Student leaders host HCCC’s first ever Scholarship Marathon

On your mark, get set, apply!


Diego Villatoro

Presentations during the Scholarship Marathon

Diego Villatoro, Student Reporter

From October 16-18,  Hudson County Community College held its first-ever Scholarship Marathon led by student leaders of the college’s honor societies and facilitated by faculty, staff, and administrators.  The three-day Marathon welcomed new and graduating students from both the Journal Square Campus and the North Hudson Campus. The sessions combined financial assistance, transfer opportunities, scholarship writing instruction, and inspiring testimony from a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar.  

Christine Petersen, Associate Director of Financial Aid, delivered an informative presentation on a myriad of non-merit/merit scholarships and grants. Ms. Petersen spoke about the HCCC institutional grants and the many ways the college is trying “to meet our students where they are at.” Most importantly, Ms. Petersen reminded new and continuing students about the importance of completing and keeping their FAFSA up to date.   

In addition, Christopher Wahl, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, shed light on the many transfer opportunities available to our students. AVP Wahl described the perks and advantages of being a transfer student; specifically, a transfer student with an associate degree. These opportunities include full scholarships to New Jersey City University for students with a GPA of 3.7 and above. Additionally, students can count on onsite advisors, instant admissions, and seamless transfer to New Jersey senior institutions. These efforts are aimed at maximizing credit transfers and saving students thousands of dollars. 

The Scholarship Marathon provided students with scholarships and transfer essay writing instructions. This portion of the session focused on active writing, compelling storytelling, and effective communication. Kathryn Buckley, an English Instructor, spearheaded these efforts, drawing on her personal journey combined with years of writing instruction. Professor Buckley’s session included a brainstorming device and detailed instructions for starting. Her session addressed some of the most challenging barriers students had concerning scholarship essay writing.  These efforts were supported by HCCC English Professors, the Academic Support Services, and the Writing Center, all of whom made these series of events possible.  

Last but not least, Natasha Piñeiros, M.Ed., a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, presented her motivational story of success through the Cooke Foundation. She provided students with good deal of information and materials to motivate and inspire other students to achieve their dreams. For example, the Cooke Foundation provides students $40,000.00 toward their undergraduate degree and $75,000.00 toward their graduate degree. She thoroughly explained the eligibility requirements, the ideal approach to the application process, and how she completed graduate school 100% debt free – the mission of this event.  

The HCCC Scholarship Marathon – the first of its kind –had a turnout of over 70 students and served as a starting point for most attendees to start their applications.  Ten students received onthespot assistance from English professors and tutors, while many found the event extremely helpful. It is worth noting that some students expressed a desire for more DACAfriendly scholarships and resources to be provided in the future.