Pictured: Brian Groot, of Franklinville, was one of the 18 RCSJ alumni who graduated on May 9 from the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering. During the last year, Groot interned at Mobile Dredging and Video Pipe Services in Newfield, where he gained valuable work experience.
Thanks to a unique articulation agreement with premier partner Rowan University, 18 Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) alumni earned Bachelor of Science degrees from the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering on May 9. While not the commencement ceremony the class of 2020 had anticipated, graduates from RCSJ's Gloucester campus did celebrate the successful completion of a four-year journey, which concluded with a bachelor's degree, internship experience and substantial savings on tuition.
“This is exactly what we envisioned when we first engaged in our partnership with Rowan College, pathways for students to meet the workforce needs of the regions," said Rowan University President Ali Houshmand. “Now more than ever, we need to do all that we can to ensure access to affordable, high-quality academic programs. Seeing students successfully complete this process through the nationally-ranked Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering is outstanding. We look forward to welcoming more RCSJ transfers over the coming years."
“Having had jobs in the general construction field, paired with an appreciation for math and science, made civil engineering a great fit," said Rowan University graduate Anna Kalogiratou, of Deptford. “RCSJ's streamlined program and its easy transfer to Rowan University made it an obvious choice. I am very satisfied with the smooth transition between the two schools."
Unlike Kalogiratou, Brian Groot, a Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate from Franklinville, was at first uncertain about what field to study. Beginning his education at RCSJ allowed him to take a broad range of classes to find the right fit.
“The motivation behind my decision was mainly due to the influence of both my parents, as well as the professors that I had in the early stages of college. Both my calculus and physics professors were absolutely phenomenal, and my decision was influenced, in part by their passion for these subjects as they taught," said Groot. “Choosing to go to the community college first was a great decision."
RCSJ students follow an academic blueprint, one that blends a two-year curriculum incorporating basic science, engineering science, engineering design, practical engineering applications, and humanities and social sciences, saving approximately $18,000 in tuition and fees for a four-year degree. Other program advantages include the guarantee that graduates with a GPA of 3.5 or higher are accepted into Rowan University's engineering program as juniors, in majors such as biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, engineering entrepreneurship and mechanical engineering. (Students with GPAs between 3.0 – 3.49 are considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.)
“We knew that aligning the engineering curriculums would take considerable effort, but it was work worth doing," stated RCSJ President Frederick Keating, who was not surprised to see so many alumni completing their undergraduate education at Rowan University. “The number of graduates is a testament to the value of that effort, and illustrates the high performance of our students. This partnership between RCSJ and Rowan University continues to empower the residents of our region with affordable and marketable credentials."
Sarina Trapani, an NJ STAR from Deptford, decided to begin her studies at RCSJ after hearing about the College's engineering partnership with Rowan University and how the transition to the College of Engineering was guaranteed as long as the GPA criteria was met.
“Having qualified for NJ STARS, it just made financial sense. I was able to obtain an associate degree in Engineering Sciences without loans or tapping into savings," said the Rowan University Chemical Engineering graduate, who is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Tau Beta Pi, the oldest engineering honor society. “RCSJ was so close that it made the transition from high school to college much easier. I felt very well prepared to move on to the university level. I believe starting at RCSJ prepared me for what was ahead."
Engineering internships also play a vital role in preparing students for careers. Blending courses with hands-on experience brings academic instruction into practice.
“I have been working at Mobile Dredging and Video Pipe Services for the last year as an intern," said Groot. “The engineering classes helped to prepare me for the work, but also the internship helped me with the classes. One of the biggest helps in working over the summer was getting a good understanding of how both the field and the office operate. Not only did this assist in being able to discuss certain things back at the university, but it allowed me to gain a better grasp on how the workforce operates on a daily basis."
“I am beginning my career in healthcare and education construction working for an international builder. I intend to use this job to gain knowledge in large-scale construction while also pursuing a Professional Engineering license and MBA, with a focus on construction management," said Kalogiratou. “I was lucky enough to intern at the new Inspira hospital construction for two years. This internship introduced me to large scale operations and familiarized me with what it takes to build, both on the field and in the office. The internship also helped me introduce myself to key individuals in the local construction industry, in addition to helping me secure a great job at a competitive salary."
RCSJ alumni who graduated in May with Bachelor's Degrees in Engineering from Rowan University include Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering—Colin McAllister and Eric Williamson; Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering— Vanessa Pierce and Sarina Trapani; Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering— Jonathan D'Amico, Remo DiSalvatore, Michael Dubroski, Brian Groot, Brian Jackson, Anna Kalogiatou, John Laranjeira and William Rohe; Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering—Scott Wood; Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering— Phillip Delfierro, Zachary Hammel, John Sparks and Tyler Ziegenbein; Master of Science in Civil Engineering— Ken Lee.
For more information about RCSJ's engineering partnership with Rowan University, visit