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The PROSPER Grant, Internships, & Ramapo Connections: Equipping Students for Success by Jadelyn Villa

As PCCC’s Spring Session comes to a close, students are preparing for the next steps in their college careers. That being said, many are unaware of the many resources the college offers to aid their success. Passaic County Community College knows that achieving a degree without using provided assets is a challenge, and people like Susanne Stangarone-Galvin, an Applied Learning Specialist in Academic Affairs, want to bring these assets to the table. There are countless programs, funds, and grants available here at PCCC– and the two highlighted today are the PROSPER Grant Initiative and the Ramapo@PCCC partnership.

The PROSPER Grant was developed as a Board of Education grant for Hispanic-serving institutions. Their main goal is to help Hispanic and other racial minority/low-income students earn a bachelor’s degree, which is where the Ramapo@PCCC programs come into play. This is a unique partnership Passaic County Community College upholds to help PCCC graduates earn a bachelor's degree in collaboration with Ramapo College.

With the 3+1 programs, students remain at PCCC for a third year while taking classes through Ramapo’s bachelor’s degree curriculum. After completion of the third year, students will transfer to the Ramapo College campus to conclude their four-year studies. The 3+1 programs cover a wide range of associate degrees for PCCC graduates, including the humanities, criminal justice, nursing, biology, and business administration. 

PCCC graduates who earned an Associate in Science in Human Services have the option to get involved with the 2+2 program. This program offers a more streamlined experience, where graduates can transfer into Ramapo’s Bachelor’s in Social Work degree program and remain fully on PCCC’s familiar campus while completing the third and fourth years of their bachelor’s.

Nora McCarthy, Ramapo College Transfer Specialist and PCCC Coordinator is one of the many advisors who oversee Ramapo admissions and remains a fantastic resource for our Ramapo@PCCC partnership! These programs help students save money, provide guaranteed admission upon third-year completion, and protect access to PCCC’s support services.

Another large part of the PROSPER Grant is the internships they fund. The grant understands the importance of working internships while enrolled in school, which provides higher chances of success in the hiring pool. “We want to serve you guys internships,” Susanne Galvin affirms, “and the grant pays for that time of the internship. So even if a company doesn’t have money to pay, I can call the zoo, for instance, and they had interns– and then we provide the pay for that.” These valuable opportunities aid students in the learning process, gaining professional experience, and building their skills. Susanne, who has worked as a career coach for over 18 years, consistently offers her help expressing the value through resume help and further job/academic counseling.

Off-campus, the YMCA is currently hosting a few internships, consisting of a food pantry project and a leadership after-school program to train and mentor young students. In-house, the PROSPER grant is seeking students to work on a project for the American Legion of Little Falls, where students can research, document, & digitize information on lost military veterans to gain worthwhile experience in research, tech, and data management. Additionally, the grant is funding a Career Ambassador Internship running from this summer to Spring 2025, where they train students to promote PROSPER Grant Initiatives, use career tools like LinkedIn and VMock, and take what they’ve learned to support fellow pupils. These are just a few of the paid internships this program is supporting!

On top of all of these opportunities, the PROSPER Grant promotes campus events right at your doorstep. This upcoming Thursday, April 18th, PROSPER is sponsoring a lecture with Dr. Gina Ann Garcia, a leading scholar on Hispanic-serving institutions and author of "Transforming Hispanic-Serving Institutions For Equity And Justice." Here, you can listen to her extensive research and engage in conversation to better serve our Hispanic and other racial and economic minority students. Attending workshops like these not only develops professional skills and networking circles but also gives students a voice to advocate for themselves. This event will be taking place in A127 at 3:30 PM, so don't forget to check your Panther Portal for sign-up information and other updates on opportunities like these! Taking charge of your success and taking advantage of the programs PCCC offers its students will greatly aid in your academic journey.

Any questions? Please contact Applied Learning Specialist Susanne Stangarone-Galvin at Special thanks to Susanne and PROSPER Grant Faculty Liaison Professor Kelly Bender for collaboration on this piece!

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