Passaic County Grad Gives Back While Attending Columbia University

February 26th, 2020

During Career and Technical Education Month in February, the New Jersey Council on County Vocational Technical Schools is highlighting successful graduates of the county’s 21 vocational technical schools.

Alysha Acosta of Paterson is a 2018 graduate of the Academy of Health and Medical Sciences at Passaic County Technical Institute. She is currently a Questbridge Scholar at Columbia University.

“The CTE experience that I received at PCTI, as a student in the Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, has helped me solidify my interest in the medical field. I was introduced to multiple professions, and exposed to so many great opportunities and experiences. I became enthralled in these amazing experiences and was so passionate about what I was doing and the people I got to meet.

“One experience, in particular, was the Passion Project, where we could dedicate each Friday to our interests. Having a brother with PTSD after serving in Afghanistan, I decided to do a book drive for military personnel overseas. This experience and the many opportunities given to me because of PCTI and CTE have made me realize my dream.

“The education I received, encouraged me to apply to top tier universities, where I could study as a pre-med student. I was accepted to Columbia University on the Questbridge National College Match Scholarship. As a student at Columbia, I continue to uphold the values that my education at PCTI has instilled in me.

“I currently teach health as an educator to students in low-income schools. I serve as a resource, essentially teaching workshops and sex education, mental health, etc. I also worked for Soaringwords, a non-profit organization dedicated to using positive psychology to improve the healing process of ill, hospitalized children. Currently, I work for both the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Developing Language and Literacy Research Lab, which are both extremely amazing opportunities! I’ve love using my experience as a CNA and EMT which I received from PCTI to help enhance my experiences at my jobs and use this passion to keep learning.

“As I continue my studies with the hope to ultimately obtain my medical degree, I hope to continually use the valuable skills I learned from having a career and technical education in high school. I thank PCTI for giving me so much and challenging me to do my absolute best and use my passions to do something I love!”

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