Atlantic Cape has launched thousands of graduates into careers or transfer programs at four-year institutions. Read what three recent graduates have to say about how Atlantic Cape created opportunity in their lives.
Madison Russ, 24
Ocean City, NJ
A.A. Communication, Atlantic Cape ’12
Pursuing B.A. at University of Pennsylvania
After graduating from Ocean City High School in 2008, Madison moved to California to pursue a childhood dream of becoming a writer. After the economy crashed, she returned home, her dreams dashed. Ready to return to school, she discovered Atlantic Cape’s degree program in Communication.
“I particularly enjoyed the sense of community in the Communication program.” Madison explained. Madison soon became editor of the student newspaper, The Atlantic Cape Review. “I made invaluable, lasting friendships, and gained valuable experience as a member of the Communication Awards Committee and other extra-curricular activities.”
After graduating from Atlantic Cape, Madison transferred to the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Communication. “I am also studying Mandarin as a second language and hope to pursue a career in foreign correspondence,” she said.
Madison is an intern for the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which hosts FactCheck.org, a non-partisan, nonprofit website that examines the factual accuracy of U.S. political campaign ads. She is a research assistant under Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a renowned political communication professor.
Madison also hosts her own indie music/talk program at WQHS, Penn’s student radio. She met former President Bill Clinton while serving on the communication board for Penn Democrats in 2012, and interviewed Gov. Michael Dukakis, former presidential candidate, while on staff for the Penn Political Review. “My experiences at Penn have been extremely exciting, fulfilling and rewarding,” she said.
“It’s doubtful that I would attend an Ivy League School were it not for Atlantic Cape’s alliance with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, my involvement with them, and UPenn’s Liberal and Professional Studies Program, which encourages nontraditional, community college students to apply.
“Atlantic Cape helped me focus on what I want, build a portfolio and dive into a world that I never could imagine would be my own. To say Atlantic Cape was a critical stepping-stone into my journey as a hopeful successful journalist would be an understatement,” she said.
S. Jamar Bogan, 27
Cape May Court House
A.S. General Studies, Atlantic Cape ’07
B.S. Marketing, Rowan University ’09
“I chose Atlantic Cape primarily because of the quality education offerings, flexible class schedules, and the seamless transfer agreements they have with many New Jersey universities; the fact that the Cape May County Campus opened, practically in my backyard, also played a huge part in my decision.”
Jamar was one the first students to attend Atlantic Cape through the Marjorie Ward Scholarship program. “I appreciated all of the support I had and the open access to my advisors, professors and other staff,” Jamar explained.
“Having a local campus allowed me to continue working and living at home to keep expenses down. As part of the Marjorie Ward program, I was required to do 20 hours of community service per semester, and that exposed me to numerous volunteer opportunities–some of which I was not even aware of in my own community,” he said.
Since graduating from Atlantic Cape, Jamar earned his B.S. in Marketing at Rowan University. He now lives in New York City, working for Bayer in medical device sales.
Jamar continues to give back as a regular donor to the American Red Cross and NY Blood Center. He is a mentor for –iMentor, an organization that provides mentoring for high school students of disadvantaged backgrounds, and for Eagle Academy, which provides leadership, development and mentoring for young minority males throughout New York City. He serves on the Eagle Academy Foundation’s Junior Board (EAFJB), which plans the organization’s marketing initiatives, curriculum development and apprenticeship programs.
“Atlantic Cape prepared me for the challenges I faced in my educational and professional career. I truly cannot thank the college enough.”
Sheyla Ayala-Mantilla, 27
Born and raised in Colombia. Resides in Pottstown, PA
A.S., Business Administration, Economics, Atlantic Cape ’09
B.A. Economics, Minor in Finance, Rutgers University ’11
“I learned about Atlantic Cape’s transfer agreements with four-year institutions that I was interested in attending,” explains Sheyla about why she chose to start her education at Atlantic Cape. “It was a great advantage to take my first two years at Atlantic Cape and have the peace of mind that all my courses would apply toward a four-year degree,” she said.
Sheyla liked the small campus feel of Atlantic Cape and easy access to extra help with her professors. “The professors are more accessible than on a larger campus where class sizes are bigger,” she explained.
Her most memorable times are those activities she was able to enjoy with the student clubs. “Atlantic Cape really supports student engagement outside of the classroom. I was able to build long-lasting friendships,” she noted.
After earning her four-year degree at Rutgers University, Sheyla was qualified for highly competitive jobs in the field of finance and was offered a job upon graduation. She works in a project leader role in a fast-paced development program at Vanguard, the world’s largest mutual fund company. “It’s a very rewarding position that allows me to use leadership and technical skills,” she explained.
“I don’t think I would have been able to go this far if it wasn’t for my experiences at Atlantic Cape,” Sheyla said. “Being a club leader and alumni representative for the college’s Board of Trustees served me well as I started to compete in the professional job market.”
-–Kathy B. McGowan