Erika Villani, from Freehold, NJ, a nursing major at Brookdale Community College, is one of eight Brookdale students being honored with the Outstanding Student Award for academic excellence, community service, and personal accomplishments.

“This past year has been hard for all nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ashley Albro, adjunct in the nursing department at Brookdale. “However, Erika came in prepared every week to learn the most she could and care for the patients the best way possible. She never let the circumstances of the past year affect her future as a student nurse or her attitude towards patients,” she said.

“One of the things I love about Brookdale is how I’m treated as an individual,” said Villani. “The professors know who I am. The department chair knows who I am. The dean even knows who I am. I don’t think I would have had the same experience at a bigger school,” she said.

In addition to the close-knit atmosphere created by the faculty, Villani was also appreciative of the other resources available. “There are tons of resources available outside of the faculty too – academic advisors, librarians, counselors, tutors, and especially other students,” Villani said. “The bond I have with some of my classmates is incredible. I definitely could not have made it through the program without them.”

While in the nursing program at Brookdale, Villani served on the executive board of the Student Nurse Association. She was also a part of the Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society and a member of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society.

As for her future, Villani said she is hopeful she will pass the NCLEX on the first try and would like to be accepted into an RN residency program at a local hospital. Her successes at Brookdale indicate Villani will excel in whatever she chooses to pursue.