2017 RVCC Graduate Spotlight

Thursday, May 18, 2017
2017 Raritan Valley Community College Graduate Spotlight

We may be biased, but we think Raritan Valley Community College has some of the most impressive students of any community college out there. Though it was hard to narrow it down, allow us to introduce you to five standout graduates from 2017. Now that they’ve earned their 2 year degrees at RVCC, these esteemed grads will be heading to some of the country’s best colleges or starting their careers at great companies. We can’t wait to see all they’ll achieve!

Kristine Bulava

From: Basking Ridge, NJ. Came to the U.S. from Latvia to work as an au pair.

RVCC Major: General Business

Honors: Named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact for her service learning work. Honored by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges as one of the state’s top community college students during its annual Phi Theta Kappa Day celebration.

Achievements/Interests: Organized fundraising events for the hungry and acted as Vice President of Scholarship and Service for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. While serving as President of RVCC’s Enactus club—an international entrepreneurial-based organization—she taught disadvantaged youth how to operate a small business and offered financial seminars and college completion workshops.

Next Steps: To use her education to create sustainable change and spearhead the hydroponic initiative to teach people how to feed themselves. Attending Baruch College in New York City in the fall.

Jenna Douglas

From: Bridgewater, NJ. A graduate of Bridgewater-Raritan High School. 

RVCC Major: Social Science at the Honors College.

Honors: Named to both the President's List and Dean's List. Graduated Summa Cum

Achievements/Interests: Served as a Student Ambassador and a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Rotaract Club. Traveled with Rotaract to Nepal in January to distribute 250 pounds of donated school supplies and engage in community projects.

Next Steps: Pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology at a four-year school and eventually attaining a PhD in Psychology or a similar field. Accepted so far by The College of New Jersey and Georgetown University.

Juan Prada-Ojeda

From: Hillsborough, NJ. A native of Colombia.

RVCC Major: Engineering Science major who started his education at RVCC taking English as a Second Language classes.

Honors: Graduated Summa Cum Laude; Galileo Scholar; Received several awards including the Vincent Bodino Math Achievement Award and the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Mentor Award.

Achievements/Interests: Member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the College's Cross Country team.

Next Steps: Pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering. Already accepted by Rutgers University.

Vanessa Patterson

From: Califon, NJ

RVCC Major: Electric Utility Technology. Graduated Summa Cum Laude. Already holds a Bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

Honors: The only woman in her graduating class participating in RVCC’s Power Systems Institute program, offered by Jersey Central Power & Light, a FirstEnergy Company. The first female graduate of the overhead lines position within the Power Systems Institute program since its inception in 2000.

Achievements/Interests: Originally planned a career as a horse trainer and has worked as both a barn manager and at an equine veterinary clinic. Was told that no woman had ever gotten through the physical evaluation portion of the Power Systems Institute program.

Next Steps: Beginning a three-year apprentice lineman position with FirstEnergy.

Andrew Laffey

From: Flemington, NJ. A veteran of the U.S. Navy (2009-2014) who was seriously injured in 2012.

RVCC Major: Triple major in Physics, Mathematics and Engineering Science. Already holds two college degrees—a Liberal Arts degree from RVCC (2002) and a BS in Technical Studies from The College of New Jersey (2006).

Honors: Member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society; A 2016 awardee of the prestigious Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service.

Achievements/Interests: Started the Raritan Valley Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Program, a therapeutic group for student veterans and other veterans in the community.

Next Steps: Transferring to The College of New Jersey to study Electrical Engineering, working at the Picatinny Arsenal, and pursuing a career as a civil service engineer for the military.

Interested in becoming the next RVCC success story? We offer a wide range of programs and help simplify the college transfer process. We hope to see you at our Open House!