Bergen Honor Society Lands in Top 100 (Again!)

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter, Alpha Epsilon Phi, earned seven international and regional awards as well as 13 individual student recognition awards at the PTK Catalyst Conference this month.

Selected from 1,300 chapters worldwide, Alpha Epsilon Phi earned the international “Top 100 Chapter” award, while President Eric Friedman, Ph.D., received the “President Paragon Award” and Vice President of Academic Affairs Brock Fisher, Ph.D., received the regional “Distinguished College Administrator Award.”

“We are incredibly proud of our PTK students for their hard work, creativity, and service to their communities, which made receiving these awards possible,” Bergen PTK and Honors Coordinator Anna Gergen said. “Our students come from diverse demographic and academic backgrounds but all share the spirit of scholarship, fellowship, leadership and service - the hallmarks of Phi Theta Kappa.”

The chapter also received awards recognizing projects - including first place honors for “Our Stories: American Identity and Me.” The project tapped into the stories of members of the Korean Community Center in Tenafly, highlighting the complexities of “identity” in America and what it means to the Korean immigrant community. The initiative, and partnership with the Korean Community Center, play a central role in the College’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and outreach. The chapter also earned honors for a project aimed at enhancing pathways for nontraditional students and addressing community college stigma.

Student Katie Conte, of Ringwood, earned the 2022 Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar award and will receive a $1,500 scholarship. She also recently won a $1,000 scholarship in the 2022 Scott Wright Student Essay Contest sponsored by National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development. Conte will lead the Bergen class of 2022 as valedictorian.

Meanwhile, student Kim Gastelu, of Oradell, notched the 2022 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar award and will receive a $1,250 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Foundation.

Additionally, Conte and Gastelu have both earned spots on the 2022 New Jersey All-State Academic Team sponsored by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges and Phi Theta Kappa. By virtue of the award, the pair represent two of the top community college students in the state.

In total, the PTK chapter and students earned the following:

Regional Chapter Awards

· Most Distinguished Honors in Action Project

· Honors In Action Project Theme (First Place)

· Distinguished College Project

Regional Individual Awards

· Chapter Officer Hall of Honor - Katie Conte and Alexandra Robles, of Passaic

· Chapter Member Hall of Honor - Cassie Lacsina Guinto, of Hackensack

· Outstanding Chapter Leadership - HannahRose Garcia, of New Milford, Kim Gastelu and Samuel Olivencia, of Bergenfield

· Outstanding Chapter Service - Umar Sultan Kahloon, of North Haledon and Laura Macedo, of Fair Lawn

International Chapter Awards

· Top 100 Chapter

· Continued Excellence Award

· Distinguished Honors in Action Project

· Top 50 College Project

International Individual Awards

· Distinguished Chapter Member - Cassie Lacsina Guinto

· Outstanding Chapter President of Middle States Region - HannahRose Garcia

· Chapter Officer Hall of Honor - Katie Conte and Alexandra Robles

· Chapter Member Hall of Honor - Cassie Lacsina Guinto

· Top Recognition for MSR Engagement - Katie Conte

· Outstanding Chapter Leadership - HannahRose Garcia, Kim Gastelu and Sam Olivencia

· Outstanding Chapter Service - Umar Sultan Kahloon and Laura Macedo

· MSR Scholars- Libby Schnur, of Lyndhurst, Cassie Lacsina Guinto and Kim Gastelu

· Leadership Academy Participation Awards - Katie Conte, Kim Gastelu, Alexandra Robles and Umar Sultan Kahloon

· Five Star Advisor - Anna Gergen

2022 Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar

· Katie Conte

2022 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar

· Kim Gastelu

2022 NJ All-State Academic Team

· Katie Conte

· Kim Gastelu

Students can become members of PTK at Bergen by maintaining high grade point averages, committing themselves to community service and standing out as peer leaders. Members make themselves available for scholarships and honors exclusively for PTK students. The College’s chapter has previously earned recognition as the best in the world. Faculty member Lisa Mayer, Esq., serves as an adviser to the chapter.

Founded in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa is the official honor society for two-year colleges that recognizes and awards high-achieving students at associate degree granting colleges. PTK’s mission is to recognize academic achievement of college students and to provide opportunities for them to grow as scholars and leaders. The society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations. For more information, visit

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

Photo Caption:Award-winning members of Bergen Community College’s Alpha Epsilon Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa with President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D.

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