall, Miglicaccio is very grateful.  “The scholarships were helpful.  I have a little sister who will be starting college next fall.  And, to receive the scholarships in memory of these two special people meant so much.  It’s humbling and I appreciate it to no end.”

Gina Migliaccio

Tyler Sincoskie
Architecture

While attending Rancocas Valley High School, Tyler Sincoskie was considering a career in engineering, but just wasn’t sure.  During his first semester at MCCC in Fall 2013, he took a course in graphic illustration and knew he had found his future in architecture.

“Architecture is the perfect combination of design and engineering,” says Sincoskie, a sophomore who will transfer to a four-year college to complete his bachelor’s degree in the field.

As an Architecture major, Sincoskie has enjoyed a close relationship with Program Coordinator Garry Perryman, with whom he has had multiple classes. He has also turned to his instructors to help him compile his portfolio, a key ingredient for acceptance into a four-year program.

Sincoskie has also found a way to connect at Mercer through athletics.  A practitioner of mixed martial arts, he enjoys playing tennis, but had never done so competitively.  He is now a second-year player on the men’s tennis team under Coach Marc Vecchiolla, who coached his dad two decades ago.

He observes that being a member of the tennis team has taught him valuable life lessons.  “There is practice every day, a lot of hard work, and the need for patience.  It’s a game where it’s more about battling yourself.  You have to learn to control your emotions,” Sincoskie says.

Sincoskie’s achievements were recognized in the fall with three academic awards: the Jamil E. Faridy Architecture Scholarship, the David R. Fraytak Endowed Scholarship and the Architecture Endowed Scholarship.  The scholarships enabled him to pay for almost a full semester of college, for which he is extremely grateful.

Sincoskie says studying architecture has been a gift.  “It’s easy to work hard when you are enjoying what you are doing.”
Tyler Sincoskie
 


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