MCCC Admins Give Back to Mercer County COVID-19 Call Center


West Windsor, N.J. – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) administrators Elizabeth Knight, Barbara Pieslak and Debra Stotland are among the colleges most spirited members. They dress up for Halloween, help out at school functions, and are always quick to congratulate their co-workers on their achievements.

Now, Knight, Pieslak and Stotland are helping their college community in one of the most critical times, by volunteering at a COVID-19 call center.

The trio has spent time helping at Mercer County’s public health coronavirus call center, stationed at the Dempster Fire Academy in Lawrenceville. As coronavirus testing ramps up throughout the region, state and nation, call centers like Mercer County’s are becoming the measure to reduce strain on hospitals and pop-up COVID-19 test sites.

“We initiate phone calls to people whose primary physicians faxed in prescriptions for their patients to receive the COVID-19 test at the Quaker Bridge Mall drive-through site,” said Knight, Senior Executive Assistant for Student Affairs.

While the call centers operate like many other communication banks, Pieslak, Senior Executive Assistant for the Health Professions, noted that her service comes with an emotional load as well.

“When I entered the call center and seen how many faxed patient prescriptions there were, I have to say I did get a little emotional,” Pieslak said. “I didn’t realize there would be so many patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms who needed to be tested.” 

“It also was heart breaking to hear how some could hardly talk and getting out of breath,” added Stotland, Senior Executive Assistant for Liberal Arts. “I was exhausted by the end of the day, but it was a good kind of exhaustion”.

The decision to volunteer hits close to home for Stotland and Knight. Both are mothers to registered nurses and have a history of serving during times of crisis.

“My daughter is a registered nurse, who along with her peers and MCCC  Nursing program graduates, put themselves in the middle of this chaos daily,” Knight said.

“As a U.S. Navy veteran, it is my belief that I signed up to serve and protect years ago, and my obligation to my community continues.”

Despite the shared sentiment that volunteering at the call center was “draining, but rewarding,” all three of Mercer’s volunteers have made efforts to stay positive through the pandemic.

Knight has taken to brushing up on her baking skills, while Stotland and Pieslak have made plenty of time for video chats with friends and family.

“I always see the glass as half full rather than half empty,” Pieslak exclaimed.

“Helping at the call center and hearing how appreciative the patients are to receive our calls is very rewarding!”

Are you ready to help us keep our students on track to finish classes and graduate? Then share and support our MCCC Student Emergency Fund. Donating at, or by texting MercerMatters to 41444, will help keep students enrolled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every dollar matters!


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fire academy

The Mercer County Fire Academy is the site of the County's COVID-19 Call Center (photo courtesy of The Trentonian).