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MCCC Students Honored at Phi Theta Kappa Day

MCCC Students Honored at Phi Theta Kappa Day
MCCC students Linda Cruzeta of Trenton and Michael DiPersio of Hamilton were among honorees from New Jersey’s 19 community colleges who earned a Coca Cola Scholarship Award towards their education.

West Windsor, NJ – The New Jersey Council of County Colleges honored two Mercer County Community College (MCCC) students as part of its Phi Theta Kappa Day celebration on May 3 at the Trenton Marriott Hotel.  Linda Cruzeta and Michael DiPersio were among honorees from New Jersey’s 19 community colleges who earned a Coca Cola Scholarship Award towards their education.

Students were chosen based upon their GPA, outstanding community service, demonstration of leadership, and exceptional recommendations from their instructors, according to chapter advisor Jing Huang.

A nursing major, Linda Cruzeta enrolled at MCCC in the spring of 2009, having transferred credits from Utica College.  Currently a Trenton resident, Cruzeta has earned her CNA and HHA nursing certifications from Mercer’s Center for Continuing Studies while also going to school for her Nursing degree.  She is expected to graduate from MCCC in 2013.

“Ms. Cruzeta consistently displays maturity, working conscientiously and demonstrating a strong desire to learn,” said Diane Hilker, Biology program coordinator at MCCC.  She described Cruzeta as personable, industrious, and highly motivated, in addition to being in the top one percent of her class.

She credited Cruzeta as being “an independent learner who works effectively and cooperatively with other students,” adding that she is always very thorough and accurate with her school work.

This past summer, Cruzeta had a short term assignment with Home Helpers, where she worked daily with an elderly woman suffering from moderate Alzheimer’s disease.  Shortly after she began her assignment, Cruzeta determined that the woman should be placed with someone who could provide her with 24-hour care, and made the recommendation to her supervisor.

“Linda made this assessment knowing that she would be replaced,” said Stacy Porfido of Home Helpers.  “She put her client’s safety first, which is the definition of professionalism in her field of work,” she added.

A Steinert High School graduate, Michael DiPersio is studying business at MCCC, and graduates in May after completing six courses this semester.  He was chosen to be honored because of his high level of academics, leadership, and service.

“He is the kind of student that college professors enjoy teaching,” said MCCC English Professor Jack Tabor, noting how he is actively engaged in class discussions and encourages other students to do the same.  He added that DiPersio’s questions “are always thoughtful and searching, qualities that bespeak a true scholarly mind at work.”

For a community service project, DiPersio participated in a Tough Mudder event, which is part of the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization that helps American servicemen and servicewomen who have been severely injured.

Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie.  Tough Mudder has raised more than $2 million dollars worldwide for the Wounded Warrior Project.

DiPersio will be transferring to Rutgers University this fall, where he will pursue a degree in Business.

The New Jersey Phi Theta Kappa Day is sponsored by the New Jersey Education Association, as well as 20 of New Jersey’s colleges and universities.

The Coca Cola Scholars Foundation supports over 1,400 college students each year, with annual scholarships of $3.4 million through two nationally recognized programs on behalf of the Coca Cola System.


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