PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College student Bekim Bruka has earned a $5,000 scholarship for his baccalaureate studies as a Phi Theta Kappa Guistwhite Scholar. Bruka, of Palisades Park, represents one of 15 Guistwhite recipients selected by a panel of independent judges from more than 4,400 applicants this year.
“Bekim is an essential member of PTK,” Bergen Phi Theta Kappa faculty advisers Kelly Keane, Ph.D., and Lisa Mayer, Esq. said in a cosigned statement. “He serves as director of service on the PTK Board and has led numerous community service projects. We are elated that Bekim has been recognized for this prominent academic scholarship. Bekim’s academic success will continue as he pursues his passion for jurisprudence.”
After immigrating to the United States from Albania in 2018, Bruka enrolled at Bergen in January 2019 and joined PTK’s Alpha Epsilon Phi Chapter where he became a co-author and translator for a children’s storybook focusing on multiculturalism for the Honors in Action Project. Crediting this project experience as influencing his perception of his future goals, Bruka said, “I believe that my experience and involvement with Phi Theta Kappa will be among the most important academic and leadership foundations of my life.”
Bruka, a political science major who will graduate this month, would like to pursue a juris doctorate degree and establish a non-governmental organization that operates in countries affected by past wars to address the consequences at the societal level.
“The time I was born was probably the hardest for my country and people,” he said. “Albania went through a civil war and political instability had reached Albanians outside the borders. Kosovo was on the verge of ethnic cleansing, which affected how I was culturally shaped throughout my academic life.”
Guistwhite Scholars are chosen based on academic achievement, leadership accomplishment, and engagement in Phi Theta Kappa programs. To learn more about PTK, visit https://ptk.org/.
“My selection as a 2021 Phi Theta Kappa Guistwhite Scholar happened thanks to the determination and support I received from my family, peers, professors, and advisors at Phi Theta Kappa and Bergen Community College,” he said. “They helped me to believe that I could open new paths and doors to future projects. My perception has evolved as I think that this is not just a reward for two years of hard work and teamwork, but the beginning of a new challenge, as I strive to advance and aim for future collaborations.”
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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