by Diane VanDyke
Montgomery County Community College Engineering student and athlete Nicholas Igbokwe of Worcester Township was recently recognized by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) as one of the recipients of the 2011-12 Academic Student Athlete Awards.
NJCAA honors student athletes for their performance in the classroom, as well as on the field. Nicholas, a Mustangs soccer player, received the Exemplary Academic Achievement award for earning a 3.76 GPA. He was one of 1,680 NJCAA student athletes to receive an individual academic honor.
Nicholas played for the Mustangs for two seasons on offense as a striker. During the 2011 season, the team made it to the NJCAA Region 19 Men’s Soccer playoffs.
In addition to the opportunity to excel in his favorite sport, the College enabled Nicholas to embrace his passion for science and mathematics and pursue his engineering goals through the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Scholars program.
“Of the scholarships I received, the STEM scholarship was the most notable and pivotal for me in making my decision to attend Montgomery County Community College,” said Nicholas.
The College’s STEM Scholars program provided tuition, books and fees for academically talented and financially eligible students studying one of the STEM disciplines.
“Overall, the program not only gave me the opportunity to be a recipient of the STEM scholarship, but it also provided me with the platform to serve the school and my community with my fellow STEM scholars, which is something I am proud of,” he said.
As part of the STEM program, Nicholas was involved in the annual STEM Jam events. He also served as a judge in the robotics competition for high school students held at the Central Campus in Blue Bell.
“I feel the College had so much to offer me, both academically and athletically,” he continued. “I knew it would provide me with a solid college base for my transition into a four-year university.”
Nicholas plans to transfer to Pennsylvania State University (University Park) in the fall to get his baccalaureate degree in Engineering. He eventually wants to work in the energy industry as a nuclear/petroleum engineer.
While taking a full course load, Nicholas became engaged in the campus community by participating in the Thrive Club and the African-American Student League. He was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and participated in the Minority Male Mentoring Program with mentor Edward Brown.
Igbokwe says the small class size and flexible schedule allowed him to excel at the College, but the most influential factor in his success was the faculty.
“The instructors do more than just teach classes,” he said. “I was able to form a relationship with most of my professors.
“Dr. (H. Thomas) Tucker and Robin Zuhlke were my mentors in the STEM program—they were invaluable resources for me because they really helped and encouraged me all the way,” Nicholas said. “Dr. Emenike Ukazim was very instrumental in my success and advancement in Mathematics. He was there all the time for me.”