All of that hard work got attention at hiring time. "Of the 43 students participating in the program, J&J hired five of us full-time," he said.
Looking back on the past four years, Lima observes that it’s been a fulfilling journey, one that started at MCCC.
Surprised, happy, excited. Oh, and jaw-dropping. That’s how Mercer County Community College (MCCC) alumna Megan Serfass ’18 (A.A.S., Illustration), of West Windsor, recalls reacting when her name was announced for the Best in Show prize at this year’s Mercer County Artists (MCA) Awards Reception on May 22.
Serfass’s award-winning painting, entitled “Goldfinches,” measures just 8” x 10,” but is vivid in color and rich in detail. It’s deceptively straightforward at first glance, until the viewer looks closer and realizes that the frame is part of the painting, appearing so real that it could easily be mistaken for a three-dimensional frame.
Deptula says she was instilled with a love for learning. "I really valued all of my science courses because of how well they were taught and how much I learned." She includes many names on her list of favorites: Diane Hilker (Biology), who encouraged her to apply for the Princeton internship, Dr. Laura Blinderman (Biology), Helen Tanzini (Chemistry), Dr. Ronald Smith (Biology), and Patrick Natale (Biology), among others.
Deptula notes that her Mercer professors also taught her life skills. "I've learned to time manage, be confident, and work hard. I apply these qualities to everything I do," she said.
Dziepak says MCCC was a logical first step in her college education. "I was still young for college. When I started, I was the youngest in all my classes. But classes were small and I came to realize that my professors were not scary. They were good teachers, they were helpful, and they wanted you to contribute and to ask questions," she said.
Recalling classes that were open and comfortable, Dziepak credits MCCC with being a true foundation for her future. "It's where I found my voice," she said. "I learned how to learn at Mercer."
"I decided to pursue a college degree. The people I knew in the field with degrees were employed at a higher level, including as foremen. Getting your associate degree enables you to go further in your career and prepares you for transfer if you want to get a bachelor's degree."
Attending MCCC from 2013-15, Harris earned an A.A.S. degree in Information Technology and a Certificate in Network Engineering. Even after completing the requirements for her degree, she took two additional courses, Mobile App Development and a course in Java, to add to her skill set.
A Trenton native, Colon enrolled at MCCC in 2009 to study business. He excelled in his business courses, but was quickly drawn into the collaborative atmosphere of the Television Program. "Being on those production teams gave me the confidence to be the leader and take charge of a group."
"Mercer's curriculum fit well with my goal to become a social worker. And, as a part-time employee, I was able to finish work and attend a class, or attend a class and then start work."
Having completed his bachelor's degree in Chemistry at Rowan University in May, he is now taking a full load of MCCC business classes to help him secure a job in pharmaceutical sales.
"At Mercer, I got the opportunity to learn by actually doing."
As the mother of three sons, Latasha White of Trenton is considered a non-traditional student. White has not only proven that success can come at any age, but that adults are often guided by strong convictions and a sense of purpose that fuel that success.
"I'm a kid from Trenton, New Jersey. My high school teachers never pegged me to have a doctorate, or a law degree, or to even finish college, and I wouldn't blame them," Sondej said. "I came to Mercer and they didn't see me that way. They saw me as a college student and welcomed me."
As an MCCC student, Harrison worked full-time while raising two daughters. She was able to schedule her classes in the evenings, on weekends and online.
Pittore says that reaching his career goal in state law enforcement began at Mercer. He chose MCCC primarily because of the outstanding reputation of its Criminal Justice program.
"I felt that Mercer's programs would not only prepare me for the future, but were also current with the latest trends and technologies,"