Graduate Trustee: Brookdale Wasn’t The Plan


Phillip Cozzi, Editor

Rebekah Fischoff, a 20-year-old political science major from Spring Lake Heights who graduated this month, didn’t initially plan on attending Brookdale. “During my senior year of high school, and after careful consideration, I sent out applications to my dream schools. These were William and Mary, the
Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland which was my mother’s alma mater, and several others including Monmouth University,” Fischoff said.

“Unfortunately, my father was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, forcing my college plans to be shelved. Qualifying for the NJ Stars Program and unwilling to shoulder the load of a huge debt, I chose to attend Brookdale with the hope that our family’s resources would improve along with my father’s health. That choice was a blessing in disguise.”

On April 29, Fischoff was elected to the position of Brookdale’s graduate trustee, but this hasn’t been her first foray into the political world. “As a political science major, it was natural for me to apply for an internship with Senator Vin Gopal. Working with the senator, I became interested in the legislative and administrative processes of government,” said Fischoff. “As the Vice President of Scholarship for Brookdale’s Alpha Pi Theta chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society, and my prior connection with Senator Gopal, the current chair of NJ’s State Senate Education Committee, I took a prominent role in the peer mentoring program’s development.”

Fischoff has come to love the Brookdale experience, and although not her first choice for higher education, the College means a lot to her. “My favorite things about Brookdale have been the advisers, professors, and our warm and welcoming college President Dr. Stout. The myriad opportunities available for incoming students are fantastic, having anything from automotive tech all the way to zoology,” said Fischoff.

“Brookdale is rated the No. 1 community college in the state for a good reason, as it offers an extremely wide selection of associate’s programs and a varied selection of non-credit courses. There are options for everyone.”

Fischoff is dedicated to the mission of representing student voices as the graduate trustee for  the 2023-24 school year, which means she will be a full voting member of the college’s Board of Trustees.  “I want to ensure the students’ voices are heard. Each of the trustees come with their own experiences and perspectives.

Although their perspective may or may not be the same as current students, I want to ensure the students’ voices are heard and considered,” said Fischoff. “In addition, I want to help with the implementation of the Peer Mentoring program and monitor its progress and future expansion.”
Fischoff will be transferring to Rutgers and will keep her political science major upon transfer.
When asked, Fischoff said her father likes to keep a low profile, but his overall health and condition is improving as of the writing of this article. Brookdale students can catch a glimpse of their graduate trustee at work by attending the Board of Trustees’ meetings, which are held at 5:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month.