Lincroft, NJ: Brookdale Community College students Aidan Deluca, Cathleen Kane, and Valeska Yaninas, have been named 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars and were awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Brookdale.
Deluca, Kane, and Yaninas are all members of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society of two-year colleges. The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program helps new PTK members defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs.
Deluca, an architecture major who will be starting his second year at Brookdale in September and South River resident, said the scholarship will help him with the costs associated with his architecture studio classes. “We often spend much of our own money on supplies to create the best projects and best portfolios, so the scholarship will go a long way,” he said about architecture students. “I am very excited and extremely grateful for the honor,” he said about receiving the scholarship.
In addition to the scholarship, Delcua said becoming a member of PTK has taught him valuable skills that helped him with his summer job search. He plans on becoming more active with the honor society and connect with fellow Brookdale PTK members once the fall semester starts.
“Brookdale always focuses on creating a very positive, breathable environment for its students that really makes me want to spend my time there. From the wonderful faculty to the beautiful scenery, Brookdale is always a very comfy place to work and study,” Deluca said. In addition to the atmosphere, Deluca chose to begin his college journey at Brookdale because it was the most affordable option, and he got a personal recommendation from his father who studied drafting at Brookdale.
Kane, a resident of Hazlet who wants to study education, also got a personal recommendation as her father studied at Brookdale as well. “My dad would tell me all about Brookdale’s beautiful campus, and all these years later he could still tell me stories about how much he learned as well as how he met some of his life-long friends on campus,” she said. Cost also influenced her decision to start her college journey at Brookdale. “I realized I was getting the same education as any highly accredited university, but with a major price cut,” she said.
“While some professors in larger schools might look at students as just another face in the classroom, the Brookdale professors take the time to get to know you and what areas you thrive in, what areas you might struggle in, what your future plans are, and more,” Kane said. “The professors at Brookdale are also extremely caring and want to see their students succeed.”
Kane became a member of PTK in the spring and has already succeeded in landing a leadership role as the vice president of membership communications for the honor society. She works with the other officers on coordinating volunteer opportunities. “The other officers amaze me with their dedication, enthusiasm, and passion for helping those in need. Their positive energy is so contagious, and even though we have not had the opportunity to all meet in person, I feel like we are not only a team, but also a family!”
Yaninas, a resident of Howell, will be graduating from Brookdale in December 2020, so, unfortunately, she will not be able to accept the scholarship. To be eligible, students have to attend community college in both the fall and spring semesters. “Although this is devastating news for me, and I would have really appreciated the money to help pay off my tuition, I am excited for my final semester at Brookdale,” she said. Yaninas plans on attending Georgian Court University to study psychology and education in the spring. She also plans on remaining active with PTK at Brookdale in the fall.
“Research shows that Phi Theta Kappa members are four times more likely to complete a college degree than their peers,” said Dr. Monica Marlowe, executive director of Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. “The Leaders of Promise Scholarships recognize students for what they have achieved already and assure that financial need isn’t an obstacle to achieving their academic goals.”
“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said Jane Hale Hopkins, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa to make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals and support tomorrow’s leaders of the global community.”
The PTK Honor Society is just one of the many active student clubs and organizations at Brookdale that encourages students to get involved and achieve their goals. Brookdale Community College, here will get you there!