Bergen Student a Governor’s STEM Scholar

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College biology student and class of 2024 graduate Liliana Hopkins will complete her year-long participation in the Governor’s STEM Scholars Program this month. The program, an exclusive state-funded education initiative in New Jersey, pairs college mentors with teams of high school students to conduct research centered on issues related to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“The STEM Program is proud to have one of our STEM Student Scholars selected from New Jersey’s top students for the Governor’s STEM Scholars,” Bergen STEM Student Research Center Director Chris Tully said. “This is a well-deserved honor for Liliana and we are thrilled to see her success made possible by the quality education and valuable research experience available through Bergen’s STEM program.”

Hopkins, of Secaucus, directed “The Microbial Fuel Cell” project, which used microbial fuel cell prototypes to produce bioremediation and clean energy in samples collected from the Hackensack River. The team will present their theory, prototype and results at a Kean University conference this month.

“This experience pushed me to be a better leader, mentor and scientist,” Hopkins said. “I am so grateful I got to work with a team of talented and hardworking students. I am excited to help them share the data we worked so hard for, and more importantly, to see them experience the thrilling culmination of an intensive research project.”

While enrolled at Bergen, Hopkins served as the treasurer for the STEM Student Union, mentored students with intellectual disabilities and even published a scientific paper on the method development of plant DNA-barcodes. She plans to study microbiology and biotechnology at Rutgers University before pursuing a Ph.D. and a career in science policy.

Hopkins former mentor, Bergen Professor Luis Jimenez, Ph.D., raved about her work.

“Liliana was an amazing addition to our laboratory,” he said. “She is a very mature and intelligent student with an unlimited potential to become a leader in whatever field she decides to study. She was full of enthusiasm and really excited to have the opportunity to do research.”

The Governor’s STEM Scholars program brings together the Research and Development Council of New Jersey, the New Jersey Office of the Governor, the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the state’s leading research companies.

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: Liliana Hopkins

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