LINCROFT, NJ - Annually, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) honors students from each of the state’s 18 community colleges by naming to the New Jersey All-State Academic Team. Normally these outstanding students, all members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK), are celebrated at an Annual Community College Scholars Celebration. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration was cancelled this year.
“While due to the current pandemic we were unable to host a celebration in-person this year, the state’s community colleges are committed to recognizing and celebrating the outstanding achievements and exceptional service of 38 students to their communities and colleges as members of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society,” said NJCCC Chair Dr. Phil Linafante.
“I felt honored that someone had recognized the hard work I have been putting into my academic career at Brookdale,” Victoria Santos, a communication sciences and disorders major, said about finding out she was named to the All-State Academic Team. Santos is graduating from Brookdale this May.
PHOTO: Veronique Manfredini
“I was so excited,” said Veronique Manfredini about finding out she was named to this year’s All-State Academic Team. “It was an amazing discovery.”
Originally a business administration major, Manfredini discovered her passion for English literature while studying at Brookdale. She will graduate with a double major in both business administration and English this May.
Manfredini was born and raised in Italy. After graduating high school, she worked in a restaurant for three years before she began studying at Brookdale. She said she choose to study at Brookdale because it gave her the opportunity to work full-time in a restaurant while taking classes.
“I grew up in Italy and was bullied by my teachers and classmates,” said Manfredini. All of that changed when she came to Brookdale. “This was the first time I had professors who really cared about me as a person, my goals, my understanding of the material, and my mental health,” she explained.
“It’s been a hard but amazing journey, and I’m so grateful for all the amazing connections and friendships I’ve made through my four years at Brookdale,” she said.
The friendships and connections Manfredini made at Brookdale came from being involved with on-campus activities and the PTK Honor Society. “PTK gave me the greatest sense of belonging,” she said. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Manfredini served as the chair of special events for Brookdale’s chapter of PTK. The next academic year she became the New Jersey State President of PTK. “I’ve grown so much through PTK,” she said.
PHOTO: Victoria Santos
Like Manfredinia, Santos was also active with PTK and served as the vice president of scholarships for Brookdale’s chapter of the honor society. “My favorite part about Brookdale was the involvement and impact students had on campus,” said Santos. “I was able to connect with numerous amounts of faculty and students during my involvement with PTK,” she said.
“I would encourage any Brookdale student to get involved in clubs, societies, service events, or anything else. Being involved on campus is a great way to network yourself and connect with people who may be able to help you in the future,” Santos said.
Santos' plan for the future includes starting at Stockton University this fall where she will continue to study communication disorders. She is studying to become a speech-language pathologist.
In September, Manfredini plans to continue studying at a four-year university. While she was already accepted to the University of Hawaii, Pace University, and Rutgers University, she is still waiting to hear from Columbia University.
“I’ve always thought of Brookdale as one step I need to get closer to my future goals,” said Santos. “So, if you get overwhelmed with school work or simply by life, just remember to take it one step at a time.”
That is great advice coming from an outstanding student who recognized Brookdale was the first step in achieving her higher education and career goals. If you are interested in learning more about how Brookdale can help you reach your goals, please visit our website at www.brookdalecc.edu.