At Brookdale Community College’s Spring Convocation, the Alumni Association recognized three individuals with the Barringer Award for their service to students, the institution, and their respective communities. The award, named in honor of former college president Dr. Bob Barringer, is the Alumni Association’s most prestigious honor. 

This year’s honorees are Deborah Almeida, manager, Accounts Payable; Synde Kaufman administrator, English as a Second Language (ESL); and Oly Malpica-Proctor assistant department chair, Math Department. 

All three honorees epitomize the quality of excellence in education. They have helped inspire and encourage generations of Brookdale students to persevere in pursuing their academic and professional goals. In addition, these individuals have made a difference in the Brookdale community and beyond in countless ways. 

Synde Kaufman began her career at Brookdale in 2003. She was hired as an adjunct to teach a 7-week course. In 2013 she became a full-time ESL Administrator. Her significant accomplishments include being the Chair of the New Jersey ESL Administrators’ Council, collaborating with Adult Basic Education to provide a Bridge to Brookdale program, and being a member of the New Jersey Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages NJTESOL. 

Always going above and beyond in her role as ESL Administrator, she has received the Outstanding Adjunct Award (2012-13), Outstanding Administrator Award (2018-19), and Global Citizenship Project Award (2019-20). In addition, she earned two Brookdale Innovation Grants (BIG) Awards (2014 & 2018), she led the Helping Hands Initiative that began in 2015, and most recently became a Mental Health First Aider (2022). 

She has served on several committees, the Brookdale Community College Student Experience, International Educational Advisory Committee, Diversity Council, Global Citizenship Project, UndocuAlly (Co-creator), and Chair of Student Basic Needs. 

As a first-generation college student, Synde said, “I plan to continue to advocate for students to make sure that all students feel welcome, safe, and secure here. Additionally, to help the students go from here to there as I did when I started in community college all those years ago.” 

Oly Malpica-Proctor started her career at Brookdale in 1994. She was nominated for the Barringer Award by the entire Math Department, where she has served for six years. As assistant department chair, she provides support to over 100 adjuncts. She coordinates workshops and teaching circles to increase their involvement in the department. She expanded services in the Math Lab, updated processes to provide accommodations for students with special needs, chaired the last two Math Program reviews, and worked closely with the Teaching & Learning Center (TLC) to provide Canvas support to the STEM Institute and the College. In addition, she has chaired a variety of Math Curriculum committees. 

A champion of the transportation solution here at Brookdale. Oly pursued the issue through Governance, where she served as Co-Chair of College Life. Her initiative and years of dedication led to new bus routes this year. 

Oly is currently on transitional sabbatical to develop an Open Educational Resource (OER) for Math 151, a highly enrolled math class. 

“I am very honored and humbled to be facing the ranks of those who have been past Barringer award recipients,” Oly said. “The mission of the Math department is always going to be very close to my heart.” 

As a Brookdale Community College Alumna, Debbie Almeida is a long-time loyal member of the Brookdale family. She started her career at Brookdale in 2002 and has worked in the Finance department since 2003. 

Debbie’s leadership service to the College expands far beyond her job responsibilities. She has served in several roles while participating in the Collegiate Governance system, including Chair and Vice-Chair of Professional Development Committee, Vice-Chair of Governance, and in 2013 a mid-year move to the Chair of Governance. Currently, she is the Membership Coordinator for Steering, a member of the College Life Committee, and co-chair for the Administrators Professional Development Sub-Committee. 

Proving to be a steadfast leader, a dedicated volunteer, and an outstanding colleague, Debbie was instrumental in authoring Standard VII for the Middle States Accreditation self-study process. She also volunteers to assist with the Brookdale Foundation’s annual golf outing, the scholarship ball, and other College-wide affairs such as graduation, new student orientation, and athletic events. In addition, she co-chairs the Brookdale Employee Volunteer Connection’s initiatives and volunteers monthly at the Helping Hands mobile food truck, among other projects, which is why Debbie received the Outstanding Administrator Award in 2017. 

Debbie expressed her excitement at receiving the award and her gratitude to the audience she said was like her extended family, “In my 18 plus years at Brookdale, I have met some wonderful people and made great friends.”