Amirah Elayan.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College honors graduate Amirah Elayan (’20) has earned the Northeast Regional Honors Council (NRHC) “Student of the Year Award” among two-year institutions for her scholastic excellence and impact on Bergen’s Judith K. Winn School of Honors program.

“I cannot speak with any surety on how many other students were nominated for the Student of the Year Award, but I’m absolutely sure none could have come close to Amirah for passion, enthusiasm, responsibility and creativity,” Seamus Gibbons, Bergen’s director of the Judith K. Winn School of Honors and associate professor of composition and literature, said. “Amirah will leave a lasting legacy for future honors students to try to emulate. She is the quintessential all-round excellent student and a wonderful human being to boot.”

A 4.0 GPA holder, Elayan, of Westwood, remains passionate about environmental causes, community outreach and assisting underrepresented students. Among her projects, Elayan obtained used books from local libraries and resold them to generate funds for students to attend mental health and wellness seminars. She also worked as a lead assistant at the First in the World grant program, tutored peers and served as vice president of the Judith K. Winn School of Honors program at the College.

“Amirah’s passion for the many projects she created solely or co-created is astonishing,” Gibbons said.

Elayan, a comparative literature major who graduated with her associate’s degree as part of the College’s first-ever virtual commencement ceremony in May, will attend Manhattan College in the Bronx this fall.

“I am more than honored to be accepting this award,” Elayan said. “I have worked hard to make the honors society a distinguished group of students known for helping not only other honors students, but all the students around us. This has been a pleasure, and I am so glad to have made an impact.”

She aspires to become an author and literature professor.

“I want to inspire students to pursue language as an art that conveys a wide range of subjects, emotions and philosophical ideas,” she said.

The NRHC recognizes a student from a four-year and a two-year institution with its annual Student of the Year Award. The organization encompasses 200 colleges in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Quebec, Ontario and the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. For more information, visit

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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