This year, only 12 students from across the U.S. were selected to receive the National Society of Leadership and Success’s (NSLS) highly competitive Academic Excellence Scholarship, a $3,000 award recognizing outstanding achievement and leadership efforts during the 2016-17 school year.
Of those 12, two came from Brookdale.
Mayte Javier and Chanell Singletary-Eskridge each received the scholarship for their work as members of Brookdale’s new NSLS chapter, a growing campus organization that provides students with intensive leadership training, exclusive workshops and other activities throughout the year.
Both students maintained at least a 3.7 cumulative GPA while actively working as a full member of the organization. Singletary-Eskridge also served as inaugural president of NSLS at Brookdale, while Javier will take over as secretary this fall.
In addition to the Academic Excellence Award winners, new NSLS member Ginger Valenzuela also received the organization’s 2017 Little Leaders Scholarship, which will provide funding for her son to further his own education.
“We are thrilled that three of our outstanding leadership students have been recognized by the national organization for their achievements,” said Brookdale assistant director of career and leadership development Jill Donovan, who co-advises the chapter with career and leadership development director Sarah McElroy.
“The NSLS scholarship opportunities are highly competitive. The fact that our chapter was only established in March 2016 and already three of our students have been recognized nationally is quite an amazing accomplishment. These students are a wonderful representation of not only our chapter but Brookdale as a whole. We are so very proud of them.”
For Javier, a second-year civil engineering major and an international student from the Dominican Republic, the scholarship will be invaluable in her pursuit of a college degree and a rewarding career.
“I honestly feel so grateful and amazed to receive this scholarship,” said Javier, of Tinton Falls. “It will definitely be a great help financially… Being part of this society has opened doors that I couldn’t have had opened anywhere else. I have learned how to become a leader for my community, my family and myself. I’ve become more mature, both academically and personally. It is a great opportunity.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Singletary-Eskridge, a 2017 psychology graduate who will be transferring to Monmouth University this fall. A former Student Ambassador who joined the NSLS when it was first established in Spring 2016, Singletary-Eskridge was selected to serve as the chapter’s first president, helping to grow the organization from a few dozen students to its current membership of more than 1,000.
“I saw that there was a genuine need for a group on campus that targeted leadership, personal and professional development specifically,” she said. “It was more than just a workshop or program, it was a society of people committing themselves to bettering themselves. And so, I jumped right in… My heart fell in love with it.”
After serving as a paid intern with the Arc of Monmouth and recently accepting a $12,000 scholarship from Monmouth University – where she plans to double-major in psychology and biology – Singletary-Eskridge said her experiences at Brookdale and in the NSLS will prove just as valuable to her as the money she receives from the 2017 Academic Excellence Scholarship.
“I did not expect to be able to achieve as much as I did at a community college. I was proved wrong on so many levels,” she said. “I realized here that with the right tools, mindset, and desire to succeed, anything is possible. I see this scholarship as a direct result all three of those things. This scholarship is a reflection of growth, hard work, and really going above and beyond.”
The NSLS is the largest leadership organization in the U.S., featuring a membership of more than 730,000 at 550 colleges across the country. Members of an NSLS chapter can earn lifetime membership in the national organization, as well as an official NSLS designation at commencement and a host of exclusive benefits. This semester, for example, incoming members were able to participate in invite-only broadcast seminars hosted by the likes of Anderson Cooper, Trevor Noah, Curt Menefee, Barbara Corcoran, Andy Cohen and Leigh Anne Tuohy, among others.
Students also have opportunities to lead community service initiatives, apply for exclusive scholarships and career opportunities, become program mentors, serve as executive board members, network with industry leaders and develop lasting bonds with fellow NSLS members, McElroy said.
To learn more about NSLS or to become a member, click here.
[Featured photo: Mayte Javier (l-r), Chanell Singletary-Eskridge, and Ginger Valenzuela participate in campus events during the 2016-17 school year]