Brookdale faculty Dr. Thomas Berke, Dr. Terry Konn, and Professor Howard Miller were recently honored for founding the Global Citizenship Distinction (GCD). “We dared the faculty to get the students to care,” Konn said. “This idea has evolved into several ideas and several other clubs on campus that are now involved in globally related activities. It is not just their focus on women or the environment; most clubs are thinking globally. This concept has expanded.” These founding faculty are proudest that global citizenship has become increasingly integrated at Brookdale. Through the hard work of Janice Thomas, Director of the International Education Center (IEC) and Professor Kelsey Maki, the faculty liaison to IEC for the last six years, and all the faculty members involved, the Global Citizenship Project thrives. For ten years, GCD students who met specific criteria and engaged in globally focused course curricular and co-curricular activities can earn Global Citizenship Distinction (GCD) at graduation, which is the highest GCP honor for our students.  Today, the Global Citizenship Project is embraced by the staff, community, faculty, and students at Brookdale, as GCP offers over thirty globally enhanced classes representing all academic institutes. “We have reached a point of internationalizing our campus and our curriculum, and our activities. I think we should be very proud of that across the nation,” said Konn. “The GCP is really in the DNA of Brookdale now,” said Thomas. 

The following students strive to educate others about global issues and were selected as the Global Citizenship Distinction Scholars of 2021. They are Jamie Alison Kloor, Maeve Maguire, and Robert Mennella. 

Jamie Alison Kloor possesses abundant energy and drive. She has always been passionate about learning and living in diverse cultures and currently resides in Singapore, raising her young son. Her motto is “grow the seeds of change, shine the light of love, and create an inclusive community for all.” Jamie has shared her gifts of kindness, empathy, and dedication with many people. She worked tirelessly for the homeless in New York City by safely providing shelters where they could receive care, food, and medical aid.  

Furthermore, she continues to create environmental awareness in the youth as a life coach and mentor. Jamie also owns a certified non-profit in the US called Guiding Light Missions. In addition to advocating for migrant workers and women’s rights, Jamie also organizes the collection and distribution of funds and food for those in dire need in Singapore. She recently collected food, clothing, and money for her volunteer mission trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Finally, Jamie is an avid activist for animal rights.  Jamie said, “I have learned that even if you talk to one person and share your story and give a helping hand, then you are making a difference.” She continues, “Reach out and discover the world. It will open your eyes to new experiences and will give you heart and compassion. 

Maeve Maguire is passionate about making a difference in the world. A brilliant student with a strong desire for perfection, she took the time and effort to enrich all of her coursework to meet the requirements of the Global Citizenship Distinction Initiative. Her papers and projects reflect her deep thought and analysis of themes that have profoundly impact in the world. Her analysis of biodiversity and regenerative farming, and her commentary on philosophical issues of personhood, are mere samples of her intuitive thinking and the way she questions the role of every individual in a fast-changing world. Maeve is also actively engaged in several activities at Brookdale and has played a pivotal role in the proposed Monarch Butterfly Meditative Garden and the Neptune Community Garden. She finds peace and meaning in a cross-cultural orientation to yoga and is currently undergoing intense training to become an instructor. She rightly believes that one of the best ways to learn the art and science of yoga is through cultural immersion. These experiences make Maeve ready to share her valuable understanding to make our world a better place. 

“I took a different approach to the GCD than Rob and Jamie. Instead of taking the globally enhanced classes, I took the projects and papers in my classes and brought a global focus to them,” said Maeve. “When I started school at Brookdale, my goal was not to join anything. To keep my head down and go to my classes, come home and not do anything else. That is not the way that it went. I think Brookdale is a tough place to keep your head down and not join anything. I joined TIN, and Professor Berke and Professor Mura encouraged me to join GCD, and then Dr. Wesley encouraged me to keep staying involved. “I am going to be able to take the global perspective with me when I graduate and transfer to St Elizabeth University in the fall.”  

Robert Mennella is a student veteran with two decades of military and federal law experience. During his service, Robert lived overseas for seven years, working with host nations on group projects. He has been recognized individually for his work by both the Spanish and Japanese militaries for joint operations, and coalition endeavors with Germany, Britain, and France.  

“I was raised as a global citizen,” Robert said. “My father is a native American from Peru. He immigrated here late in the ’60s. He always taught me to look around at what is going on around the world, but do not take everything at face value and make sure you do your research. Get involved and do more with that information. When I decided to return to college as an adult student, I was so happy to see that Brookdale had a culture that fostered global issues and how everything is interconnected. Make sure you pass on to whoever else is around you something useful if you cannot do it yourself. Help them and mentor them. That is how you get things moving.” 

At Brookdale, Robert has emerged as a natural mentor who has a friendly nature and enjoys helping others. He has led multiple clubs in his time here at Brookdale: The Biology Club, The Physics and Astronomy Club, and the Engineering Students Association. He is also a member of the Students for Global Citizenship, The Innovation Network, Mathematics Club, and Phi Theta Kappa. Most notably, Robert served as the President and the Vice President of the National Student Veterans of America. He has volunteered for campus cleanups, beach sweeps, and Habitat for Humanity. He is also a recipient of the NASA Fellowship, where he conducted a research project titled “Engineered Shorelines and their Role in Coastal Resiliency.” For all of this work—and more—Robert is an exceptional example of a global citizen. 

Students who are interested in becoming GCD Scholars should contact the GCD coordinator, Dr. Raj Wesley: rwesley@brookdalecc.edu.