In a ceremony filled with pride and accomplishment, Brookdale Community College held its 2024 induction ceremony for new members of Beta Kappa, the college’s chapter of Tau Epsilon Alpha (TUA), the National Honor Society for Human Services. Professors Sara Burrill and Christine Greco, coordinators of the Human Services program, led the event, which recognized the exceptional achievements of ten outstanding students who have demonstrated academic excellence, community involvement, and a commitment to the human services field.

The ceremony featured a keynote address by Liz Barone, a Brookdale alum and practicing substance abuse counselor at Brighton Harbor Healthcare. Liz, who recently completed her master’s degree at Rutgers University and is on her way to becoming a licensed clinical social worker, shared wisdom, and encouragement with the new inductees.

“I wanted to thank Sara and Christine for having me here today and for their constant support, even after I left Brookdale,” Liz said. “This program is the best kept secret in Monmouth County, and you will be so well prepared for whatever lies ahead.”

“Tau Epsilon Alpha, named for the Greek letters Tau (life), Upsilon (the foundation of everything), and Alpha (first), embraces the philosophy that every life has value, and every person has the potential to grow and achieve their goals,” said Professor of Psychology Sara Burrill. “The ten honorees embody these beliefs through their academic achievements and community contributions.” To qualify for induction, students must maintain at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA, rank in the top 10% of their human services class, receive endorsements from faculty, and make meaningful contributions to their community.

The ceremony continued with the presentation of certificates and pins to the inductees present. Professor Burrill highlighted each honoree’s achievements and contributions:

Alexis Abreu: Interned with the Monmouth County Division of Social Services and believes in the power of community. Alexis will transfer to Rutgers University in the fall to earn her bachelor’s in social work.

Lauren Carroll: Interned with the Monmouth County Division of Social Services and participated in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellowship. Lauren secured employment with the Visiting Nurses Association and plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree later this year.

Jessica Dickerman: A certified peer recovery specialist at Preferred Behavioral Health. Jessica will transfer to Kean University this summer and was awarded the DonnaLyn Giegerich Onward and Upward Scholarship.

Brianna Dudley: Won the Outstanding Student Award for the entire Business and Social Science Institute at Brookdale. Brianna, a transcranial magnetic therapy specialist, will continue her work and education at Rutgers University.

Erica Conover: Secured full-time employment as a Monmouth County human services specialist while attending Rutgers in the fall. Erica was awarded the DonnaLyn Giegerich Onward and Upward Scholarship.

Regina Eason: Interned at Hackensack Meridian Health and participated in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Fellowship. Regina has a passion for working with women struggling with substance abuse and mental health disorders and will transfer to Rutgers in the fall.

Grace Friel: Vice president of the Psychology and Human Services Club and an aspiring therapist and researcher. Grace will continue her education at Rutgers University.

Duririan Santiago-Reves: Relatively new to the program, Duririan has a passion for supporting Latino youth. She is a member of the Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) Fellowship and plans to attend Rutgers following her graduation next year.

As the ceremony concluded, Liz Barone encouraged the honorees to stay open to opportunities and trust their preparedness. “Celebrate your differences and remember that empathy and authenticity are at the heart of what we do in the field. The field is waiting for you, and we cannot wait to see the impact you will make.”

The ceremony ended with a group photo and a celebratory cake, marking a memorable day for the new inductees and their families. Congratulations to the 2024 Beta Kappa inductees for their remarkable achievements and dedication to the field of human services.

Beta Kappa Induction. Nine women dressed in dresses and pants with four in the front row holding certificates. Red and yellow balloons on either side of them.