44th Annual Commencement

Spotlight on Our

Mohamed Abdelghany

A.S. Degree in Liberal Arts/Biology

Awards and Honors

  • Graduates with Highest Honors
  • Graduating Speaker at the 44th Commencement Ceremony
  • Phi Theta Kappa (PTK)
  • Honors Program
  • Coca-Cola All-USA Academic Team Silver Scholar Award
  • 2015-2016 All-NJ Academic Team
  • Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges
  • Rutgers University, Full Scholarship

A Broken Leg Changed His Life Direction

Mohamed Abdelghany expected to attend college on a sports scholarship. But then the athlete, who played football and swam, broke his leg just before his senior year at Clifton High School. That break turned out to be a lucky one that changed his life direction.

I was not a serious student in high school,” admits Mohamed. “My grades were good, because the work came easily to me, but I didn’t study hard and wasn’t interested.”
When the injury ended his chances for an athletic scholarship, Mohamed did a reality check. He had applied to several colleges, including Rutgers, but received no other scholarships or financial aid.
“I didn’t want to have college debt,” he explained.  “I realized I would have to get serious about my studies and try to win an academic scholarship.” 
On May 19, Mohamed graduates in PCCC’s 44th Commencement, earning an Associate in Science degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Biology. In September, he will continue on to Rutgers University, Newark where he had applied again and, this time, received a scholarship for full tuition, living expenses in a campus apartment, and spending money. “My time at PCCC made the difference,” he said.
The 19-year-old started college at PCCC because of the affordable tuition and “to focus on myself and what I wanted to do.”  He did not expect much academic challenge from a community college, but was in for a surprise.   “PCCC was really challenging,” he said. “I thought I would easily get a 4.0 (GPA), but I only got a 3.9, and I worked hard.”   
His favorite class was organic chemistry with Professor Fred Safarowic. “He was tough, but funny,” said Mohamed. “The class was never boring.”  He also gives math professor Palma Banko also a shout-out. “She’s friendly, stays after class if you need to see her, and always replies to e-mails.”

Mohamed valued the  “small classes and direct access to faculty and counselors” at PCCC. He served as a biology tutor and participated in a STEM Wildlife Conservation research project at the Bronx Zoo as well as in the Bridges to Baccalaureate (B2B) program to encourage achievement in STEM fields for minority students.
A member of the Honors Program and the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society, Mohamed received the Coca-Cola All-USA Academic Team Silver Scholar Award and was selected for the PTK All-NJ Academic Team.  He achieved  Dean’s List every semester and is listed in the  2016 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
Mohamed plans to decide by the end of his junior year at Rutgers whether he will attend medical school to pursue sports medicine or earn master’s degrees in both Public Administration and Business Administration in order to seek public office and later pursue a government policy position.
“I was absolutely fascinated by watching the doctors who worked on my broken leg,” he said. “The detail of their work was amazing.” Equally enthusiastic about public service, Mohamed contemplates running for mayor of Clifton or Passaic. “I live on the border of those communities,” explained the Passaic resident who spends most of his time in Clifton. “It’s a very diverse community, but there is not enough representation for minorities, especially the large Arab and Hispanic populations.” 

He favors increasing the school budget and establishing a center like the One-Stop at PCCC “to reach out to the unemployed population.” The passionate young leader is concerned about the lack of attendance at public meetings and about citizens who do not vote. “We need to get people excited about participating,” says Mohamed. “When people are silent, the local officials assume everything is going well, and that’s not true.” 
Mohamed says that after a couple of terms in a mayoral role, he would be interested in working as a public policy executive, possibly in the governor’s office.
He has gained a foundation for administrative leadership through his job as executive assistant to the president and CEO of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, which Mohamed describes as “the most active mosque in New Jersey.”  He also runs youth programs at the mosque. 
This summer may find Mohamed in Trenton, serving an internship with Democratic state assemblyman Benjie E. Wemberley. “I would get to accompany the public officials during their business activities,” he said.
Mohamed won’t be running with a college football this Fall, but this PCCC grad is clearly scoring goals in other impressive fields.