More than 50 of Monmouth County’s highest achieving students were welcomed in the Brookdale Honors Program Aug. 11 during a day-long orientation program on the Lincroft campus.
The students – who form the largest ever cohort selected to the Honors Program since its redesign six years ago – were welcomed by a wide range of faculty, administrators and fellow students, including Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy and honors co-coordinators Dr. Laura Neitzel and Jonathan Moschberger.
“This is not just a wonderful program, but one of the most phenomenal opportunities you will have as a college student,” Murphy told the incoming freshmen. “You will learn together, you will be mentored and you will have access to the best faculty at this college and, indeed, anywhere that I have known. You are not going to get this anywhere else. I look forward to seeing all that you do throughout the course of the year.”
The orientation began with an overview of the Brookdale Honors Program, which offers students dedicated courses in a variety of subjects along with unique opportunities for service learning, campus leadership, scholarships and other benefits.
“You are a select cohort of highly motivated students,” said Neitzel. “It takes a lot of motivation to decide that you want to do something extra to enhance your education, and that’s why you are in this room.
“Our graduates are doing amazing things,” she added. “They have gone on to amazing schools – from our New Jersey state schools to the Ivy League. We have seen that if you really commit to us, if you really commit to honors and become part of our team, that we can help you achieve whatever you set your sights on.”
The program also featured a series of ice-breaking games and activities, including a campus-wide scavenger hunt designed to familiarize the students with Brookdale facilities and student services.
Throughout the day, college representatives such as Humanities Institute Dean Carl Calendar, Business and Social Science Institute Dean Patricia Gallo, Student Engagement Director Robert Quinones, International Education Center Director Janice Thomas and English department chair Bettejane Bolan-Kenney stopped by to offer their support to the new honor students and encourage them to get involved on campus.
A number of returning honor students – now serving as official mentors in the Honors Program – volunteered to help lead the activities and share the lessons they learned from their own freshmen year in the program.
Honors mentor Sameerah Wahab – who was selected as New Jersey’s top community college student and one of the top 20 students in the nation last year – encouraged the newcomers to take advantage of all the opportunities Brookdale has to offer.
“If you have questions about applying for a scholarship or joining a club or participating in the Honors Symposium, I’m here to help. We all are,” Wahab said. “We were sitting just where you are a year ago.”
For incoming honor student and Middletown South High School graduate Matt Laub, the orientation was a exciting preview of what he will experience beginning this fall.
“It was a great introduction,” said Laub, who took home first place in the scavenger hunt with a group of fellow students. “It was the first time I really got to explore the college, and I was able to do it with a group of other people who are here for the same reasons. All in all, I’m very excited. I want to rise to the expectation they have for us and really push myself to succeed.”
Learn more about the Brookdale Honors Program here.
Check out more photos from the Honors Orientation here.