Lauren Deinhardt  was sworn in as the new Graduate Trustee at the July 16 meeting of the Brookdale Community College Board of Trustees.

Board of Trustees Chair Tracy Abby-White described the graduate trustee member as a “vital part of this board.” She thanked Victoria Cattelona, the previous graduate trustee member of the board, for her contributions to the board.

Cattelona explained the start of a new tradition. She presented Deinhardt with a journal and explained it contained advice from Cattelona about her tenure as a board member. “Hopefully, years from now, it will have 50 years of advice and notes from graduate trustees,” Cattelona said as she handed Deinhardt the journal.

Board of Trustees members.
Victoria Cattelona, the previous Graduate Trustee member of Brookdale’s Board of Trustees, and Lauren Deinhardt, the newest Graduate Trustee, with members of the Board of Trustees and David Stout, President of Brookdale.

Deinhardt graduated Brookdale with an A.S. in Criminal Justice in May. She was one of seven graduates to receive the Outstanding Student Award at commencement. In addition, Deinhardt graduated with a 4.0 GPA, was a Distinguished Scholar, an officer of Brookdale’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, vice president of the Criminal Justice Club, and an Honors Student Ambassador and Honors Mentor. She was also selected as a 2019 Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar, a prestigious national honor recognizing high achieving community college students.

“I decided to run for this position because as an officer in Phi Theta Kappa, we made a positive change on the college campus which trickled down to the whole community,” Deinhardt said. During November 2018, the Honor Society ran a series of events to raise awareness about the opioid crisis and to share information about resources for those struggling with addiction. “I thought this position could also be the same kind of catalyst for change,” Deinhardt said.

While Deinhardt was very active on campus, she said she wishes she could have attended even more events and clubs. “Our campus is an incredibly diverse place, and I genuinely enjoy learning about different people and cultures; we never gain complete understanding of the world until we see it from another perspective.”

One of Deinhardt’s goals as a trustee is to create more awareness of the events, clubs and activities. “During my first year at Brookdale, I didn’t know about the events, but I really wanted to be engaged on campus,” she said. “If you want to be a really good student, you need to not only work hard but also engage in extracurricular activities,” she explained. She also wants to attract and to inform more students about events. “I know as a student who commuted it is really hard to make friends, but getting involved on campus helps you make friends,” said Deinhardt.

Deinhardt said her involvement in many of Brookdale’s extracurricular activities provides an important perspective. She plans on communicating with the leaders and members of the campus clubs and programs to “make sure their voices are heard on the Board because everyone on the campus should have a voice.” Her slogan while running for the position was “I am the voice of many voices.”

“It is beyond critical to focus on benefitting the people who I am leading,” said Deinhardt. “Everybody has a voice, and those voices deserve to be heard.”

She also wants to develop and to enhance relationships with community partners and businesses. “Internships are really important to me, so it’s really important that other students have that opportunity,” she said. While attending Brookdale, Deinhardt completed internships with the United States Air Force and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. “It teaches you so many more skills and augments your career profile,” she said.

Deinhardt was accepted into a joint bachelor’s and master’s program in Criminal Justice at Monmouth University where she will continue her education in the fall. She is currently a legal intern at Commvault, a data protection company in Tinton Falls.

Photo caption:
Lauren Deinhardt was sworn in by Victoria Cattelona.