Students Find Empowerment at Third Edition of MCCC Entrepreneurial Master Class



West Windsor, N.J. – The world of business is cutthroat – at least that what the popular narrative would suggest. But at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) third-ever Entrepreneurial Master Class, the message was a bit different.

The scope of the class wasn’t limited to learning how to trade stocks on Wall Street or showcasing the best way to open a restaurant – students were provided a foundation for finding their personal success, regardless of their eventual goals.

Organized by Jill Marcus, Project Manager in the Division of Innovation, Online Education and Student Success, the class was a series of four workshops held throughout the fall semester that highlighted the ways that students can prepare themselves for their careers. Four MCCC Alumni shared their own stories and helped students learn how to navigate the world of entrepreneurship, from pitching ideas to improving one’s sense of leadership.

The alumni included: Joseph Flesch ‘87, Sr. Enterprise Business Consultant, CompuData, Inc.; Dr. Mackington Joseph ‘03, ‘05, ‘06, Training and Development Specialist, PSE&G; Eva Samachson ‘85, retired Computer Operations Systems Analyst; and Allen Sondej ‘94, Professor, Berkley College and retired Police Captain. Letrice Thomas, Coordinator in MCCC's Career Services department also came to speak during the semester.

During the final class, students heard from Dr. Joan Coleman, founder and owner of Let Me Be Me, a Ewing-based organization that helps students and adults realize their goals through mentorship and counseling programs. Crystal Feliciano, a Business Education and Finance teacher for the Trenton Board of Education and Public Schools also spoke to the class about the merits of becoming savvy financial managers.

“Don’t take things personally,” Coleman advised. “We’re entrepreneurs, so we meet a lot of people who won’t agree with us. Disagreements are bound to happen, but don’t let them impede your progress.”

Success Coach Nichol Killian added that those disagreements can be the sources for personal change.

“Use what others say as your motivation,” Killian said. “The mentality of ‘let me prove you wrong’ can keep you on track to achieve your goals.”

“I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life,” said Amy Scheidell, a Liberal Arts major. “But I met Jill [Marcus] on Mercer’s Study Abroad Trip to Poland and she suggested that this class might be the right fit for me.”

Scheidell, who is on track to graduate in the spring, noted that the Master Class guest speakers quickly assuaged her worries about her future.

“Hearing everyone’s stories made me realize that it’s OK to not have it all figured out yet,” she said. Her frame of mind hasn’t slowed her from making plans. After graduating from MCCC, Scheidell envisions herself in Washington D.C., interning at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“I really want to do more hands on work,” she said. “After having this class, I’m going to head to D.C. for an informational interview, drop off my resume and hopefully secure the internship that I really want.”

First-year Biochemistry student Rushik Kumar Patel added that learning the art of the elevator pitch was among the highlights of the course.

“The Master Class gave us real life experience. The networking presentation, which covered resumes, meeting people and interviewing, was extremely helpful in helping me figure out how to plan for my future,” he said. The class also identified the ways students can network via LinkedIn in an effort to encourage students to leverage their skills both in-person and online.

“I thought this class looked intriguing on paper and I’m so glad I saw it through,” Patel said. “I’d encourage students to look out for all of the opportunities at your disposal, especially when they are free and easily accessible like this.”

Division of Innovation, Online Education and Student Success

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Front Row, from left: Kimberly Hills, Jill Marcus, Rushik Kumar Patel, Ayanna Chisholm, Paula Avila, Amy Scheidell, Nichol Killian.

Back Row, from left: Jose Orellana, Emmanuel Amankwaah, Jehan Mohamed, Dr. Makington Joseph, Joseph Flesch, Eloyd Britt, Dr. Joan Coleman