Transfer deal with Rider to grant entry to all CCM graduates with minimum 2.5 GPAs, among other perks

By Gina N. Fico

Staff Writer


Administrators from CCM and Rider announce a path to transfer agreement between the two schools.

County College of Morris and Rider University signed an articulation agreement designed to help CCM students transfer more seamlessly to the college in Lawrence Township.

The agreement was signed Thursday, Oct. 19 by Iacono and Rider University’s president Dr. Gregory G. Dell’Omo for 23 specific programs.

The agreements provide students with more benefits than the statewide agreement that makes credits transferable. The transfer agreement with Rider will also provide students guaranteed admission for all student applicants who have a 2.5 grade point average, although some majors require a higher GPA, according to Nancy Branca, administrate assistant at transfer services. Students interested in Rider University will also have the chance to be able to take a free course related to their major.

It also provides students with merit-based scholarships based on their GPA and scholarships for rooming as being part of the partnership. Keri Hawkins, coordinator of transfer services, said that this agreement will help students try to kept their transfer to four semesters after CCM.

“The benefits to the articulation agreement we signed with Rider goes beyond financial,” Hawkins said.

Some people have a stigmatized view of transfer students from community colleges; however, transfer students are shown to have an advantage over other students, according to Iacono, who said they are proven to be successful. He said that they have been successful once and they will show that they can be successful again. Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development and enrollment management  said that CCM has a very positive reputation that has been built over 50 years and that CCM students hard work and how well prepared the transfer students are stands out.

“They really value our students because our students do really well when they get there,” Iacono said.

Some other universities that CCM has signed agreements with include West Virginia University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Berkeley College, William Paterson University, and Drew University. CCM’s website also provides students with more information about transferring.

The CCM administration wants to insure that students have a stress-free and successful educational experience after graduation, according to Simmons.

“They want to make sure they are successful after graduation, and that is what these agreements are about,” Simmons said.

The process can be scary for many students but by having more clear guideline students can be more directed to the academic destination, according to Simmons. Iacono said that he understands how transferring can make students feel and hopes to make CCM students’ educational careers easier than his was.


‘Pumpkin spice everything’ fad continues at CCM

By Rachael Coyman

Throughout the course of fall in recent years, the pumpkin spice flavor rises in popularity, and some students at County College of Morris buy into this trend annually.


Students at LRC cafe which sells Starbucks products. Photo by Arianna Parks.

Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, which turns 14 this year, is one of the oldest and most popular sources of the widely favored flavor.

The pumpkin spice latte is Starbucks’ most popular seasonal beverage, with more than 200 million sold since it was first established, according to the Washington Post. Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte even has its own Twitter account, @TheRealPSL, where it has a well founded existence on social media.

“I will literally eat or drink anything pumpkin spice,” said Lauren Clarke, a nursing major at CCM.

During the fall, food manufacturers and grocery stores depend on pumpkin-flavored products to boost sales. Pumpkin spice is a mixture of pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger.

“You can eat as much pumpkin spice as you want,” said Elizabeth MacDonald, a liberal arts major. “I love baking pumpkin bread and putting chocolate chips on top.”

Cheerios has also come out with a limited-edition pumpkin spice flavored Cheerios. The Cheerios are advertised as “fall in a box” and a must have for all pantries.

Some other foods that are incorporating pumpkin spice for the fall season are Ghirardelli pumpkin spice caramel chocolate squares, Pumpkin Spice Oreo, Baileys pumpkin spice Irish cream, Pumpkin Spice Special K, Ben and Jerry’s Pumpkin cheesecake and many more.

Although it may seem like pumpkin spice is everyone’s fall flavor of choice, there are some people who have other preferences. Not everyone is jumping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon.

“I’ve tried pumpkin spice, but I don’t really like it,” said Evelyn Novena, a communication major. “I do love fall activities though, like going to wineries, pumpkin and apple picking, and Halloween.”

The pumpkin spice trend has also been incorporated into candy. Hershey has come out with Fall Harvest Kisses Pumpkin Spice. Therefore, it looks like there might be some pumpkin spice candy in the Halloween bags.

Fall favorites and trends make fall a tremendously popular season among CCM


Students struggle with work, school balance

By Tyler Barth
Staff Writer

Many County College of Morris students are struggling to find enough hours in the day to commute, attend classes and keep up with work both on and off campus.

Between the long distances some students have to travel to attend CCM and the lengthy hours of work, it can be a challenge for some students to find the time to do classwork.

Some students do not possess the financial stability required to attend CCM without a job. Cynthia Jaramillo, a business administration major, is used to long nights comprised of finishing schoolwork after a long shift.  She explained that she often went multi-day stints of no sleep between holding three jobs and living on her own,.

“I think it’s just like the ideal of, like, failure not being an option. You just, kind of like, make it happen,” Jaramillo said. “It would be ideal if I could just dedicate myself to school, and, I’d probably be number one in the college.”

Evelyn Collins, a liberal arts major who has been bartending for approximately five years, said  she worked so many hours in the first half of one semester that her supervisor granted her the second half of the semester off upon her request.

“Especially when you bartend, I mean, it makes it easy because you can just have all your classes during the morning and daytime, and then you bartend at night, but then you have no time to get your work done,” Collins said. “Time management is the big thing … You have to plan out when you’re going to do everything, and if you have a project, you don’t have the luxury of leaving it to the last second.”

On the other hand, nursing major Andrew Carlson said he finds not working during the semester advantageous. Carlson said that he has a summer job but does not work when school is in session.

“I’d rather graduate with a little bit of debt, maybe that’s not the only reason, than not graduate and have a part-time job,” Carlson said. “I find it very helpful to have the time to study. When my [working classmates] are trying to do the same homework that I’m doing, they’re like, ‘Yo, I’m swamped with work.’”

Thirteen ways to make the most of Halloween as a CCM student

By Michelle Mardis


Halloween is a holiday full of spookiness and thrills and is the perfect opportunity to spend time with friends, but in case you’re having trouble on deciding what to do this Halloween, look no further because the below list is compiled of fun things for County College of Morris students to do this Halloween season. These thrills will make for a Halloween to remember.

1. Throw a party

Have everyone chip in to create the perfect Halloween party. Make spooky foods, enjoy a bonfire, and have a costume contest. You and your friends will have a thrill of a night.

2. Go pumpkin picking

This one is a given. You can’t have Halloween without a pumpkin patch. Bring a friend, family member, and/or significant other and have a blast.

3. Go to a haunted house

If you dare, pick the scariest haunted house and face your fears. After all, that’s what Halloween is all about. It’s about leaving your comfort zone and trying something new and exciting.

4. Enjoy Six Flags Fright Fest

With its mix of horror and fun, Fright Fest is perfect for a college student. Bring someone along and enjoy the Halloween fun. This event is fun for all ages.

5. Get involved with CCM’s Halloween happenings

There will be a fun Halloween event for the community from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 in the Student Community Center. Candy and fun will be provided; stop by and have a good time.

6. Go to CCM’s Halloween Party

Halloween is on a Tuesday this year. Boo! But don’t fret because from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., the Student Activities Programing Board will be hosting a fun event with food, costumes, and more. Come by and enjoy the festivities.

7. Have a scary movie marathon

Who doesn’t love a good scary movie? I know that I love to grab a blanket and curl up on the couch during the Halloween season. It’s even more fun when friends are there with you. Try to not cover your eyes for the duration of the movie. I dare you.

8. Take a kid trick-or-treating

Do you babysit or have younger family members? If so, this is a really great chance to have some nostalgic fun on Halloween night. Going out trick-or-treating is a wonderful way to give kids the experience as well as having fun yourself.

9. Dress in Halloween clothing

I’m not talking about costumes. I mean dress up in halloween leggings from Walmart and be festive. College is the time to get out of your comfort zone and have some fun. Be creative and put on a fun Halloween-themed outfit throughout the last week of October.

10. Tell a scary story

Once upon a time, there was a group of college kids looking for a way to celebrate Halloween. They gathered around a campfire and began to tell stories. This is a fun way to get into the mood of Halloween.

11. Decorate your room

My room looks like a bunch of witches, goblins, and vampires came in and threw up everywhere. It’s always fun to decorate, so why not do it for the best season of the year? Be creative and hang up some spooky lights; get a scary prop or two, and just have fun with it.

12. Carve those pumpkins you picked

What’s better than baking and eating pumpkin seeds? Oh yeah, finding those seeds while you carve the pumpkin. You get to feel the gooey, orange slime inside of the pumpkin while you are fishing for seeds. Creating a fun and unique design at the end is also a cool way to decorate for Halloween.

13. Embrace the Spooky Season

“Halloween is cool,” said Marnie from Halloweentown. Embrace the spooky season and try at least three things on this list. Once again, I dare you.

CCM makes home for video game players

By Kirk Coronacion


Photo By Brett Friedensohn

CCM students gather to play video games in the TV lounge.

In a scene typical on campus, a congregation of students gathered in the TV Lounge in County College of Morris’ Student Community Center on a Wednesday afternoon to play video games and relax while off class; some of them chose to sit down and talk to their friends, and others were confined in corners playing, laughing, and enjoying their favorite video games.

“I feel comfortable because there’s just always something to do over here,” said Jason Caraig, an avid Nintendo fan. “I enjoy playing Smash Bros. the most … There’s a lot of diversity among who I play and you get to meet people.”

Caraig was one of many gamers who play “Super Smash Bros.” competitively. Other students like him brought their CRT TV that day so everyone could experience retro games the right way.

Students who don’t even play the game were still enthralled by players who knew it inside and out. They seemed to enjoy the clicks, button mashes, and thumps that the players were making during a match.

Some students compare the game room to a real-life tournament area because there’s always an abundance of students crowding the players like it’s a fight-to-the-death type of match.

Three TVs were used at the same time and housed different consoles such as the GameCube, Wii U, and the new Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Classic Edition. These TVs weren’t used for anything else but hook up home consoles.

One student was spectating a “Super Smash Brothers Melee” match on the GameCube, and he described the fun as unexplainable.

“There’s always something to learn,” said Manny Hernandez, a proud owner of a GameCube and Wii. “It just never gets boring … It’s super fun, and you meet new friends because we all have something in common.”

Video games are important to many people, so much so that the college opened a club called the Student Electronic Gaming Organization, where students could meet and share their favorite games with other passionate gamers.

“Super Smash Bros.” is currently one of the most popular game franchises at the school, so it wasn’t a shocker that the game room had become a place for people like Hernandez.

“The game is unique because you can learn new moves from other skilled players and you can just play it however you want,” Hernandez said.

He said that having a community like this at school had only deepened his love for videogames including the “Smash Bros.” series.

However, it wasn’t the only the franchise students were into. Some students were playing games like “Street Fighter” and “Star Fox 2.”

In the topic of “Street Fighter”, another student was seen spectating an exhibition match.

“I don’t mind the community even when I’m busy,” said Jack Jacobus, a PC gamer at heart. “I like the crowd here, and I just feel comfortable talking what I like. It just feels great to be around people that like games.”

Jacobus said he loves playing games on his laptop but that he also appreciates every console. This was one reason he loved being surrounded by anything gaming related. He could relax playing his own games on a couch without being bothered.

With that, it’s safe to say that gamers can successfully make friends and share their similar interests with others at CCM.

Age and background doesn’t matter to these types of students. If they enjoy video games, they’ll feel right at home.

“Because it’s not about the games that make it fun,” Caraig said. “It’s about the community we have that brings people together. That’s what makes gaming really enjoyable.”

Overcome worries by managing time, inner circles while entering college

By Brian Schnell

As a first year student, you’re more than likely overwhelmed by all the things that are going on, from school sponsored events, social activities, and academics. In dealing with these, you may become very stressed. Never fear, though; there are easy ways to deal with and potentially eliminate most of the stress you’re dealing with.

At first glance, this stress can make you feel like everything is going wrong, but there is nothing to worry about. With a little help, you’ll survive and thrive.

The first type of stress you’ll deal with is academic stress. This comes from the increase in quantity as well as intensity of assignments and a lack of understanding of material being taught. While there are less-than-ideal solutions to this, such as giving up on the class or dropping the class 18% of students who drop classes do so for class-related reasons according to a recent pilot study done by Cosumnes River College.

If you are struggling with a class, you can easily speak to the professor after class or through an email. If possible, the professor will happily help you to figure all the confusion out. If the professor is unable to help you out, you may have to go to the department head or your advisor as they may be able to speak on your behalf to the professor and sort out confusion. A personal belief is that it shouldn’t be necessary to go to the department head at all.

Another option is the tutoring center in DeMare Hall. The center is filled with numerous professors and educators who are more than willing to help you to find success in your academic endeavours. Many of the educators and professors are highly educated experts and enjoy imparting their wisdom to you.

A final suggestion, albeit the one least suggested, is to find friends who understand the material much better than you do. This is the least suggested as your friends may become tired of constantly having to help you learn the material. Many people say that this is a common occurrence and should be avoided at all costs.

The next form of stress you will come across is social stress. This stress comes in the form of friendship and relationship complications. It can make a simple dispute with a friend into the blow up of the century, as well as turning a happy relationship into breakup and heartbreak.

You will almost definitely make new friends your first year. This is a wonderful thing as there are many different people at different points on their journeys. This is also a bad thing because this allows you to possibly become friends with people that you wouldn’t normally be hanging out with such as those who do drugs, get in trouble, or just make you very uncomfortable. Issues tend to arise in these kinds of interactions as you may be encouraged to do things that could land you in a lot of trouble such as skipping classes, doing drugs, stealing, or doing things you otherwise normally wouldn’t. While you could easily give in as 6 -10% of college students inevitably do, there are much better alternatives.

A very effective and commonly used tactic for handling the pressures of toxic and unhealthy friendships is to cut those ties and make new friends. Once ties are cut, feel free to mingle around the cafes, student lounges, and resource center and make some new friends who won’t get themselves (and by extension you) into all kinds of trouble.

You may also find yourself in a relationship before you know how you got into said relationship. Assuming it’s a happy relationship and you care about each other, you may have to work out some normal issues in a relationship that can cause stress and possible complications. Without delving into the many things that could happen, the basic solution to them will be provided. In order to alleviate relationship complications, you must be open to communication within your relationship and always try to understand their point and they should do the same for you.

On the chance it doesn’t work out between the two of you, don’t fret or get too upset; only 2% of college relationships end up successful where the couples stay together. The best options for coping with the upset and heartache caused by a breakup is to surround yourself with positive things and good friends who will support you. There may be times that no one will be there to support you, but just know that it will definitely get better.

In the midst of all these issues, you may find yourself in situations that are less than ideal: situations where someone is upset with you or there’s unnecessary drama between you, your friends, or whomever. Having spoken to many people, it seems a common way to handle the stress and drama is to remove yourself out of the equation for whatever is going on. There can’t be drama or stress involving you if you aren’t involving yourself. Many people tend to remove themselves until all the commotion and everything calms down.

Finally, you may find yourself stressing over time management between classes, social activities, work, and more. At the first glance, time management may seem to be overwhelming and impossible, but when broken down, it becomes quite simple to understand, therefore making it easy to handle and minimize the stress.

To successfully manage your time, you should decide then list what’s important to you as well as the dates and times of your meetings. Once this list is created, you will have a semi-physical representation and can manage accordingly. Schedule school classes first as you are paying for that and they are quite important.

Another useful trick is to schedule things with buffer time in between. Buffer time is empty time that you can use to do assignments, rest, hang with friends, eat, or a million other things before your next big scheduled event. Buffer time allows for de-stressing, relaxing, and productive use of free time in order to maintain academics. Studies such as the aforementioned one by Cosumnes River College even show that the ideal buffer time is between 45 minutes and a full hour.

In general, you will be faced with stress in many different forms throughout your first year as you get used to college and how things around campus work. This is for the best though, as it is part of the college experience and teaches you how to handle stressful situations like a pro. Overall, using these techniques together and with your best judgement you should be able to successfully navigate your first year. Speaking on behalf on all second year students, it gets much better as you inevitably learn to deal with stresses and other issues that may come up.

Thirteen types of students you may meet At CCM

By Brian Schnell

Most people notice many types of students at CCM but are often confused as to where people fall in terms of type. In order to assist with the clarification, use the following list as a guide, but keep in mind that it is in no particular order.

  1. The Athlete – The athlete is someone who commonly talks about their sports they play, their favorite sports, and their favorite teams. Usually found in a tee-shirt, sweatpants, and slide on sandals, they can be fun people to hang out with if you like sports. These students can be some of the best and most dependable people to work with in group projects due to having learnt teamwork from sports.

2. The Normie -Your average student. They are on campus long enough to go to class and briefly hang out with friends before going home, either to do homework or go to work. Sometimes seen at club meetings or in the cafe, they seem to be fairly friendly.

3. The Slacker – This student survives their academics exclusively on handouts from friends and professors. Any chance to either not do the work and still get credit, or borrow notes to copy is some key things that slackers tend to look out for. These students are usually very easy to see as well as being extremely outgoing.

4. The Gamer – Almost exclusively found in the game rooms when not in class, these students’ main hobby is video gaming. One can see these students congregating in front of screens of varying styles and sizes playing one of any number of games together. These students seem to be the most stress free. When between classes, these students can be seen carrying large cases container personal computers or game consoles, in addition to their school materials.

5.The MemeLord – These students can normally be found creating memes of the dankest variety both for their own amusement as well as those that follow them on social medium. Very creative with a great sense of humor, the MemeLord makes for one of the best friends one could have.

6.The Whateverer – The Whateverer is a student who is far too chilled out and doesn’t seem to have any real motivation to go to classes. Many attend just to keep parents happy or to get away from a home life. In essence, they don’t feel inclined to do anything but chill out. They are very friendly but have a dangerous mindset to fall into.

7. The Over-Involved – This student gets involved in everything they possibly can from clubs, school events, classes, work, and activities outside of school. Often, they are so busy that they can only really offer you a brief few minutes of their time. The Over-Involved student is often very organized, on top of things, and can be a good person to learn to manage time and organizational skills from.

8.The Backgrounder – This student is one that just blends in with the background and is never given a second thought. Hardly ever seen with the same friend groups every day. This student never seeks to draw attention to themselves or be noticed. Often times very quiet and introverted, these students can be the friendliest and most determined students.

9. The Artist – The artist is a design major. They can be seen carrying large portfolios, large projects, finishing assignments, or any combination of the three. Often the most creative, the artist is the brand of student that you’ll most likely want to become friends with and work with, as well as being the most open to new ideas and concepts.

10. The Druggie – The Druggie is the HIGH-light of our list. The druggie is exactly as they sound. The druggie usually smells of whichever drug they use as well as the basic stuff such as cigarettes and marijuana. They may or may not have small baggies or containers of their chosen drug, pills, or powders in their possession. When not in class or relaxing, they can be found on the outskirts of campus or in their vehicles using their drug of choice. You’ll want to be cautious as you spend time with these people as there is a chance of picking up the drug mindset.

11. The Highschooler’s Mindset – These student usually carry with them the mentality of still being in high school as well as potentially not being as mature as other students. These students don’t seem to take their college career as seriously as most other students do, despite the fact that they are paying for these classes. They may react in a more juvenile manner to unfavorable events than most other students. Their mindsets and personalities tend to not mesh well with more matured and older students. Use caution when interacting with these students as they can be mildly irritating.

12.The Serious Student – These students are the most serious out of any. They can be found deep in their studies anywhere there’s a flat surface to lay out a notebook and/or textbook. They tend to not be receptive to jokes or social situations at all. Please don’t bother them while they are studying, they scare easily.

13. The Newly Emancipated – These students recently acquired their freedom from staying home and keeping to themselves. They may seem shy at first but they usually have very open minds and are willing to try many new things so they can find out what they like. They tend be very quiet and not talk much but they can be very fun and possibly some of the chillest people to hang out with.

Please keep in mind that this is only a a list of the types of students you may meet. You may never meet these students as there are many other types of students as well as different variations of the types and those who mesh as more than a single type of student

Colombian chef brings culture, healthy eating to Legacy Project

Copy Editor

The Legacy Project continued its exploration of Latin America with a lecture from Chef Ronaldo Linares.

From young immigrant to media personality and chef, according to County College of Morris’ website, when Linares sets out to accomplish a goal, he infuses every ounce of energy in order to make it a success. On March 21, Linares shared his story hoping to inspire the next generation of students at CCM.

Born in Medellin, Colombia during the cartel wars of the 1980s as Pablo Escobar was rising into power.

“As most kids in America were waking up and walking to school and not worrying about anything my walk to school was a run,” Linares said. “We didn’t know if there was going to be a car bomb or shootings…We had this 8-foot-brick wall that surrounded the whole compound of our house. I felt like I was in a military base. The wall had metal spikes in the top and glass embedded in the cement to stop the bad guys from coming, the windows were covered with bars and we had three doors to get into the house.”

During Linares’ youth the sounds of shootings were not uncommon.  However, Linares and his family wanted to depart from this and ascended to Miami via Avianca airlines, taking an Amtrak to New Jersey in March. Linares said when coming to the U.S., he faced a familiar set of challenges.

“What I experienced in Colombia is something that we experience here which is the racism,” Linares said. “I don’t look Colombian. I look very white. So, since I didn’t look like the rest of the Colombian’s, I was excluded from them. I would try to change the way I was to fit in and it never worked… I got here in America, I experienced racism because I didn’t speak the English language right. I had a heavy accent and that started all the doubts in my head like what are we doing here.”

Pam Marcenaro, director of the Educational Opportunity Fund at CCM and member of the Legacy Project who grew up with Linares said despite the challenges, Linares became a successful person because of it.

“I think because we shared similar experiences as immigrants coming to a new country we certainly identified well with each other and in the process inspired one another,” Marcenaro said. “He started elementary school and I began middle school and at times you feel judged. But eventually, you learn your way and you learn to advocate for yourself, to stand up and showcase who you are and what you bring to the table… I think through Rolando you can see that someone that dealt with all of that, took it in stride and used it for his benefit to become a much better and successful person.”

Through talking with Marcenaro, Linares said he aspired to become a chef, run a restaurant and write a cookbook.

In an interview with NBC news Linares said he began the journey of becoming a chef in the Marine Corps.

“I went in as a private and got out a sergeant,” Linares said to NBC. “I made five ranks in four years and was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal and got other awards for being a leader…While I was there I cooked for 6,000 every day and I was good at it. I took additional college courses in food to focus and discipline me.”

Today Linares is the CEO and executive chef of his family’s restaurant Martino’s Cuban in Somerville, NJ as well as the author of “Sabores de Cuba: Diabetes friendly traditional and Nuevo Cubano cuisine,” according to his website.

At the Legacy Project, Linares said today diabetes is increasing in the Latino community.

“Latino’s are twice as likely to get diabetes,” Linares said. “If you are African-American, you are twice as likely to get diabetes as well. Non-Latino’s are good to go, but it is rising in the non-Latino’s because of our diet. Our western diet is full of dairy, milk, cheese, meat and very little veggie.”

Shelsey Vazquez, a liberal arts major at CCM said this statistic is not unexpected.

“I’m Puerto Rican and I have been raised with Latino food all my life,” Vazquez said. “So, to me, it was not surprising that this is a problem as both of my grandma’s have diabetes. I suppose I am more intrigued by how he can manage to make dishes that can still have a semblance to Latino food and still be edible for someone with diabetes.”

In Linares’ 200-page cookbook filled with 100 healthy Cuban inspired recipes, Linares said when it comes to the four desserts that are in the book he does not add sugar.

“I like apple pie,” Linares said. “So, I took an apple. I cored it. I added almond butter, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, nutmeg and whipped that up. Stuffed it, where I cored it and roasted it in a water bath. It’s even better because you have the apple roasted creating all of the natural sugars without the crust.”

Besides bringing food to the table, Linares also brought words of inspiration and advice to students, faculty and staff.  “Throughout my whole journey I feel like there is so much more I need to do,” Linares said. “My thing is yesterday was great. Make today better and make the next day even better through hard work.”

CCM provides nationally accredited education

Managing Editor

Students at County College of Morris can rest easy knowing that they are receiving one of the best educations in the state among community colleges.

On March 7 BestColleges.com ranked CCM a top New Jersey Community College. The qualifications for this honor included data such as student completion rates, enrollment trends, and tuition.

Some factors include that CCM graduates are among the top 25 nationwide regarding community college alumni who earn the highest salaries. CCM also has one of the highest transfer and graduation rates of the community colleges in New Jersey.

“The best thing is that it’s a validation of what we provide which is quality service to the community, on and off campus,” said Dr. Kevin Chen, Testing Center supervisor. “For instance, the College Level Exam Program is a nationally known test that our center provides. If they have the option to go to a certified center or not, of course the student is going to choose the certified center.”

The National College Testing Association, awarded CCM’s Testing Center with Test Center Certification for serving as a nationwide leader in testing practices. The testing center at CCM is only one of two NCTA certified postsecondary testing centers in New Jersey.

CCM offers 50 associate degree and certificate programs, including honors courses which provide students with an academic edge to prepare them for transitioning to a four-year school or any next steps toward their chosen career path.

Graduates have transferred to over 200 colleges and universities across America, including Ivy leagues, like Brown, Cornell, and Yale.

CCM offers more than 125 transfer agreements with other institutions, which enables a student to get a bachelor’s degree at CCM, through any of the four-year schools that CCM is partnered with. This allows CCM students more flexibility than other community college students, and that pays off.

Since 1971, CCM has conducted annual surveys of its graduates, one year after graduation. In its most recent survey from the Class of 2015, 99 percent rated their CCM experience as good to excellent.

“The most important thing about the survey that distinguishes us is that we wait a year after the colleges are out, rather than exit surveys where they answer questions on their graduation day,” said Denise Schmidt, director of Career Services and Cooperative Education. “By holding to that standard of waiting, we get real information as opposed to hopeful wishes.”

Among the benefits granted by the facilities, the location of CCM gives it another leg up. According to a study released in February of 2017 by Student Loan Hero, community colleges in New Jersey save students who go on to earn a bachelor’s degree the most tuition in the United States.

CCM journalists win state awards

Youngtown Edition students, staff and alum honored


The Youngtown Edition added to its collection of award-winning journalism with four more New Jersey Collegiate Press Association NJCPA awards for 2016-2017.

In addition, former Youngtown Editor-in-Chief and CCM alumnus Derek Allen and faculty adviser Russ Crespolini were honored with New Jersey Press Association awards encompassing the same time period.

A consistent award-winner, the newspaper was awarded second place in the two-year college category for General Excellence in the NJCPA competition for the second straight year. The NJCPA’s New Jersey College Newspaper Contest is judged by professional journalists in the state. A number of individual writers also received NJPCA awards.

Longtime Youngtown Copy Editor Marisa Goglia won a first place award for her biography/personality profile piece entitled “CCM Spotlight: Gender club founder on campus for a cause.” Goglia was joined in the first place slot with Sports Editor Brett Friedensohn’s piece “Shooting hoops to ‘Kill Cancer’.” The final individual award of the year was a third place victory for Managing Editor Amanda Aller’s arts and entertainment feature “Timeless ‘West Side Story’ comes to CCM.”

Editor-in-Chief Beth Peter said she was pleased with the recognition, especially for the particular individuals who were honored.

“It’s exciting to see so many writers who have been consistently putting in the time and work get recognized,” Peter said. “I’m really proud of Marisa, Brett, Amanda and the whole team.”

Faculty adviser Russ Crespolini said that what he looks forward to every year with these particular awards is seeing where on the spectrum the honors fall.

“I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, the Youngtown is a perennial award-winning paper but the categories for which it receives marks for high achievement changes from year to year,” Crespolini said. “And that is because we are always welcoming in new people with new ideas and new focus as we lose others to graduation and transfer. With a two-year school, you have a lot of turnover.”

Crespolini noted that the differences between award seasons are night and day.

“While we have certainly never stray from our core values of being a reader service, our honors shift constantly. Last year we won for our feature writing and our opinion pieces,” Crespolini said. “This year it was people profiles, sports and arts coverage. Two years ago it was hard news reporting.”

Crespolini said beyond the turnover of staff this can also be attributed to it being a truly student run newspaper.

“They call the shots. I just keep us from being sued,” Crespolini said. “So they decide where they want to focus their energies and that makes for a very dynamic product that is constantly recognized.

Last year’s general excellence award was shepherded in by then-Editor-in-Chief Allen, who now works as a staff reporter for Crespolini as part of the New Jersey Hills Media group. Both alumnus Allen and Crespolini picked up awards from the NJPA.

Crespolini won a first place award in the Editorial Comment category for editorials on on the interactions between the Caldwell Mayor and Council and the community. The first was about a useless move against the gas tax that was devoid of substance and the second was a call for Mayor Ann Dassing to address her inappropriate behavior at a public meeting.

“The paper I run has won some variation of the responsible journalism award every year I’ve been here. Now, more than ever, it is important that we work hard to maintain our free press and keep our public officials honest,” Crespolini said. “This is also something we try to keep in mind when we are putting together The Youngtown.”

Crespolini also won a second-place award for column writing. The award-winning columns were about standing up for children in both the literal and figurative sense.

Allen was awarded a second place in the News Writing category for his coverage of a fire on Orchard Square in Caldwell. Allen was the first reporter on the scene of the fire and developed the story into how the community came together to help the multiple families who were displaced. He also explored allegations that the fire hydrants and feeder lines for first responders were poorly maintained.

“This was my first breaking news story and I was really happy how it came out. And it was also really great to see so many members of the community reach out and support those who lost everything in the fire,” Allen said. “The award is really, really nice. It feels great. It feels good to hone my skills professionally. I am really glad to be doing what I am doing and to be recognized for that is really amazing.”

For her part, Peter said that it is the team element of the Youngtown Edition that makes the product a success.

“The team did a great job creating a paper that we are proud of,” Peter said.

Crespolini said that now is an exciting time in journalism.

“We are seeing a heightened interest in the field now since the November election,” Crespolini said. “And it is really gratifying to see so many people connected to the Youngtown and to CCM getting recognition for their work.”