Victoria Cattelona stands in front of Columbia’s mascot, Roar-ee the Lion, on the Morningside campus.


Victoria Cattelona (Long Branch, NJ) was the valedictorian of her high school and earned an associate’s degree in political science through the Honors Program at Brookdale. She is a junior at Columbia University, focusing on American politics, and serves as the graduate student representative on Brookdale’s board of trustees.

Can you describe your experience in the Honors Program?

Brookdale’s Honors Program was very challenging, with a community of like-minded students and prepared me well for my career path. My classroom experience was enhanced through participating in local elections, interning at a congressional office and serving on the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society’s board. I’m proof that Brookdale is the pathway to a four-year degree at top-rated universities and rewarding careers.

What was the focus of your Honors Symposium project?

I researched trends in youth’s perceptions of and participation in civic engagement. I am considering using it as a foundation for a potential thesis. The project also incorporated strategies I learned while working on a municipal campaign and principles I encountered while interning at a congressional office. The knowledge I gained in my political science and general education courses has also been useful during my discussions with public servants, activists, and fellow students.

Brookdale’s Honors Program provides an enriched academic experience for a select cohort of highly motivated students. Through a curriculum that emphasizes global awareness, cultural experiences and local engagement, Brookdale Honors students connect their studies to the world beyond the campus while getting prepared for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more about the Honors Program, visit


“I’m proof that Brookdale is the pathway to a four-year degree at top-rated universities and rewarding careers. I’m on my way to achieving my goal because of Brookdale.”

Victoria Cattelona

Can you tell us about your course of study at Columbia?

I am continuing studying political science at Columbia. I expect that American Politics will be my primary subfield, followed by International Relations. I plan to take courses such as War, Peace, & Strategy and Voting and American Politics.

What are your career goals/plans?

I am not sure exactly what I want to do, but, whatever it is, I know that I want it to involve politics and government. I have some experience in constituent services, in campaigning, and in research. I have enjoyed all of them. Teaching, however, has become a greater interest of mine recently.

What would you say to others considering Brookdale as an option?

Unfortunately, some individuals have a negative stigma about community college. I know first-hand how Brookdale provided me with a high-quality education at a relatively low cost. Students at Brookdale go on to have academic and career success. I would like to see more people consider community college and Brookdale in particular as the smart option.