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Joseph Pugliese of Totowa Among Honors Students To Receive Award For Academic Performance

First-Year Berkeley College Honors faculty Patricia Cowan (center), and Jennifer Juliano (right) present first-year honors student Joseph Pugliese of Totowa with an award for academic performance. Credits: Berkeley College

TOTOWA/WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Awards for academic performance and community service among the first-year Berkeley College honors students were recently announced after the students presented their research posters at sessions held in Woodland Park and Manhattan.

Academic performance awards were determined by the first-year honors faculty, while awards for community service were determined by the number of hours of service contributed during the three consecutive semesters comprising the program.

Students from New Jersey who received academic performance awards included Jessica Bello of Bloomingdale, Donald Hetmanski of Carteret, and Joseph Pugliese of Totowa. Aliaa Metawee of Fairview received an award for community service.

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The Poster Sessions included nearly 60 research topics related to the curriculum themes of global health and social kustice, which highlighted a range of subject matters that reflected the students’ individual interests. Many of the students spoke with passion about how the research process their professors led them through became eye-opening experiences.

Metawee is pursuing a BS in legal studies. Her research project was titled "Covered, But Not a Terrorist: Anti-Islamic Discrimination and Violence in America." Through her research, she found that hate crimes directed toward Muslims increased 584 percent from 2014 to 2016, more than ever before, including after the 9/11 attacks.

“People usually see someone who is covered or who is Muslim as a threat to society, when really they are just like anyone else,” Metawee said as to why she chose this area to research. “I wanted to raise awareness about the issue, and show the different kinds of discrimination and statistics about the violence going on.”

Bello is pursuing a BFA in interior design. Her research project was titled "Not So 'Pretty in Pink' Tax: Price Discrimination of Women’s Everyday Needs."

“I chose this topic because I am a female consumer affected by this on a daily basis,” Bello said. “I could be getting a haircut and I’ll always wonder why I am paying so much for it. There could be both men and women at the same hair salon getting the same amount of hair cut off, yet the men tend to pay around $15 while women pay around $60.”

Hetmanski is pursuing a BBA in business administration – management. His research project was titled "Chill Out: The Importance of Relaxation for Development in Teens and Young Adults."

“I am a firm believer that mental health is as important as physical health,” he said. His research found that stress levels are significantly higher in teenagers today compared to teenagers from the 50s and 60s.

 Pugliese is pursuing a BS in national security. His research project was titled "Put Up Your Dukes: The Controversy Behind Displaying the Confederate Flag." Through his research, he found that nationwide a large majority support the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride. “People support the flag because they feel it is a part of their roots and where they come from,” he said.

Other examples of research topics chosen by the students included A Child with Enemy DNA, Live in Fear or Be Sent Away: The Consequences of Operation Babylift; Patriot: Terrorism & the Shattered Sense of Justice in the United States; The Visible Yet Invisible PTSD in War Affected Children; No Care? Know Pain: The Controversial Conversation on Health Care; and Transforming Television: Transgender Portrayals in the Media.

The rigorous requirements of the honors program at Berkeley College are distinguished by scholarship and service. First-year honor students must maintain a GPA of 3.00 or higher and complete three consecutive Honors Seminars from the fall to spring terms at Berkeley College at one of four campuses: Woodbridge and Woodland Park in New Jersey or Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, N.Y. The students must also complete 10 or more hours of documented community service from the fall to spring terms. 

A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 8,000 students – including more than 550 international students – in its master’s, bachelor’s, and associate’s degree and certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.

Berkeley College has five New Jersey campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. In New York there are three campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For four consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is


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