“Jade is a caring and passionate scholar as well as a valuable member of PTK,” Bergen PTK faculty advisers Kelly Keane, Ph.D., and Lisa Mayer, Esq., said in a cosigned statement. “She serves as a director of service on the PTK board and was an integral contributor on the award-winning Honors in Actions project. We are so proud that she won this prestigious scholarship.”
Tollis plans to attend Rutgers University to study ecology, evolution and natural resource management to work in the field of wildlife conservation after she graduates with her associates degree in August. She aspires to be a researcher, educator, science communicator, community organizer, and policy writer.
“I want to dedicate my life to advocating for the wildlife in New Jersey and to help my neighbors become better connected to the natural world,” she said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tollis remained an active part of Bergen’s student life, serving as director of service for PTK and the president and founder of the Bergen Outdoors Club, the College’s club dedicated to promoting education, stewardship and equity of nature. Tollis also created a range of virtual student life programs covering topics such as bird watching, gardening for pollinators and winter hiking. Additionally, she volunteers as an educational docent at the Turtle Back Zoo, a citizen scientist with Save Coastal Wildlife, a hatchery intern with the Terrapin Nesting Project, and a trail maintainer with the New York New Jersey Trail Conference.
“I am incredibly humbled to be recognized for this honor,” Tollis said. “I count joining the Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa as one of the best decisions I have ever made. Being a part of such an inspirational group of student scholars and leaders continually pushes me to work harder and reach higher.
Hites Scholars are selected based on outstanding academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community activities. The Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation was established by Robert Hites, an executive with Ralston-Purina in St. Louis, Missouri. The Hites Scholarship Program is made possible by the Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation and the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. To learn more about PTK, visit https://ptk.org/
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.