Brookdale Community College held its 13th annual Global Citizenship Project (GCP) Awards, honoring students, faculty, and community members who have significantly contributed to integrating global issues into the classroom and beyond. The GCP, established in 2010, focuses on the transformative power of learning and the importance of global awareness and engagement. This year’s theme was “Wellness”, exploring its various dimensions from digital to social, environmental, and intellectual.

A highlight of the evening was the recognition of the three Global Citizenship Distinction (GCD) graduates: Eden Pela, Morena Traditi, and Sergio Niño Vela. These students were celebrated for their outstanding commitment to global citizenship and exceptional projects.

“It is my honor as the faculty advisor of the Global Citizenship Distinction Program to recognize my three wonderful global stars,” said Professor of Psychology, Dr. Rajkumari Wesley.

Eden Pela, originally from Nigeria, stood out for her initiative and leadership within the GCD Program. Eden’s dedication and passion for global issues were evident in her numerous contributions to the GCD. For example, she organized a guest speaker session on Mental Health with a Nigerian expert, providing a cross-cultural perspective on the global issue of mental health

Morena Traditi with Dr. Rajkumari Wesley.
Morena Traditi and Dr. Rajkumari Wesley

Morena Traditi from Italy, brought a unique blend of humor and hard work to the Program. Known for her lively personality, Morena consistently engaged with serious topics, adding a critical and thoughtful perspective to discussions. Her most important contribution was leading the efforts to organize the first ever Faculty-Student Debate Panel on Book Bans and Intellectual Wellness, at the Caroline Huber Wellness Center.

Sergio Niño Vela, from Peru, was a recent addition to the Program, but quickly made his mark. He demonstrated an impressive ability to integrate his past experiences and new learnings into the GCD’s structured portfolio requirements. As a student worker in the International Center, his contributions to revising the GCD Student Brochure and other materials were significant. He organized a trip to the United Nations and helped coordinate the efforts to run a successful Workshop on Wellness, at the Long Branch High School, highlighting the global and local impacts of the issues discussed in the program.

All the three GCD Scholars participated in the Civility Week Events every semester: they presented on the themes from “The Book of Joy,” exploring transcending divisions through global lenses, and this year, on “Social Media Consciousness” and “Healthy Sustainable Diets”.

Dr. Janice Thomas, Director of International Education, praised the graduates, stating, “These students have demonstrated remarkable dedication and insight into global citizenship. Their projects not only reflect their academic growth but also their commitment to making a positive impact on the world.”

Leah Coppola, Lucyna WadychKetley, Sergio Niño Vela, Eden Pela, Morena Traditi, Janice Thomas, Rajkumari Wesley and Ashley Zampogna-Krug

The evening also honored three employees for their contributions to the GCP. Professor of Sociology Diditi Mitra, Ph.D., was recognized for globally enhancing her sociology course and connecting students with scholars on the 1984 Sikh genocide. Leah Coppola, an adjunct instructor in the English department, was honored for her work on the Elaine Baron Scholarship Committee, helping students develop strong writing skills for scholarship applications. Nursing Instructor Georgia Cassidy was acknowledged for integrating global issues into her nursing courses by engaging students with documentaries and discussions on environmental change and health and presenting at the 2023 Scholars Day to showcase the incorporation of global themes from “The Book of Joy” into nursing education.

In addition to the Employee Engagement Awards, the following professors integrated global education into their curriculum: Professor of English, Kelsey Maki, awarding her students Sarag Cohen, Yelana Gavrilovic, Quinn T. McGee, Kaitlyn N. Nickerson, Stephanie S. Yoo; Professor of English, Elana Maloney, awarding students Meghan Hayes and Ryan Boeckman; Professor of History, Ashley Zampogna-Krug, awarding Charles Pecsok, Brooke Sheroke, and Sabrina Oliver; Professor of Reading, Barbara Barrella, recognizing Heidi Ruiz Otero and Luis Chogllo; Professor of History, Elisabeth Eittreim, selecting Jacqueline Bahary, Kaleigh Lukowitz, Angeles Montesinos, and Andrew Woolley; Professor of Psychology, Raj Wesley awarding Sierra Celiberti and Daniella Welton.

“It is important that we acknowledge the hard work that goes into being a faculty member. The day-to-day responsibilities are challenging, but these faculty members have gone above and beyond to provide students with the opportunity to earn a Global Citizenship Distinction,” said President David M. Stout, Ph.D. “Congratulations to all of the students and thank you so much to the faculty members who have been there to guide students throughout this journey.”

Community members Sherri West and Dr. Susan E. Whyman were also celebrated for their engagement and support. Sherri West, a retired professor of history, continued her commitment to global education through various volunteer roles, including her work with the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights, and Genocide Education (Chhange). Dr. Whyman was recognized for her dedication to supporting immigrant students through the Frank Whyman Scholarship and her involvement in various campus activities.

The GCP Awards ceremony underscored Brookdale Community College’s commitment to fostering global awareness and engagement among its students and community. As the evening concluded, Dr. Zampogna-Krug, coordinator of the GCP, thanked everyone for their support and participation, emphasizing the collective effort required to make the GCP a success.

“Tonight, we celebrate not only the achievements of our awardees but also the collaborative spirit that makes the GCP possible,” Dr. Zampogna-Krug remarked. “It is through the combined efforts of our students, faculty, and community partners that we can continue to promote global citizenship and address the pressing issues of our time.”

With a renewed focus on Wellness, the GCP at Brookdale Community College continues to inspire and empower students to engage with global issues, fostering a community of informed and active global citizens.

GCD large photo of award winners. Some sitting in front and other standing around.