Steven Michael Galarza Named Valedictorian of Hudson County Community College Class of 2016

Posted: 5/18/2016
Jennifer Christopher 201-360-4061 jchristopher@hccc.edu or Roger Jones 201-200-1080 rj@j-a-c.com

May 18, 2016, Jersey City, NJ – This Thursday evening, May 19th, Steven Michael Galaraza will take the stage at the New Jersey Performing Art Center in Newark as the Valedictorian of the Hudson County Community College Class of 2016.

Mr. Galarza, a computer science major, will attend Rutgers University - New Brunswick this fall on a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship. He chose to study at Hudson County Community College (HCCC) after graduating from Union City High School two years ago because HCCC is affordable and close to where he lives in Union City.

During his time at HCCC Mr. Galarza, was president of the College’s Computer Science Club, a member of the Engineering Club, and a member of Beta Alpha Phi, the College’s chapter of the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. In addition, he tutored students in math and science at the College’s award-winning Abegail Douglas-Johnson Academic Support Services Center.

Not surprisingly Mr. Galarza, who has wanted to make video games that “would change the world” since he was a child, says his favorite memories of HCCC include being president of the Computer Science Club and “hanging out” in the College’s computer labs.

Last year, Mr. Galarza was part of a team of HCCC students who attended “HackRU” at Rutgers University - New Brunswick. The two-day programming challenge event brought together undergraduate students from all over the world. The HCCC team created a prototype app named RUMe that matches roommates for the dorms. The team’s final app received attention from Addteq, a company that specializes in software release management. One of Addteq’s clients is the city of New Brunswick whose objective during the event was to find students who could help further the development of New Brunswick through technology. Impressed with the potential use of the students’ application in analytics, Addteq extended an offer to the HCCC students to help further develop RUMe for the city during the summer. The offer included up to $30,000 in mentoring for the summer and the opportunity to meet the mayor of New Brunswick and discuss technology with regards to the state of the city.  

Mr. Galarza says there are many who have inspired and impacted his educational journey at HCCC, especially Professors Khan and Siddiqui who challenged students to think differently. He advises future HCCC students to take full advantage of all the College has to offer, to know what’s going on and to be conscious of the many opportunities that are available.

The Hudson County Community College 39th Commencement Ceremonies will be held at 6 p.m. At 1,150 strong, the HCCC Class of 2016 is the largest graduating class in the College’s history.

The keynote speaker for the ceremonies will be Dr. Nancy Cantor, the Chancellor of Rutgers University - Newark. The 2016 Hudson County Community College Heritage Award will be presented to Dr. Howard Parish, a Hudson County native who taught physics and geology at New Jersey City University for more than 35 years, and who has served on the boards of several Hudson County organizations. Reverend Victor P. Kennedy will lead the invocation that evening. Fr. Kennedy is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Secaucus, and has served at several parishes throughout Hudson County.