PHOTO: Brookdale student and Howell resident Sameerah Wahab has been named one of the top achieving community college students in the nation as a member of the All-USA Community College Academic Team. Photo by Mark DeYoung.

LINCROFT, NJ – Brookdale Community College student and Howell resident Sameerah Wahab has been named one of the top 20 two-year college students in the nation as a member of the 2016 All-USA Community College Academic Team.

The annual honor recognizes students who display an outstanding combination of academic achievement and community service. Wahab, 19, will receive a $5,000 scholarship and was recognized with her fellow team members during the American Association of Community Colleges national convention in Chicago, IL on April 12.

“I am beyond humbled and amazed,” said Wahab. “Being named the top community college student in New Jersey was a surprise. To now be recognized as one of the 20 students in the nation in the All-USA competition is surreal. I could not be more grateful to my colleagues, faculty and family who have helped me get to this point.”

The competition, which included more than 1,900 nominees from more than 1,000 community colleges across the U.S., evaluated students on grades, leadership, activities and their contributions outside of the classroom.

Wahab, a biology major, was nominated for her work as an officer with the Brookdale chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. She also serves as a peer mentor in the Brookdale honors program and a member of the college’s Students for Global Citizenship club.

Since enrolling at Brookdale, Wahab has supported a campaign to build a water well for a village in Rwanda and completed a community service project in support of Dottie’s House, a support center for domestic violence victims in Brick. She works as a certified nurse assistant at a pediatric care facility in Toms River and is pursuing a career in medicine.

“Attending Brookdale has provided me with the foundational knowledge and opportunities to create lasting networks and skill sets, which have ultimately enhanced and changed my life for the better,” Wahab said. “I owe my success to Brookdale, and cannot be more excited for the future.”

In March Wahab was recognized as New Jersey’s top achieving community college student in the All-USA competition, earning a $2,000 scholarship and being named a 2016 New Century Scholar.

The All-USA program is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group and presented by USA TODAY with additional support provided by the American Association of Community Colleges and Phi Theta Kappa.