Brookdale Community College proudly celebrated its Outstanding Students at the May Commencement ceremonies. These exceptional individuals from each academic institution were honored for their remarkable educational achievements, impactful community service, and inspiring personal accomplishments. Since its establishment in 1980, this prestigious award has recognized students selected by faculty for their outstanding contributions.

Honored from the Business & Social Science Institute

Sara Artelli, a Social Sciences major, graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA. In addition to her academic excellence, she manages her family business full-time, works part-time at a local business, and has published two literary works—a book of emotive poetry and a historical fiction titled “1969: A Brief and Beautiful Trip Back”. Sara was an active member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Andrew Kolbasovsky, adjunct professor in the Psychology Department, remarked, “Sara’s work ethic impressed me most. She has managed to be an exemplary student while also working more than full time and facing numerous life challenges.” Sara plans to continue her studies at Rutgers in the fall. “What I have achieved here at Brookdale has defied even what I thought myself capable of,” she said.

Brianna Dudley

Brianna Dudley, a Human Services, Pre-Social Work Program major, also graduated with a 4.0 GPA and received an honors certificate of recognition. She was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and vice-president of the Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL). Last year with WILL, Brianna helped develop and was a featured presenter in the eating disorder awareness initiative “You’re Not the Only One.” She went on, with two of her peers, to present at the Annual New Jersey Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium Undergraduate Research Colloquium. Brianna will be presenting at the colloquium again this year.

Roseanne Alvarez, Professor of English and WILL Coordinator says, “I don’t think half of the events and initiatives WILL developed in the past academic year would have happened without Brianna’s leadership.”

Brianna is taking the Human Services Board Certified Practitioner test soon and is transferring to Rutgers at Brookdale to obtain her bachelor’s degree. She plans to continue her education to receive a masters of social work degree so she can fulfill her desire to help others realize their potential to thrive.

Honored from the Health Science Institute

John Rodriguez

John Rodriguez, a Nursing major, excelled in the rigorous Health Sciences program while working full time as an SUV detective and was then later promoted to Police Sergeant. Jessica Domb, instructor in the Nursing Department says, “John has dedicated his life to helping people by working in the police force. His decision to pursue yet another career dedicated to helping people shows he is one of the kindest human beings I have ever met.”

John’s kindness is evident in his volunteer work with the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen and “Pick It Up Red Bank,” as well as in his sponsorship of children in Mexico. “I am very grateful for all that I have, and it has always been important to me to acknowledge this by giving back in some way,” he says.

John also gives back to the campus community as an active member of the Student Nurses Association and Honor Society. As he transitions into this new service-oriented career, his kindness and compassion will shine as he continues to help others.

Honored from the Humanities Institute

Gianella Rios

Gianella Rios, an Architecture major, graduated with honors and served as Vice President of Service for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She was the treasurer of the Architectural Society and a member of the volleyball club. Trent Welcome, Architecture Department professor, commented, “Gia makes great effort to maintain a sense of community at Brookdale and elevates her peers to embrace that same spirit.”

In addition to her academic achievements, she was the treasurer of the Architectural Society student club and a member of the volleyball club. Trent Welcome, Professor in the Architecture department and co-chair of the design department, says of her on-campus involvement, “Gia makes great effort to maintain a sense of community and belonging at Brookdale, where she can always be found elevating her peers to embrace that same spirit.”

Gia was also one of the first Center for Visual Arts Gallery interns. She was instrumental in organizing a partnership between the CVA Gallery and the PTK Honor Society to have works of art displayed throughout the Lincroft campus. “This experience not only expanded my knowledge and skills but also allowed me to contribute meaningfully to the artistic community,” Gia says. “I discovered the power of combining my academic pursuits with real-world applications.”

Honored from the STEM Institute

Michael Loff

Michael Loff, a Computer Science major, has made the Dean’s List every semester and graduated with an impressive GPA of 3.9. He was the President of the Computer Science Club and an active member of both the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the National Society of Leadership and Success. “Leadership, organization, and integrity are all the traits I practice daily as president of the Computer Science Club,” he said.

ErinMarie Tierney, Assistant Director of Student Life & Activities, says, “Michael consistently strives to connect the clubs to one another to build bridges and networking opportunities between students.”

In addition to his on-campus involvement, Michael also plays in a men’s soccer league and coaches a third-grade recreational soccer team. Kevin Hall, Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department describes him as “a top performing student and an exemplary member of the Brookdale community.”

With his academic achievements and on-campus involvement, Michael is sure to stand out as a leader as he continues to achieve his goals.

Tee-jay Salmon

Tee-jay Salmon, says all it took was one course in computer programming to change his career aspirations from being a physician to majoring in Computer Science. He explains, “The versatility of computer science allows seamless integration into any realm you choose, specifically in the medical realm where technology is becoming indispensable in healthcare management, assisting with treatments, and importantly in diagnosis.”

While attending Brookdale full-time, Tee-jay worked full-time as a Patient Care Technician in a hospital, was the IT Coordinator for the National Society of Leadership and Success, and was involved with the Career Center. Bill Kelly, Assistant Director of the Career Center, says, “Balancing full-time work and full-time studies is not a simple endeavor, yet Tee-jay has navigated this challenge with much success, demonstrating exceptional time management skills and a strong work ethic.”

Tee-jay looks forward to making meaningful contributions to society with the skills he has gained, and we are confident he will.

Brookdale Community College congratulates these outstanding students and wishes them continued success in their future endeavors.