Aleksandra Gavazova, Samuel Desind, Angie Goldszmidt, Dr. B. Kaye Walter, Noémie Broussoux-Coutard, Rhonda Richardsen, Kevin Calle, Gerson Espinoza and Win Win Kyi.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College’s Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa – the international honor society of two-year colleges – rose to the top of the Middle States Region at the group’s 28th annual convention, earning 12 awards and becoming one of only three “distinguished chapters” among 77 in the Middle States Region.

“Bergen’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter exemplifies the organization’s hallmarks: scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship, and stands as a shining example of the College’s commitment to student success,” President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., said. “Phi Theta Kappa members not only dedicate themselves to personal achievement, but to strengthening the entire community. I am proud to say that through their work, Bergen students have made the College’s chapter one of the best in the region.”

Among the accolades received at “Kappa-Con 2015,” which took place March 14 at the Sheraton Parsippany, President Walter earned the regional coordinator award recognizing a college administrator or community member making an extraordinary impact on Phi Theta Kappa.

“Throughout my career, I have supported Phi Theta Kappa because it represents the best of community colleges,” she said. “I am humbled to receive an award from an organization that I maintain such admiration and especially to have been nominated by our outstanding students.”

Five additional individuals also took home awards: chapter president Rhonda Richardsen, of Paramus, and chapter vice president of service Kelsey Deeg, of Oradell, were enshrined in the Hall of Honor for chapter officers; Samuel Desind, of River Edge, earned the distinguished member award; Mariia Alibekova, of Elmwood Park, earned the $1,000 alumni transfer scholarship; and chapter co-adviser Angie Goldszmidt, of Cresskill, earned the paragon award for new advisers.

Other honors included the:

*Distinguished chapter officer team award;

*Gold chapter award;

*Five star chapter award;

*Honors in action theme award; and

*Distinguished honors in action project award.

The honors in action project award recognized the group’s creation of an “honors medical frontiers” seminar that examined current innovations in medical care and the part entrepreneurs can play in creating affordable and innovative healthcare, especially for those living in poverty. Collaborators included Hackensack University Medical Center neurosurgeons Dr. Samuel Goldlust, Dr. George Kaptain and Dr. Samuel Singer and local entrepreneur and Bergen Board of Trustees Vice Chair Phil Ciarco.

In addition to the chapter’s awards, Bergen student and Phi Theta Kappa member Noemie Broussoux-Coutard, of Ridgewood, was elected regional president. She will oversee the chapters at community colleges in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

More than 1,100 current students have earned entry into Bergen’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter by maintaining high GPAs and completing community service projects. The spring class will feature approximately 400 inductees – the largest in the College’s history. Professor Win Win Kyi, of Hackensack, serves as co-adviser.

Many Bergen Phi Theta Kappa members will travel to Texas next month for the group’s national “NerdNation” conference.

Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu) based in Paramus is a public two-year coeducational college, enrolling nearly 16,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip J. 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.

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