Isaac Alejo, Samuel Desind and Sara Hwang.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College’s Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society of two-year institutions, recently earned recognition as one of the top 30 chapters in the world – and 10 additional team honors recognizing the chapter’s efforts.

Five student and faculty leaders achieved international and regional recognition as well – including student Sara Hwang, who was elected division I vice president and will serve on the 2016-17 Phi Theta Kappa international office team. She represents the first Bergen student to earn a seat on the international executive board.

The awards were announced at the honor society’s annual conference – “NerdNation” – April 7 through 9 in Maryland.

“Phi Theta Kappa plays an important role in the nationwide ‘commitment to completion’ student success initiative, as community colleges seek to support their students from application to graduation,” Bergen President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., said. “Bergen’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter delivers on this goal as one of the best in the world because of the students, faculty and staff that work tirelessly to maintain its level of excellence. I am incredibly proud of the Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter and grateful the group’s hard work has been recognized at both the international and regional levels.”

Hwang, of Fort Lee, the international vice president-elect, will receive $3,400 in scholarships and stipends for her leadership and representation of the honor society. In addition to her election as vice president, she also earned the distinguished chapter officer award at both the international and regional level and enshrinement into the regional chapter officer hall of honors.

Individual awards also went to Academic Vice President William Mullaney, Ph.D., of Hillsdale; students Samuel Desind, of River Edge, and Isaac Alejo Reyes, of Cliffside Park; and chapter co-advisor Angie Goldszmidt, of Cresskill. Professor Win Win Kyi, of Hackensack, co-advises the chapter.

Nearly 950 current students have earned entry into Bergen’s honor society chapter by maintaining high GPAs and completing community service projects. During the last year, the chapter has championed poverty as its signature issue, conducting activities such as an interview project with homeless teenagers and adults in Hackensack for an awareness video and serving Thanksgiving dinner at a Bergen County resource center. The group also hosted fundraisers for veterans, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Nationwide, approximately 91 percent of Phi Theta Kappa members earn an associate degree or transfer to a four-year institution, compared to the national rate of 38 percent. The organization provides its three million student members with $37 million in transfer scholarships each year. More than 1,300 chapters exist throughout the world.

Bergen’s complete 2016 honors are:

International Awards

*Distinguished Chapter Award (Top 30)

*Top 100 Chapters

*Distinguished Officer Team

*Distinguished Honors In Action Award

*Distinguished Chapter Officer – Sara Hwang and Samuel Desind

*Distinguished Chapter Member – Isaac Alejo Reyes


Regional Awards

*Distinguished Chapter Award

*Middle States Gold Chapter Award

*Most Distinguished Honors In Action Award

*Honors In Action Theme Award

*Distinguished Officer Team

*Certificate of Participation in the New Jersey C4 Initiative

*Five Star Chapter Plan Award

*Regional Coordinator Award for Chapter Administrators – Bill Mullaney, Ph.D.

*Horizon Award for Chapter Advisor – Angie Goldszmidt

*Distinguished Chapter Officer – Sara Hwang and Samuel Desind

*Distinguished Chapter Member – Isaac Alejo Reyes

*Chapter Officers Hall of Honors – Sara Hwang and Samuel Desind

*Chapter Members Hall of Honors – Isaac Alejo Reyes

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 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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