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MCC 'Star' Named Alumna of the Year

Lacey Plichta, a 2006 graduate of MCC, was named the 2014 Alumna of the Year for Contributions to the College, its Alumni Association or its Foundation. The award was presented during Celebration Day, an annual event that also honors College employees reaching milestone service anniversaries and three Outstanding Service to the College award winners.

Ms. Plichta was a member of the first class of New Jersey STARS, which is a scholarship program for high-achieving high school students who attend their community college.

She graduated with honors from MCC and Rutgers, where she went for her bachelor's and master's degrees. She is now teaching in the Princeton school system. She also owns her own business, Lacey's Gourmet Cupcakes.

She has been involved with the Alumni Association since graduation and is now treasurer.

Her engagement with MCC began in the fall of 2004, when she arrived on campus. She was one of 22 STARS students, recipients of a scholarship for those who graduated in the top of their high school class. She became outspoken in her support of STARS and community colleges. She presented an award to then-Governor Jim McGreevey, spoke to local newspapers and television stations, and appeared at a press conference for STARS II, which provided a scholarship to a four-year school for STARS I graduates. She testified before the Assembly Higher Education Committee in support of legislation that eased the transfer process for community college students. She was also an officer of the Middlesex chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges.

Even after graduation from MCC, she continued to speak with legislators and the public about the benefits of community colleges.

"My experiences at Middlesex have been nothing but wonderful," Ms. Plichta said as she accepted the award. "I had excellent professors who inspired my creativity and 'outside the box' thinking. I'll never forget creating the 3D cell model comparing how a cell operates to how a high school operates in Professor Donna Marie Gardner's biology class. Also, writing my first children's book Sarah's Magical Snow Day in Professor Shirley Wachtel's children's literature class. My students love listening to the story and are fascinated that I wrote and illustrated the book! Middlesex played a large role in helping me become the strong, confident, and inspirational educator I am today."

At the ceremony, Marilyn Rabinowitz received the award for Outstanding Service to the College for Adjunct Faculty, Dennis Stempinski for Staff and Tom Peterson for Administrators.