“Brookdale prepared me for anything that was to come,” said Kelsey Giggenbach who graduated Brookdale Community College in 2017. She went on to study social and behavioral sciences at Seton Hall University where she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in May 2019. According to Giggenbach, she was able to achieve her success because she started at Brookdale.
Giggenbach, who graduated from Brookdale with her Associate of Arts degree in Social Sciences, was a part of Brookdale’s Honors Program, Vice President of Services of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and was a member of the Honors Club. She said Brookdale prepared her academically for her transition to a four-year university. “Still, some of my most interesting and educational professors were at Brookdale. I excelled in all of my classes at Seton Hall because of the challenges that I overcame at Brookdale,” she said. While studying at Brookdale, Giggenbach was named New Jersey’s top achieving community college student in the All-USA Community College Academic Team Competition and received scholarships sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges, and the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. “There was not a single course that I took that proved more difficult than anything I did at Brookdale,” she said.
“I excelled in all of my classes at Seton Hall because of the challenges that I overcame at Brookdale.”
According to Giggenbach, Brookdale also prepared her peers academically. “Many, if not all, of my peers worked one or even two jobs while they studied at Brookdale. Everyone I met was extremely well-rounded. It takes an extremely determined individual to excel academically while also working and sometimes even being involved on campus,” she said.
“I think I speak for myself and for many of the other students from my cohort when I say that Brookdale ended up being the pinnacle of my collegiate career. Oftentimes at Seton Hall I would find myself missing Brookdale and the many relationships that I created there,” Giggenbach said. Giggenbach added the relationships she made while at Brookdale continue to be important today. “All of my peers that I met through the Honors Program proved to be lifelong friends and huge inspirations to me. If it wasn’t for Brookdale, I would have never developed these relationships that I will cherish for a lifetime.”
While at Brookdale, Giggenbach also made connections with faculty members that continue to motivate and prepare her. “There were various professors that continue to help me in both my academic and professional endeavors,” she said. Giggenbach named Jonathan Moschberger, professor in the political science department and coordinator of Brookdale’s Honors Program, and Angela Saragusa, associate professor in the English department and advisor of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, as the two professors who stood out the most. “They have both been amazing supporters in all my accomplishments over the years,” Giggenbach said of the two professors.
“I firmly believe that Brookdale produces more mature, hardworking individuals, something that is amiss when students go away to school.”
Giggenbach encouraged current and new students to make the most out of their time at Brookdale so they too will be prepared for furthering their education and joining the workforce. “I would simply advise them to have an open mind. It’s hard going to Brookdale when it seems like all of your friends from high school are going away to four-year universities, and it’s easy to feel like you are going to be left behind. However, I firmly believe that Brookdale produces more mature, hardworking individuals, something that is amiss when students go away to school.” She also encouraged students to become involved on campus. “Even though you are commuting, there are copious clubs and events that help you find your own cohort. It may seem a little lonely at first, but just continue to attend events on campus and club meetings and you will make friends in no time.”
Giggenbach is currently applying to graduate schools to pursue a master’s degree in occupational therapy to achieve her goal of working in a school setting assisting children with various disabilities.