TRENTON – Two Mercer County Community College (MCCC) students were recognized as being among the top community college scholars in the state during a reception sponsored by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) in May.
Representatives and administrators from New Jersey’s 19 community colleges were present for the New Jersey Community College Scholars Celebration (formerly Phi Theta Kappa Day) at the New Jersey State Museum. Each year, the NJCCC invites New Jersey’s top community college students and their families to celebrate outstanding achievements and service as members of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the national community college honor society.
“Our 19 community colleges provide life-changing opportunities to over 325,000 students each year, and these 38 students are accomplished academic scholars and community leaders on our campuses,” said NJCCC President Dr. Aaron Fichtner.
Representing MCCC was Simone Beukes, who served as president of Mercer’s PTK chapter this past year, and Victoria Fredrick, who was also named as the New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Foundation. As one of the top two community college students in the state, Fredrick was invited to address the collge administrators, faculty, students, and family present at the event.
“Just three short years ago I had never heard of Phi Theta Kappa, and now I am honored to be one of PTK’s New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars,” Fredrick said. “PTK and Mercer County Community College have touched my life in a positive way. They have been vehicles for me to touch the lives of so many others in a lasting, positive manner.
“I look forward to continuing to pay it forward.”
Fredrick, a Nursing major, graduated in May with her two daughters: Rachel, also a Nursing major, and Lauren, an Education major. All three will be pursuing their bachelor’s degrees through programs on MCCC’s West Windsor Campus this fall, and all three were PTK members.
Buekes, a Communications major, also graduated in May of this year and plans to pursue her four-year degree. An international student from South Africa, Buekes said her experience at Mercer and her involvement with PTK have been invaluable in helping her move forward with her career goals.
“I really love Mercer,” Buekes said. “I moved here with no family, no friends, and the people at Mercer became my family away from home. I cannot even express my gratitude to Mercer for the opportunities that have been given to me.”