ESSEX COUNTY, NJ – The Essex County Council of Commissioners recently honored Ashley Cruz, of Newark, and Nicole Johannson and Neyah Johnson, both of East Orange, for being named the Essex County recipients of the New Jersey Association of Counties Foundation Fellowship Program 2021 award. The board commendations were sponsored by acclamation and presented to the three recipients in lieu of a presentation ceremony.
The scholarships recognize distinguished students from technical and vocational schools who plan to pursue graduate studies in the state of New Jersey. The NJAC Foundation – in conjunction with partner companies PSEG, the Investors Foundation and SHI International – awards grants to fund the continuing education of graduates at a county college, college, or state university.
Cruz, who received the NJAC and PSEG award, is a recent graduate of West Caldwell Tech and plans to attend the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where she will major in construction engineering and management. With a passion for the environment, Cruz has always shown initiative in independently researching ways to build to maximize energy and efficiency, while also suggesting ways to reduce the materials used in the classroom. She earned a GPA of 3.63 while playing on the varsity softball team and became a respected member of the Superintendent’s Student Council, where she discussed ways to improve the school community.
Johannson, recipient of the NJAC and the Investor Foundation Award, is a recent graduate of the Donald M. Payne School of Technology, where she obtained a GPA of 4.2, placing eighth in a class of 304 seniors. . She plans to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick and will major in forensic chemistry. Johannson was a member of the Cooperman’s Scholars program, which is a rigorous and selective college preparatory program, and also showed a passion for athletics. She was captain of the track team and a member of the cross country team. She has also served as a senior mentor and volunteered for various efforts through the Student Council.
Johnson, also a 2021 graduate from Donald M. Payne School of Technology, has received the NJAC and the SHI International Scholarship Award, and is the type of student who approaches new situations with a positive mindset and seeks to do his best. She plans to attend Kean University and will major in Information Technology. She is passionate about studying web design and aims to become a software developer for a large tech company.