MCCCs Continuing Studies Director, Jigna Rao, Receives 2020 Lead NJ Scholarship

First MCCC Staff Member in History to Receive Award


WEST WINDSOR – Jigna Rao, Director of The Center for Continuing Studies (CCS) at Mercer County Community College (MCCC), was recently selected as a 2020 Lead New Jersey (Lead NJ) Fellow through a scholarship award from the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber in partnership with NJM Insurance Group and PSE&G. Rao is the first MCCC staff member in the history of the college to receive this distinguished award. In her post at MCCC, Rao oversees noncredit programs that create educational and professional opportunities for the region’s workforce as well as offerings for personal enrichment. 

“I feel honored to be selected to receive this inaugural scholarship,” said Rao. “I am deeply appreciative and thank the award selection committee and Lead NJ for recognizing all that I have done and achieved.”

As part of the Lead NJ class of 2020, Rao will join a robust network of energetic and engaged leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors who work to make New Jersey a better place to live and work. She will receive public policy education and leadership development, link directly with prominent leaders from across the state and champion her own most cherished ideas.

“This award supports my commitment to public service — working with people to create opportunities for them as others have created opportunities for me,” explained Rao. “Being a Lead New Jersey Fellow not only recognizes my past contributions but is also an investment in me so that I can continue to expand my horizons, gain insights into societal problems and be informed and inspired by the other individuals in the program.”

Rao moved to the United States from India in 2000. Prior to her position at MCCC she served on the staff of former New Jersey Governor John Corzine and she led Youth Services Programs at Millhill Child and Family Development. She is active on various nonprofit boards and committees including Womanspace and SKN Foundation.

Rao, who is strongly committed to lifelong learning, explained that as an immigrant she is grateful for the opportunities that she has had in the United States to learn, serve, thrive and prosper: “This recognition is confirmation that if you commit yourself and embrace the values of our democratic society, you can contribute to maintaining it.”

Lead New Jersey's highly select group of leaders consists of more than 1600 Fellows who have completed the program and now work to improve quality of life throughout the State through community service.

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MCCC's Continuing Studies Director, Jigna Rao, is the first staff member to be named a Fellow for Lead New Jersey.