PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College students Genesis Capellan and Crystal Yoo have added another award to a semester filled with recognitions for them: a spot on the 2021 New Jersey All-State Academic Team, recognizing them as two of the top community college students in the Garden State. Their membership, scholarship and work within Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the honor society of two-year colleges, made them eligible for the team, which the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) organizes.
“We are extremely honored and proud of our Genesis’ and Crystal’s accomplishments, especially during this challenging time,” Bergen PTK faculty advisers Lisa Mayer, Esq., and Kelly Keane, Ph.D., said in a cosigned statement. “Their commitment and dedication to their school, community and each other is inspiring.”
The announcement marks the receipt of another honor for Capellan, of Englewood, and Yoo, of Hackensack, who have each received numerous awards this year. Capellan previously earned recognition as a 2021 Coca-Cola Gold Scholar, securing a $1,500 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and PTK – an award received by only 50 of 2,000 applicants. Yoo earned the 2021 All-USA Academic Team Scholarship, an award that recognizes her as one of the top 20 community college students in the U.S. Both have also earned honors as part of the College’s Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter of PTK, which recently took home more than a dozen international and regional awards.
Capellan, a professional studies general major and NJ STARS student from Englewood, serves as president of Bergen’s Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter of PTK and as a College ambassador for the Violence Intervention Prevention Center. She also participates in the Educational Opportunity Fund program and has taken an active leadership role in Bergen’s D.I.V.A. Girl Club student organization. Capellan expects to graduate from Bergen in May and pursue additional higher education opportunities in cultural anthropology and global research.
An international student from Calgary, Alberta, Canada pursuing an associate’s degree in chemistry, Yoo cofounded the Help Unite Bergen initiative as part of her executive leadership in the College’s PTK chapter. The award-winning project helped Bergen students stay connected in a virtual academic environment by creating a series of tutorial videos shared on social media. Yoo has also worked extensively with science, technology, engineering and mathematics projects, creating a web resource repository for her chemistry peers. Before attending Bergen, she worked as a research assistant at Seoul National University Hospital in Korea and served as an interpreter for WorldSkills International. Yoo will graduate as Bergen’s valedictorian and transfer to a four-year institution to prepare for medical school. She intends to focus her future research on studying how chemotherapy-induced hair loss affects the body image of cancer patients.
An independent, trustee-led organization, the NJCCC serves as an advocate for New Jersey’s 18 community colleges by representing the institutions with the state legislature and other branches of government.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), 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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