Union County College Team Participated in Prestigious NASA Challenge

Union students Antonio Mena, Bruce Aranda, Dmytro Govdan, and Michael Kirkland in a lab at the College’s Cranford campus in the fall 2019 semester.

CRANFORD – Union County College is proud to announce that “Team UCC Drillworks,” comprised of four engineering students, successfully competed in NASA’s Micro-G Next Challenge Artemis Program on September 16. Held via video at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at the Sonny Carter Training Facility near the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Union’s Lunar Coring Device, named “Icarus Talon” was one of two teams who made it through the entire trial. The “Icarus Talon” may now be used in the Artemis mission to drill samples from the moon’s surface.

“Team UCC Drillworks” is comprised of four students: Michael Kirkland of Westfield, Bruce Aranda of Elizabeth, Dmytro Govdan of Summit, and Antonio Mena of Cranford. In the first round of the competition, Union competed against teams from universities such as Cornell, Columbia, University of Texas, Ohio State, University of Alabama, University of Nebraska, and Arizona State. Of the original group of 20 teams, only eight were chosen to compete in the final round.

To prepare for the competition on Sept. 16, the team gathered this summer with Associate Professors of Engineering Nick Gilbert and Jennifer Ebert to practice and perfect the drill for the trials. During these sessions, the students consulted with NASA engineers via video for suggestions on how to improve their drill.

“We are so proud of Michael, who wants to work for NASA, and his fellow engineering students Bruce, Dmytro, and Antonio on having built a drill that may be part of the Artemis mission to the moon,” stated Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin. “And I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the dedication of Profs. Gilbert and Ebert, who took time out of their busy schedules during our national health crisis and created a safe environment for our students to prepare for the competition.”

Union County College Associate Professor of Physics/Engineering Nicholas Gilbert is serving as the Head Coach to the team. Associate Professor of Engineering Jennifer Ebert serves as the research and technical advisor to the team.

For more information about Union County College, go to www.ucc.edu.

Eight Union County College Student-Athletes Named to All-GSAC and All-Region Teams

Top row: Destine Alarcon, Lindsay Wielgus, Sarah English, and Kiana Veloso-Lima. Bottom row: Dominique Denilson, Murielle Mason, Jacques Fuentes, and Victoria Fernandez.

CRANFORD – For their achievements on the field and the court during the fall 2019 semester, eight Union County College student-athletes were recognized by the National Junior College Athletic Association by being named to All-Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) and/or All-Region teams. The eight students were members of the men’s soccer team, women’s soccer team, and the women’s volleyball team.

The College’s student-athletes are from towns throughout the County. Below is the list of the students who were acknowledged for their athletic performance.

Men’s soccer team:

  • First Team All-GSAC & First Team All-Region
    • Dominique Denilson of Elizabeth
  • Third Team All-GSAC & Third Team All-Region
    • Jacques Fuentes of Hillside

Women’s volleyball team:

  • Second Team All-GSAC & Second Team All-Region
    • Murielle Mason of Cranford

Women’s soccer team:

  • First Team All-GSAC & First Team All-Region
    • Lindsay Wielgus of Cranford
    • Sarah English of Clark
    • Destine Alarcon of Plainfield
  • First Team All-GSAC & Second Team All-Region
    • Victoria Fernandez of Rahway
  • Second Team All-Region
    • Kiana Veloso-Lima of Union

“We are so proud of the achievements of our high performing student-athletes. Their individual drive for success is the catalyst for reaching both their athletic and academic goals,” stated Dean of College Life Tammy Smith.

For more information about the Intercollegiate Athletic programs available at Union County College, pleases visit www.unionowls.com.

Union County College Hosts Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony to Celebrate Expansion of Health Sciences Building in Plainfield

Union County College Hosts Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony to Celebrate Expansion of Health Sciences Building in Plainfield
Holding the big scissors are Dean of Plainfield Campus and Allied Sciences Dr. Victoria Ukachukwu and President McMenamin. To her right is Union County College Board of Trustees member, Union County College Board of Governors Vice Chair, and Union County College Foundation Chair Lawrence D. Bashe, and to his right is Union County Freeholder Vice Chairman Angel G. Estrada.

PLAINFIELD – On January 21, 2020, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the College’s Plainfield campus to celebrate the completion of renovations of the Health Sciences Building, which is home to multiple in-demand health training programs. Dean of the Plainfield Campus and Allied Sciences Dr. Victoria Ukachukwu welcomed the guests to campus. Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin spoke about how the state-of-the-art facilities housed in the building are integral to providing Union students with the high-quality education and training needed in today’s job market.

Union County Freeholder Vice Chairman Angel G. Estrada was present for the ceremony, as well as Union County College Board of Trustees member, Board of Governors Vice Chair, and Foundation Board Chair Lawrence D. Bashe. Members of the College’s faculty and staff were also in attendance.

The expansion of the building includes new labs for the College’s paramedic emergency health science, physical therapist assistant, and respiratory care programs. The renovation also provides a new conference room, additional classrooms, and two computer labs as well as a spacious atrium in the front of the building.

“This upgraded and expanded facility is exactly what our students need to receive state-of-the-art training in the various health fields,” stated President McMenamin. “This is just one more way in which we are achieving our mission of providing a high-quality education at an affordable cost to Union County residents. Our goal is to provide students with an education that leads to employment in careers that help support a family.”

Two Union County College Wrestlers to Compete at NJCAA National Tournament

Frank Silva, of Kenilworth  Ikenna Unachukwu, of Roselle

Frank Silva, of Kenilworth, and Ikenna Unachukwu, of Roselle

CRANFORD – Union County College scholar-athletes Frank Silva, of Kenilworth, and Ikenna Unachukwu, of Roselle, qualified on Feb. 22 to compete in National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Wrestling National Tournament. The tournament will be held at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa on March 6 and 7.

Both Frank and Ikenna are in their freshman year at Union. Frank is 5’8” and qualified at 125 pounds. He is a chemistry major and will represent the NJCAA Region XIX as the District Runner Up. Ikenna is 6’3” and qualified at 174 pounds. He is a nursing major and will represent the NJCAA Region XIX as the District At-Large.

“Union County College is so proud of Frank and Ikenna for qualifying to compete at nationals in not only their first year in college but also in the first season of our wrestling program,” stated Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin. “At Union, we provide our scholar-athletes with every opportunity to achieve their personal best both in the classroom and on the mat. Good luck to Frank and Ikenna.”

For more information on the 15 NJCAA teams at Union, go to UnionOwls.com

Union County College Celebrates 500 Graduates at Winter Commencement Ceremonies

Union graduates, smiling for the camera, as they wait outside of the Union County Performing Arts Center for their ceremony to begin.

RAHWAY – Union County College celebrated more than 500 graduates during its joyous Winter Commencement Ceremonies held at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ. Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin presided over the ceremonies and welcomed the graduates. Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel offered greetings on behalf of the College’s Boards of Trustees and Governors to the attendees. Highlights of the day were the inspirational student speeches given by Herns Gabriel of Union and Reyna Ramirez of Plainfield. They both encouraged their classmates to persevere in the future and make their mark on the world.

At the 2:30 p.m. ceremony, Associate in Science degrees were conferred. The Associate in Arts, Associate in Applied Science, and Certificates were awarded at the 6 p.m. ceremony. At each ceremony, William Dunscombe, Interim Dean of STEM, presented a graduate with the Abdallah-Thomas Memorial Award. This award was created in 2015 to honor Ibtissam Ahmed Abdallah and Marquest S. Thomas, graduates of the College who died together in a tragic car accident on Nov. 23, 2011, shortly after they were married. To be considered for the award, a graduating student must have a 3.25 GPA or higher, have participated in college life through service in college activities and/or sports, and have completed community service. Luis Umana, of Springfield, who completed his Associate in Arts degree in psychology and Patience Opaola, of Linden, who completed her Associate in Science degree in nursing, were this year’s recipients.

“Commencement is the most revered day of the year at Union. We gather to celebrate the success achieved by our newly minted graduates, who exemplify the College’s mission of transforming our community, one student at a time,” stated Dr. McMenamin.

Among the dignitaries present at the ceremonies were Union County Board of Chosen Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella and Freeholder Sergio Granados. Members of Union County College’s Boards donned their regalia and participated in the ceremonies. Union County College Board of Trustees member, Union County College Board of Governors Vice Chair, and Union County College Foundation Chair Lawrence D. Bashe, Union County College Board of Trustees members George A. Castro, II and Daryl Palmieri, and Student Trustee Kaitlyn Veliz were present. Union County College Board of Governors members in attendance were Nancy J. Benz, Rafael J. Betancourt, Esq., Donna M. Herran, Francis Raudelunas, Allan L. Weisberg, and Hugh C. Welsh. Union County College Foundation Board member Suzanne S. Covine was also present.

Union County College Team Chosen for Prestigious NASA Challenge

Union students Antonio Mena, Bruce Aranda, Dmytro Govdan, and Michael Kirkland in a lab at the College’s Cranford campus.

CRANFORD – Union County College is proud to announce that a team of four engineering students have been chosen to participate in NASA’s Micro-G Next Challenge Artemis Program. Union’s team is one of only two community colleges selected to compete in this category, which has a total of 20 teams, and includes teams from universities such as Cornell, Columbia, University of Texas, Ohio State, University of Alabama, University of Nebraska, and Arizona State.

Union’s team is comprised of four students: Michael Kirkland of Westfield, Bruce Aranda of Elizabeth, Dmytro Govdan of Summit, and Antonio Mena of Cranford. Our students submitted a proposal for the Lunar Sample Coring Drill competition which if chosen, will be used on the Artemis mission to drill samples from the moon’s surface.

The young men on our team are now in the process of building their drill which will be tested at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) at the Sonny Carter Training Facility near the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. The NBL is the large pool where astronauts train for future missions.

“For engineering students interested in working for NASA, this is the experience of a lifetime, and we are so proud of our students for being chosen for this competition,” stated Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin. “I thank the leadership in our engineering faculty for the guidance and instruction they’ve provided to assist our students with achieving their goal of building an effective coring drill.”

Union County College Associate Professor of Physics/Engineering Nicholas Gilbert is serving as the Head Coach to the team. Associate Professior of Engineering Jennifer Ebert serves as the research and technical advisor to the team. Please consider supporting the fundraising campaign to send Union County College’s team to NASA this spring: www.ucc.edu/ucc2nasa

Union County College Signed Agreement with Japan’s Kitami Institute of Technology

ELIZABETH – On Oct. 22, a signing ceremony was held between Union County College and the Kitami Institute of Technology of Japan in the Kellogg Building on the Elizabeth Campus. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin and Kitami President Dr. Suzuki Soichiro. The agreement will provide new academic and study abroad opportunities for students of both institutions.

With this new arrangement, Union students and faculty will be able to participate in collaborative research initiatives, experience joint education programs, including continuing education, and exchange academic materials. Union County College Dean of Elizabeth Campus Dr. Lester Sandres Rápalo has been working to internationalize the College and assisted with the development of this new MOA. During the ceremony, Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage and Kitami City Mayor Tsuji Naotaka witnessed the signing. This year marks the City of Elizabeth’s Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Sister City Partnership with Kitami, Japan.

“The signing of today’s agreement will provide new cultural experiences for both Union and Kitami students,” stated Union President Dr. McMenamin. “President Soichiro and I are looking forward to building educational pathways for our students and faculty.”

Representatives from both institutions and Union students were present for the signing. Twenty-four guests, including ten officials from the Kitami Institute of Technology, traveled to the U.S. to be present for the ceremony. Following the MOA signing, the Japanese delegation took a tour of the College’s Elizabeth campus, led by Dr. Rapalo and Union County College Vice President for Administrative Service Dr. Athos Brewer.

Union County College is a public comprehensive community college providing quality, affordable, accessible educational programs to the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 18 Associate Degree colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College enrolls almost 20,000 credit, non-credit, and continuing education students and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Many programs lead to an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, or an Associate in Applied Science degree.

For more information about Union County College, go to www.ucc.edu.

Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage (left) and Kitami Mayor Tsuji Naotaka (right), witnessed the signing of the MOA by President McMenamin and President Suzuki.

The Serious Issue of Hate Speech and Division in America” Discussed at Union County College

CRANFORD – On Oct. 21, Union County College hosted the panel discussion, “The Serious Issue of Hate Speech and Division in America.” Union’s Vice President for Administrative Services Dr. Athos Brewer welcomed to campus the moderator, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, and five distinguished panel members: New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal; Executive Director, State & Local Government Program, Georgetown Law School Meryl J. Chertoff; Former New Jersey Attorney General and U.S. Senator Jeffrey Chiesa; Former Political Director, New Jersey NAACP Walter Fields; and Former New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.

New Jersey Attorney General Grewal reported current statistics on hate crimes in New Jersey with the panel discussing the disturbing upward trend of these incidents. Panelists also remarked on hate being a learned behavior and what can be done to help young people learn and practice love instead of hate. The panelists discussed the proliferation of hate speech on the internet and how quickly it spreads. The delicate balance of first amendments rights and the protection of an individual’s freedom of speech, even hate speech, was also discussed. Finally, the issue of the media, especially partisan cable news networks, and their ability to provide neutral news coverage was covered.

“Thank you to each of the distinguished participants of this panel for enlightening our students on these serious topics that can divide individuals and negatively impact the communities where we live and work,” stated Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin. “As educators, it is our responsibility to bring to light sensitive issues happening in the world so our students may learn.”

Union County College is a public comprehensive community college providing quality, affordable, accessible educational programs to the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 18 Associate Degree colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College enrolls almost 20,000 credit, non-credit, and continuing education students and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Many programs lead to an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, or an Associate in Applied Science degree.

For more information about Union County College, go to www.ucc.edu.

 At the podium is Assemblyman Jon Bramnick. At the table (l to r): Former NJ Attorney General & US Senator Jeffrey Chiesa; Executive Director, State & Local Government Program, Georgetown Law School Meryl J. Chertoff; NJ Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal; Former Political Director, NJ NAACP Walter Fields; and Former NJ Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.

Union County College Names New Members to Its Board of Trustees and Board of Governors

CRANFORD – At the September 25, 2018 Joint Meeting of the Union County College Boards of Trustees and Governors, two new members were sworn in. Miguel A. Merino, of Elizabeth, will serve as a new Trustee. Edward J. Chrystal, Jr., of Scotch Plains, will serve as a new Governor. Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel welcomed Mr. Merino and Mr. Chrystal to the meeting and initiated their swearing in.

Miguel A. Merino currently serves as a member of the City of Elizabeth New Jersey Commissioner Planning Board. In this position, he advises the City Council, City staff, and other agencies and boards on matters affecting community development. An entrepreneur and small business owner, Mr. Merino has eighteen years of experience in the painting industry and established his company, Fresh & Clean Painting, LLC, in 2014.

Mr. Merino served in the United States Marine Corps for five years, in basic infantry as a truck and hummer mechanic. His hard work and commitment eventually earned him the highest rank of Corporal E-4. In May 2001, he became a member of the Marine Corps League Martin Danowski Detachment. He is a Past Commandant and a lifetime member. The league members gather to preserve the traditions and promote the interests of the United States Marine Corps.

Edward J. Chrystal, Jr., is a Brigadier General for the New Jersey Army National Guard. As Brigadier General, he was responsible for the management of the response and support operations during Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, Sandy, Irene, Katrina, and Floyd. For his work, he received multiple accolades including the Bronze Star Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Award.

Mr. Chrystal is employed by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs as the Superintendent for Veterans Haven North, a New Jersey state transitional facility for homeless veterans. He is responsible for more than 100 residents and a staff of counselors, kitchen and maintenance workers, and members of the administration.  Previously, Mr. Chrystal was a member of the New Jersey State Police. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant.

He holds a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and from Seton Hall University, he holds a Master of Arts in education administration and a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice.

“Both Mr. Merino and Mr. Chrystal are pillars of the community. They have both served our country and understand the true meaning of service. Their perspective and leadership will be valuable to the Board, and we are happy to welcome them,’” stated Union’s Board of Trustees Chairman Victor M. Richel.

Union County College is a public comprehensive community college providing quality, affordable, accessible educational programs that serve the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 19 Associate Degree colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College enrolls almost 20,000 credit, non-credit, and continuing education students and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Many programs lead to an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, or an Associate in Applied Science degree.

For more information about Union County College, go to www.ucc.edu.

Union’s Board of Trustees Chairman Victor M. Richel, Miguel A. Merino, Edward J. Chrystal, Jr., and Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

 

Union County College Women’s Soccer Team Heads to Nationals

CRANFORD – The Union County College Women’s Soccer Team will compete in the 2018 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Women’s Soccer National Championship Tournament from November 8-11, in Rockford, IL. This past weekend, the Lady Owls were named the Region XIX Champions when they defeated Rowan College of Gloucester Country by a score of 3-0, which qualified them for national competition. This is the first-time that the Women’s Soccer Team has won a Region XIX Championship, and it will be their inaugural appearance in the NJCAA National Championship Tournament.

The Lady Owls scored their first two goals in the first half of the game. Sophia Melendez, of Union, with an assist from Steffany Marroquin, of Plainfield, scored the first goal of the game. Five minutes later, the second goal was scored by Monica Flores, of Elizabeth, from a pass from Maya Lawler, of Cranford.

In the second half, Barbara Ferreira, of Union, scored the final goal of the game. Union’s goalkeeper, Lauren Buchanan, of Union, had a busy game, having turned away 11 goal shots to help contribute to the win. Monica Flores was named the Offensive MVP of the Region XIX tournament, and her fellow teammate, Maya Lawler was named the Defensive MVP of the tournament.

Union’s overall record is 14-1-1. On Oct. 31, the Lady Owls will be notified of who their first-round opponent will be in the NJCAA Women’s Soccer National Tournament. On Nov. 8, they will travel to Illinois to compete in the first round of the NJCAA Women’s Soccer National Tournament. This is Coach Correia’s second year as Head Coach and she is extremely proud of the way the ladies have come together to work as a team both on and off the field.

For more information on the Union County College Soccer’s Basketball team, visit www.unionowls.com. For more information on the NJCAA National Tournament, visit www.njcaa.org.

Union’s Lady Owls when they won the Region XIX Championship on Oct. 26.