Feature Stories 2012
N.J. -- So many faces -- and so many lives -- came together
at MCCC's commencement ceremonies on May 24. Some students
were singled out for special recognition during the Honors
Convocation ceremony preceding graduation. But every student
who has earned his or her degree at MCCC last month has a
success story to tell. Here are just a few:
Sacks -- A.A.S. Visual Arts/Adversting Design
Sacks is a career changer who graduates from Mercer with a
4.0 GPA with an AAS degree in Graphic and Advertising Design.
He will transfer to the Graphic Design program at Mason Gross
School of the Arts at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, in
returned to college at Mercer to pursue a second career after
feeling the grip of the economic downturn. Formerly in marketing
and sales, Sacks decided to blend that background with his
passion for art. "Advertising design is the perfect marriage
between business and art," he says.
technology that is consistent with industry standards, Sacks
says his experience in Mercer's program has been excellent.
"I have had very good professors. I have learned the
tools I will need to be successful." Sacks is a member
of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society and has his
own design firm called Sacks Form & Function.
Wolf -- A.S., Business Administration
is an international student from a small town in Germany just
30 minutes by bike from the Baltic Sea. When it came time
for college, Wolf knew she wanted to study internationally.
Having previously worked in the central New Jersey region
as an au pair ,she was comfortable with the idea of coming
As president of the International Student Organization, Wolf
has organized and participated in a variety of ommunity service
and social events. She loves MCCC, where she has found a family
of international students, as well as many support staff and
faculty mmembers who have helped her improve her English as
she has earned her degree in Business Administration. She
is a 3-Star PTK student and has received a generous scholarship
to continue her business studies at Rider University. In addition
to German and English, Wolf speaks Russian and Spanish. After
college she would like to work for an international company,
where her language skills will be especially valuable.
She notes that her American peers have been open and friendly
and that she has shared her culture while they have shared
theirs. "I love to learn new things. That's what we are
here for, to learn something every day."
sampling of MCCC grads, from left, Robert Sacks, Jana Wolf,
Andrew Kotula, Pamalli Prather, Michael DiPersio and Nickie
grad Kalyse Beckett celebrates the day with her son and mother.
leader Alex Henry with his twin siblings Sheriel and Samuel.
-- A.A.S, Network Engineering Technology/Information Technology
says Mercer has been a great experience. A Dean's List student,
he has earned his degree in Network Engineering Technology,
but has taken a wide variety of classes, including challenging
honors classes, that has broadened his horizons tremendously.
A graduate of Princeton High School, he immediately became
active in Mercer's Student Government Association in his first
semester, serving in various capacities including senator,
public relations representative, and vice president during
the 2011-12 year, when he represented the student body at
MCCC's College Governance Council meetings. Henry has attended
many leadership events that have helped him build confidence
as he prepares for transfer to NJIT.
Kalyse Beckett - A.S., Nursing; A.A., Social Science
single mother who first decided to study nursing because of
good employment prospects, Kalyse Beckett says she has grown
to love the field. Selected to represent associate degree
graduates at MCCC's James Kerney Campus Awards Ceremony earlier
this month, she told the audience that her Nursing instructors
have been truly inspiring. Another source of inspiration is
her mother, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D.
Beckett has been working towards graduation for more than
four years. She says it has been challenge to be a mom, go
to school and work. At one point she withdrew from a science
class because she just could not juggle it all, but "I
never gave up. Failure was not an option." Beckett graduates
with two degrees, having earned her first associate degree
in Social Science in December.
Pamalli Prather -- A.A., Liberal Arts
Prather had lots of unfinished business when she returned
to school in her 30s, first earning her GED from the Daylight-Twilight
High School in June 2008, and then beginning her college studies
The proud grad earns her associate degree in Liberal Arts.
She will continue her studies on the MCCC campus, as she pursues
her bachelor's degree in Psychology through the William Paterson
Prather says she has found a second family at the college.
During her Mercer years, she immersed herself in college life,
serving as president of the JKC Student Activities Board and
as the JKC liaison with the West Windsor campus. She has also
volunteered in the prison system as a Bible study teacher
and notes that her experience with prisoners has, in some
ways, mirrored her own life, "when someone took the time
to see my potential and fostered my development to achieve
mother of three, Prather is enthusiastic about her college
experience. "It's been nothing but good for me. Having
been out of school for a long time, I didn't have much education
and I didn't think I was capable. Professors here go above
and beyond. I feel like I have been taken under their wing."
Andrew Kotula -- A.S., Chemistry
Kotula plans to finish his career in a completely different
setting than his current job and Mercer is helping make that
happen. Derailed at the age of 20 from finishing college due
to the death of his father, Kotula went to work at Xerox Corporation,
currently serving as a technical instructor.
Kotula decided to restart college in 2005 in pursuit of his
long-delayed goal of being a high school science teacher.
Taking mostly one class per semester, he completes his A.S.
degree in Chemistry with high honors and is the recipient
of the Organic Chemistry Award. He will transfer to a four-year
school in state to complete his bachelor's degree in science
education. Kotula has been unwavering in his commitment -
one time commuting to an evening science class from his Xerox
training site in Leesburg, Va., and then returning to work
there the next morning. "I really think I can make a
difference in the high school environment," he says.
-- A.S., Business Administration
NJ STARS graduate Michael DiPersio
studied Business Administration at Mercer and believes
that attending MCCC was "a great business decision,"
given the low tuition and quality education he received.
In recognition of his academic achievements, he was
awarded the Fred Anker Memorial Scholarship in Business
and the Robert Harris Memorial Scholarship.
will be attending the Rutgers University School of Business
in the fall. As a member of Phi Theta Kappa, DiPersio
was selected to represent the college as part of the
2012 All-USA Academic Team, along with another PTK student,
Nickie Papadopolous -- A.S., Business Administration
a Business Administration major, Nickie Papadopolous
graduates with honors and received a Three-Star Award
from the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. She
praised her inspiring professors, especially business
professors Framarz Khoushab and Laura Sosa. "They
know their stuff inside and out and take the time outside
of class to make sure students understand the material."
will transfer to Rider University to study economics.
to Graduation Story
Back to Current
MCCC Home Page