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Spotlight on the Class of 2018

Daniel Davis

Associate in Arts Degree
Liberal Arts/Psychology
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
Honors Program  

He Left His Comfort Zone and Excelled at PCCC

Posted May 14, 2018 

When Daniel Davis first arrived at PCCC, he walked into what felt like a different world. “I was totally out of my comfort zone,” he said. 

A lifelong Passaic resident and the youngest of five siblings, Daniel had spent most of his life in tight-knit Jewish communities which included his high school in New York City, the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy-Yeshiva University High School for Boys, known as MTA-YUHSB.

“Coming to PCCC was refreshing and scary.  And it’s the best decision I ever made,” said Daniel.
“The classes are great, and I’ve met so many different people. It’s a very diverse environment.”

PCCC has been an academic stimulus for the former underachiever who, this month, will graduate with honors in the Class of 2018, receiving an Associate in Arts Degree in Liberal Arts/Psychology. He is also a member of both the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society and the Honors Program.

“My parents are really happy about that,” said Daniel. “I was a mediocre student in high school, but “I had a brain change and matured,” he said. “I was motivated by PCCC and enjoyed the energy of being around other students who were ambitious and working hard.”

Daniel’s journey to PCCC was indirect. Due to his undistinguished high school performance, Daniel was not accepted by Yeshiva University, the college that is affiliated with his high school. He decided, instead, to postpone college.

“I took a gap year,” he said.  “I went to Israel and attended a study program at a school called Aish-Gesher in Jerusalem.”  Daniel explained that the purpose of the program is to deepen Jewish students’ understanding of their faith and culture. “You learn more about how to be Jewish,” he said.  “People come from all over the world to study there.”

While at Aish-Gesher, Daniel had a different kind of education, living for ten months in the historic and sacred section of Jerusalem known as the Old City. “That was really awesome,” he said.  “It was incredible to be in that part of the world and visit places like Masada and the Temple Mount,” said Daniel, referring to two of Israel’s most significant ancient historical and religious sites. 

When he returned home from Israel, Daniel knew it was “time for me to decide what my next step would be.” He and his parents explored the options and decided that PCCC seemed like a good place to get started on a college education.

Daniel started his PCCC studies in developmental level classes in order to improve the level of his skills. “I was pleasantly surprised by the teaching and classes here,” he said. “I really got better at writing papers, thanks to Professor (Diana) Blauvelt.  She was amazing.”

Gradually, his academic performance improved so much that Daniel was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa.
“It was a great surprise,” he said.

As a member of PTK, Daniel was excited by the experience of studying and socializing with other high achieving students. “I was in a niche with people who were excited about their work. We discussed math, nutrition, science…just so many things. It was a great atmosphere.”

He was also encouraged to enter the Honors Program which provides academically talented students with more challenging and enriching experiences. Enthusiastic about the recently redesigned Program, Daniel had the opportunity to compare his class experience in Western Civilization I with that of Western Civ II, which was offered in the new format featuring smaller, seminar-style classes.

“I had Professor (Martha) Brozyna for both,” said Daniel. “She’s exceptional, but I really enjoyed the second course better.  There were only 10 of us in class, and we had more discussions, shared different perspectives in depth, and grew much closer. It was great to be with people who were so interesting and serious about their studies.”

The psychology major is particularly attracted to the work of Carl Jung. “His concept of the collective unconscious fascinates me,” said Daniel, who plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Rutgers, New Brunswick.

His career plans are still wide open. “It’s still early in the game,” Daniel explained. “Being a psychologist sounds really great, but I’d like to wait before I make any career decisions. There’s so much more I’d like to explore.”