About SCC

Student Success Stories - John Stanko


John Stanko had always been interested in government affairs, but it wasn’t until he attended Salem Community College that he decided to make it his career.

“I personally find that the most intriguing aspect of political science is the variety of ways of governing that can be successful,” Stanko said. “The field provides a never-ending opportunity for learning.”

Now, having graduated with honors with his associate degree in History/Political Science in May, the Quinton resident is continuing his education at Texas Tech University for his bachelor’s degree.

“I was originally undecided on my four-year major when I enrolled at Salem Community College,” he said. “However, my courses at SCC, especially the history courses, helped point me in this direction.”

Stanko, 19, said he has many fond memories of his time at SCC, where he played soccer and was an active member in the Alpha Pi Omega chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society, Student Government Association, and Academic Standards and Appeals Committee.  Now, he stays connected to SCC through the Alumni Association.

At Texas Tech, Stanko said he hopes that the large research university will provide him with internship and networking opportunities as well as options for studying abroad.

Stanko said the journey to his career began with the solid foundation built at Salem Community College, specifically through engaging teachers and helpful advisors. He said Director of Athletics Karen Freed (his advisor) and Game Operations Manager Matthew Baumann (his Work Study supervisor) were always helpful. Stanko also praised his political science instructors, coaches, Phi Theta Kappa advisors and many others at the College, for helping him determine the right career path. And he thanked College President Dr. Peter B. Contini for his role in Stanko being awarded the Texas Tech Presidential Transfer Scholarship.

“Salem Community College helped me to hone the skills necessary for success at Texas Tech,” he said. “As a home-schooled student, my communication and leadership abilities were somewhat lacking when I enrolled at SCC. But that was remedied by the time I graduated.”

Stanko said he believes SCC serves its students well in preparing them for the next step after graduation. Thanks to the guidance Stanko received at SCC, he transferred all of his credits to Texas Tech, keeping him right on track for completing his four-year degree on time.

“Salem Community College is a great starting place for your education,” he said. “I had the opportunity to learn in small classes, helping me to become accustomed to college-level coursework without the stress of sitting in an auditorium with 300 other students.

“As an added bonus, I got to know most of my teachers very well, who not only willingly provided letters of recommendation as I went through the transfer process, but also gave me insight into what it takes to be successful in college and beyond.”

As a member of the men’s soccer team, Stanko achieved several academic recognitions including being on the Director of Athletics’ Academic Honor Roll both seasons, receiving the Superior Academic Achievement Award from the National Junior College Athletic Association in 2011 and being named to the Garden State Athletic Conference’s All-Academic team.  As a part of his involvement in Phi Theta Kappa, Stanko served as the 2010-2011 Vice-President of Fellowship and had the distinction of being one of two SCC members on the 2011 PTK All-New Jersey Academic Team.