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.”

‘Black Art Matters’ exhibit comes to CCM

News Editor

The County College of Morris’ art gallery in the Learning Resource Center opened a display called “Black Art Matters” Monday, Feb. 6 to highlight the work of local black artists in honor of Black History Month.

To accomplish this, the gallery’s director Todd Doney asked Jersey City painter Alvin Pettit to curate the display. Doney and Pettit met each other teaching art at the Kubert School in Dover, and while Pettit left the school in 2010, they still consider each other personal friends.

Doney said that he wanted to expose bring black art to an area with a low African-American population in order to diversify cultural exposure. 3.7 percent of Morris County residents identify as “Black or African American alone” while 83.8 percent of Morris County residents identify as “White alone” as of July 2015, according to the U.S. Census.

“It’s not necessarily the history but that there are great artists that happen to be African-American, and we want to recognize that,”  Doney said. “I think our students need to see some other cultures besides what we have here … I’d like to introduce them and say, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of talented African-American artists.’”

Pettit said that he wanted to give the artists a free range, not holding them to any specific theme.

“I just wanted to collect ideas from various African-American artists without holding them to any theme,” Pettit said. “As far as the different styles that are represented in the gallery, I let everyone come in with their own style, the still lives, the abstract, just to show the diversity within African-American art.”

Pettit, who has paintings featured in the display, said that he likes to add messages to his art.

“Mine is usually figurative work, but I usually try to throw in some kind of concept rather than just being a model, a figurative model,” Pettit said. “For instance, one I have in there, ‘Southern Quilt,’ it actually talks about, the model’s holding a quilt, but it goes into the history of how closely they were made, if you go back into the South.”

Doney said that he enjoyed Pettit’s style of artwork.

“He’s a very traditional painter,” Doney said. “Very representational, but he has a little bit of a flair and a little bit of stylized some of his color usage, and to me, it hits a chord … Everybody’s different, but I happen to like what he’s doing.”

Eric Andrews, another Jersey City artist, made an homage to hip hop with a collection of fast-form acrylic caricatures of rappers. Andrews grew up in Detroit and began attending Parsons School of Design in Manhattan in the early 1980s during hip hop’s infancy, and he said that hip-hop has inspired his artwork since he began listening to underground records in the late 1970s. However, he said that when rap goes mainstream, it usually loses artistic value in order to make a profit. In his image making, he said that he tries to keep love for art like underground rappers.

“I thought it was more appropriate to do it in a more rough manner than to try to some oil paintings of hip hop artists,” Andrews said. “This is somewhat sticking true to the nature of hip hop because it’s meaty; it’s graphic; it’s quick.”

Andrews said that he also enjoys making political artwork. In the Black Art Matters exhibit, Andrews has featured portrait oil paint portraits of black political figures including Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom he compared to rappers.

“If [Douglass] had been born in the 70s, he would have been a fan of hip hop,” Andrews said. “He was very progressive, questioning the mainstream … And talk about Martin Luther King, that guy’s cadence.”

Fernando Cunha, a liberal arts major at CCM, said that Yvonne Bandy’s acrylic painting “ERASEISM: A Matter of the Heart,” which shows stick figure imagery depicting the United States slave trade hidden in the background of the painting, said that the painting gave a clear message about the United States’ treatment of African-Americans.

“I see black people being hung, black people being jailed, fists full of money, and it really doesn’t leave much to the imagination,” Cunha said. “I think that whoever painted this put the cross in red on top to show the hypocrisy, and also because America’s such a Christian nation, but at the same time, it’s unbelievably hypocritical.”

Richard Pairazaman, a music recording major at CCM, said that he took an interest in “Little Bird” by Cory Ford.

“Mostly, I love a lot of the art that has a lot of vibrant color,” Pairazaman said. “Color very much catches my eye, and I love the way that the gold compliments with the different shades of black and white and purple, and then the bird really just stands out … There are colors in the bird that there are no where else present in the piece.”

Pat Moran, a graphic design major at CCM, said that he noticed a parallel between “Ecce Homo” and “Road to Calvary,” both acrylic paintings by Tyler Ballon.

“Seeing this gentleman in the bandana, he’s handcuffed, but his stature is very, almost, it’s almost like Jesus-like on a crucifix, so there’s kind of interesting things going on there, but seeing these scenarios painted on this scale I think is powerful on its own,” Moran said. “I think it’s very interesting how these gentlemen are on the sidewalk, on the street, and they’re carrying this cross, and they’re both looking up into the sky, so both of these pieces I think point towards faith and looking forward towards something or having some sort of progression going on.”

Moran said that as the painting depicting people scale makes an impression.

“Whenever you see a big piece of art, it’s always more powerful, especially when it’s a human figure just because they’re here with us,” Moran said. “Seeing these scenarios painted on this scale I think is powerful on its own; it speaks on its own.”

Stephaun Johnson, a business administration major at CCM, said that he enjoyed “Lucifer,” an abstract oil painting by Clifton Walston, because it perplexed him.

“I really don’t understand it, but I kind of see the depictions of faces and stuff,” Johnson said. “But that’s what grabs me, that the message is somewhere hidden in here, but I have to decipher it.”

The Black Art Matters exhibit opens at noon every weekday in the CCM art gallery until Friday, March 31.

Trump inspires college journalists


Throughout his campaign, President Donald Trump has been very vocal in expressing negative views on news outlets and reporters which has some journalism majors at the County College of Morris feeling a mixture of attacked and inspired.

“I have never been a fan of Donald,” said Jannat Sheikh, journalism major at CCM. “He is extremely unprofessional when he speaks and even tweets.”

The job of a journalist is to gather and present factual information in an unbiased manner. Having a president vocalize his distaste toward the profession through terms like “fake news” and “lying media” creates a sense of distrust between the public and the press.

“Journalists serve an important purpose in a democracy,” said Derek Allen, CCM alumnus and staff reporter at The Progress, a weekly newspaper serving six communities in Essex County. “It’s our job to be government watchdogs, out to expose wrongdoing and keep people critically informed about their government.”

Allen said he believes that Trump doesn’t fully comprehend the responsibilities of a journalist.

“I personally think that’s disgusting, unprofessional and so, so dangerous,” Allen said. “Impeding and delegitimizing reputable news outlets does not help Americans. Lying does not help Americans.”

Sheikh took issue with Trump’s choice of words in his disparagement of the press.

“If he wants to express his opinion, he can say something like ‘the media isn’t as credible as it used to be,’” Sheikh said. “But, it truly annoys me when he says, ‘fake news’ and ‘lying media.’”

Trump has found a way to denounce old media like television and newspapers, while still finding a way to use new media, like Twitter, to his advantage.

“I think he views the press as a PR tool to be used, since that’s what he’s always seen it as while he was on reality TV,” Allen said. “To him, the press only exists to give him more PR. But now that it’s all bad press, or critical of him, he tries to spin it as false.”

Current news editor of The Youngtown Edition and journalism major, Brett Friedensohn had his own interpretation of why Trump criticizes the media.

“I think that most of the time it’s just him trying to avoid being held accountable,” Friedensohn said. “He’s done it quite often where he has just said things that either aren’t true or don’t have any backing.”

While Trump’s comments about the media may seem like a promotional hashtag, Sheikh and Friedensohn have taken his words as a push in an investigative direction.

“An attack on the general press I think is an attack on the truth and trying to be held accountable,” said Friedensohn. “It inspires me to do some more investigation on the government. I don’t get angered by it because I know that a person who is trying to get power and doesn’t want anyone to hold him accountable. “

Sheikh said she takes his comments as a challenge to prove the efficacy of journalism.

“As a future journalist, I feel that I need to work harder to portray media in a positive light,” Sheikh said.

Blackboard becomes backbone of campus communication


Grades, presentations, discussion boards and assignments are just moments away from students at County College of Morris through Blackboard Learn, an online learning portal.

CCM students are assigned to a Blackboard account from their first day on campus in order to access information for some classes. Not all professors use Blackboard, which frustrates some students who want to keep their work organized.

“I find Blackboard helpful when it comes to communicating with professors about homework assignments and material that was reviewed in class,” said Carsyn St. John, a occupational therapy major at CCM. “I would find it even more useful if each professor was required to use the learning portal.”

St. John is not alone in her desire for a more universal adoption of Blackboard throughout campus.

“I actually like Blackboard,” said Faiza Khan, a humanities major at CCM. “It bothers me when professors don’t utilize it.”

The idea that Blackboard is a useful tool stems from its access to class materials and constant updates of grades.

“[Blackboard] keeps me organized and let’s me know how I am doing throughout the semester,” Khan said.

Other students consider Blackboard to be a bit outdated and in need for improvement.

“I would really appreciate if there was a chat, similar to Instant Messenger, to either chat with your professor or even a help desk,” said Jenny Carroll, a communication major at CCM. “Going back and forth from Blackboard to e-mail is tedious. Having a way to communicate on Blackboard fast and effectively would be ideal.”

Carroll said that she is a student that has had several online classes, and professors who love Blackboard. However, she personally feels that Blackboard was frustrating to navigate at first.

“Overall, Blackboard is very boring, and the layout is not interesting to maneuver whatsoever,” said Carroll.

Blackboard Learn can be accessed at courses.ccm.edu.

Homeland Security, NSA honor County College of Morris

Managing Editor

County College of Morris received recognition from the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security for its cyber security program.

On Thursday, Jan. 26, CCM was designated as a Center for Academic Excellence by the NSA and Department of Homeland Security.

CCM is the only community college in the state of New Jersey and the 41st in the country, to have achieved this designation, according to the National Initiative for Education and Training Program.

Patricia Tamburelli, full time professor in the information technology department, has been building the cyber security curriculum at CCM since the early 2000s, after she and her husband founded an organization for cybersecurity education called Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education, or CISSE.

Tamburelli said she used the knowledge gained there to develop courses that met the federal standard which at the time was called 4011, a training standard which sets a minimum qualification standard for information security professionals in the country.

Being the only two year school in New Jersey that had a cyber security curriculum mapped to the federal standard, CCM became a certifying institution for the NSA in 2003.

“We were required to teach knowledge units which are basically an updated version of the 4011,” Tamburelli said. “These knowledge units are areas of study, within cyber security, that include a whole list of specifics that we have to teach.”

The requirements to become a Center for Academic Excellence were a long time coming.

“We had to prove that we’ve met this criteria in the past, not that we’re just doing it now,” Tamburelli said. “I had to make sure our Information systems department has our systems secure and that we have the right policies and procedures in place to secure our whole school network.”

The specific criteria the cyber security education department had to meet included proving that that the faculty who teach cyber security have some type of certification or recognition in their field, providing numbers on how many students were taught in the past three years, competing in cyber defense competitions and maintaining an official center for cyber security, with a website that correlates and shows what the department is continuously doing.

“The outreach activities that Professor Tamburelli and her students got involved in are things like hosting national cyber security awareness month in October, data privacy day in January, outreach presentations to the county, and they just recently came back from the board of county freeholders and did a presentation there,” said Professor Nancy Binowski, chair of information technologies. “So the idea is to get the citizenry educated on how to remain cyber safe.”

The cyber security department will have to resubmit again and show everything they have done from 2017 to 2022 in order to still be designated.

“Once something like this is achieved, almost every school will re designate, because the initial time is the hard time,” Tamburelli said. “To become a center for academic excellence, means the whole school has to be committed to cyber security education and excellence. It’s a college wide initiative.”

Cybersecurity students at CCM are now eligible to apply for scholarships like the Scholarship for Service which is awarded by the National Science Foundation.

“If they pay for you for two years then you have to commit to two years of service when you graduate from that school, meaning you have to work for a government agency,” Tamburelli said. “Local, out of state, you get to pick where you work and it is a paid position.”

While the opportunities are available right now only to students in the program, Tamburelli discourages students from writing it off due simply to inexperience.

“Even if you have no technology experience I still say come in,” Tamburelli said. “The courses build. From week one to week 16 you’ll certainly be a lot more adept with technology. It doesn’t make a difference what your experience is or what your background is. Cybersecurity is for everybody. And everyone is capable of becoming a cybersecurity specialist.”