Software Engineer Dean Blank Finds His ‘Good Luck’ Through Hard Work


West Windsor, N.J. – Dean Blank ‘16 (A.A., Liberal Arts) was not originally thinking about going to a community college. But, he says, it couldn’t have worked out better. “I feel lucky to have gone to Mercer. And I feel lucky that I found out what I really wanted to do.”

There is no clearer example of a young person making his own good luck. When Blank graduated from Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in 2016, he left nothing on the table – or the basketball court. He played two seasons for the men’s basketball team, served as vice president of the Student Government Association,  was an editor for The College VOICE student newspaper and a member of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society.

Blank also found kinship in MCCC’s International Student Organization (ISO). “My father emigrated from the Ukraine to America as a teenager and then played basketball in Israel, where he met my mom and moved back with her to America. I am proud of my Ukrainian heritage,” he explains.

“I joined any club I could find,” Blanks says. “I had a lot of fun, especially in the ISO. I really enjoyed meeting different people. “

Currently working as a software engineer for SAP Inc. and pursuing his master’s degree in Computer Science at Georgia Tech, Blank looks back on his years at Mercer with great satisfaction.

A resident of Bucks County, Pa., Blank graduated from Council Rock High School South in 2014. “I chose Mercer because I wanted to play basketball. I was injured my senior year, so not many schools were looking at me. Coach [Howard] Levy sold me on the program,” he said.

When Blank found out about all the Honors courses available at Mercer, he was doubly sold. He took numerous Honors classes as part of the Liberal Arts curriculum. He recalls Professor Barbara Hamilton (English), with whom he took two classes, as an exceptional instructor. “I learned so much in her class. She critiqued our writing to the highest standard,” he said. “Writing is a skill I use every day, whether that’s communicating at work and or in the graduate program at Georgia Tech.”

Blank notes that he did not expect the academic rigor he found at Mercer. His top grades paid off when he graduated. He was the recipient of the Dr. Cynthia Schaffer Memorial Scholarship and the Forman and Sloshberg Memorial Scholarship. He also received funding to continue his education at Drexel University, where he earned a B.S. in Business in Finance and Computer Science in 2019.

Based on his own experience, Blank advised his younger brother and sister to start out at community college. Both have gone to Bucks: his sister is currently pursuing her Nursing degree there and, after two years at Bucks, his brother has followed in his footsteps as a transfer student at Drexel. 

Blank says the relationships he formed at MCCC are especially memorable – from Coach Levy, Assistant Coach Stan Tuchez and teammates in the basketball program, to friends from various clubs, to professors who were always willing to provide insight and support.

“There are a lot of wise professors at Mercer,” he observes.

By the time Blank transferred, he had gotten very good at juggling multiple responsibilities. And, he transferred with his closest Mercer friend, Ousman Joof. They lived together while working for Drexel in student housing.

“Having Ousman with me made transferring much easier. We went out together and met people. We’re still really close,” Blank said.

Drexel’s undergrad co-op program proved to be another solid decision for Blank, who was paying his own way through school. Drexel's co-op program enables students to alternate between academic semesters on campus and full-time, paid co-op jobs. His first job was as a financial analyst at Chubb Insurance, where he taught himself coding for Excel, so he didn’t have to input data manually.

When Blank returned for his next semester at Drexel, he was thoroughly hooked on computer science. He blogged about it. He added Computer Science as a minor. And he started working for the IT department in the Drexel School of Business. Given the difficult learning curve in the coding field, he also found a second home at the Drexel Learning Center.

Blank’s second co-op was on the trading floor at BlackRock, where he continued to develop his coding skills. “That co-op expanded to a year,” he said. “As a fluent Hebrew speaker, I even worked for BlackRock in Tel Aviv for a month. It was a cool experience.”

Since the start of Covid, Blank has been working remotely for SAP Inc. Having cut out commuting time, he has been able to devote himself to his intensive master's program at Georgia Tech, which he is completing one course at a time and expects to finish in 2023.

Blank sees software engineering as his long-term future. “I’d like to be a lead engineer someday, managing my own team,” he said.

Recalling his journey from college freshman to the present, Blank says, "I was able to achieve my goals and find my path with the help of professors, coaches, friends, family, and the communities I became a part of at Mercer and Drexel. Everyone in my life played a significant role in leading me to where I am today." 


Return to Current News

MCCC Home Page



Software engineer Dean Blank pursued challenging classes and multiple extracurricular activities at Mercer. 



In 2016, graduating students Dean Blank and Brianna Gurdon received the Dr. Cynthia Schaffer Scholar Athlete Awards and were named Academic All-Americans by the National Junior College Athletic Association.From left are MCCC President Dr. Jianping Wang, Gurdon and Blank, and Athletics Director John Simone. 



Blank (No. 24) with his teammates from the 2015 men's basketball squad. His MCCC mentors included Coach Howard Levy, standing, left, and Assistant Coach Stan Tuchez, standing right.