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CHANGEBUILDERS

2021Changebuilders Scholars

Congratulations to the 6 NJ students who have been honored with the Changebuilder Scholars Award. These scholars were selected through a competitive statewide application process as part of NJCC’s  Changebuilders program supported by AmeriCorps, designed to increase by at least 5,000 the number of civically engaged college graduates who show every day by their deeds their commitment to advancing a vibrant and engaged democracy, while also clearly demonstrating the skills necessary to thrive as a 21st-century graduate. Traditionally, one awardee from each institution receives $1,000 to be used in any way that the awardees believe supports their continued success as students and engaged members of their communities.

A common theme and passion of the 2021 cohort of Changebuilders Scholars has been working to ensure there is a nurturing campus environment for ALL students, given the added strain and fear ever-present over the past year, by completing projects to address Covid safety, food insecurity, environmental stewardship, peer tutoring, census completion, and more. Congratulations to the following public scholars:

COMMITTED TO ENGAGING WITH THEIR LOCAL COMMUNITIES

With our partners we are embarking on our most ambitious shared task yet – to support thousands of college-going millennials capable of demonstrating excellence while engaging with and volunteering in communities, thereby enabling them to make a difference in their local communities as Changebuilders. This will see a surge in the overall number of young socially responsible graduates with the skills required to be successful – both in achieving their own life goals and in their efforts to be part of change for the better.

Partner campuses are required to intentionally recruit students that mirror the diversity of communities in which projects will take place, and to design partnerships and sequences of experiences that are guided the following principles at minimum. 

NJBIA President Michele Siekerka,“The Changebuilders initiative can play a crucial role in providing college-going millennials’ skills that they cannot learn in the classroom … When we look forward to just the next three years, we know that there’s a demand for over 250,000 jobs in these fields,” she said. “We have a great infrastructure in these ecosystems, but if we don’t have the skilled workforce to support it, we can’t be successful”.

To partner on the Changebuilders Program :

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Raritan Valley 

Alexander Lazeration

(Mech. Engineering, Physics, AS‘21, 3.7GPA) 

Alex volunteers with the Arc, an organization that works with individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, has nurtured people through these anxious and lonely times. His demonstrated leadership, passion, and joy in collaborating stand out most in the ways he helps fellow students as a Calculus volunteer instructor and
as a student peer mentor at RVCC.

Ramapo University

Joseph DiTaranto
(Biology, BS’24, 4.0GPA)

Joseph’s engagement as a Leader in Service was evident during Covid when he chose to mentor with a Million Reasons Why and to tutor with Math Adventures and Workplay. In addition, his coordination of the patient-reading project at the Delridge Medical Center showed both his work ethic as well as his commitment to service.

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William Paterson University

Rebecca Gilliland

(Sociology, Criminology, & Forensic Studies, BA‘23, 3.98GPA)

Rebecca is clearly a skilled project leader and resilience builder, based on her demonstrated accomplishments in creating a Covid-safety team, by revitalizing the campus food garden so as to add fresh produce to WPU’s impressive and growing food pantry, and by being a Peer Leader in the Will Power class. Giving time to these projects is clearly a social justice and equal rights matter to Rebecca.

Stockton University

Ruth Ovil

(Psychology, BA’24, 4.0GPA)

Through Changebuilders and our conference, Ruth has deepened her understanding of the world of volunteering and of the causes that will help her to make communities better. Ruth builds her views and goals through consultation with others, coupled with significant research and preparation. Finally, her projects that advance environmental justice at the Marine Science Club and Chelsea Neighborhood show a commitment to having an environment we can be proud of.

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New Jersey City University

Thyquel Halley

(Political Science & Pre-Law, BA’23)

Thyquel has focused his efforts as a Changebuilder on policy and public service for some time. In one particularly fascinating project, he used his understanding of the outcomes of Census completion in allocating funds while volunteering at the City of Jersey City Mayor’s Office Census Team, coupled with his goals for volunteering at and supporting AngelaCares Inc Food Pantry, to deliver both census completion by 50 residents while also delivering
significant food donations to many Jersey City residents... all in one fell swoop!

Ramapo University

Vanessa Raab
(Biology, Public Health and Biochemistry, BA’21, GPA3.49)

Joseph’s engagement as a Leader in Service was evident during Covid when he chose to mentor with a Million Reasons Why and to tutor with Math Adventures and Workplay. In addition, his coordination of the patient-reading project at the Delridge Medical Center showed both his work ethic as well as his commitment to service.

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"These young scholars are following in the footsteps of last year’s scholars in building the foundations of change for a better future. Over the past year, in particular, we were delighted to witness the efforts by these scholars and many other Changebuilders to improve how campuses care for and support fellow students. Efforts include – Covid- safety, peer mentoring, food pantry supplies, community garden development, and peer mentoring. We at NJCC are immensely proud to support their work as Changebuilders in partnership with our current Changebuilder campuses. Through our partnership with AmeriCorps and our member campuses, these students are building change from within, demonstrating with their actions how we ALL play a crucial role, it’s who we are!”

 - Saul Petersen, Executive Director of NJCC

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