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Centenary University graduate bound for Columbia University

Washington Township resident Katie Zack says Centenary has prepared her for Ivy League graduate program and a career in environmental policy.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) – In March 2020, Centenary University’s Katie Zack was packed and ready to embark on a trip to Guyana as a member of the Peace Corp. The pandemic abruptly ended her dream.

An environmental science major, the Washington Township (Warren County) resident soon regrouped and begin exploring her options with the assistance of Julie LaBar, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental science and director of the Centenary University Center for Sustainability. Now, Zack is bound for Columbia University, where she will pursue a master’s degree in climate and society at the Ivy League university’s new Climate School.

The recipient of an associate degree from Warren County Community College, Zack completed her Centenary studies in December 2019 and was a member of the University’s Class of 2020. She was first drawn to Centenary’s environmental science program for its emphasis on “hard sciences” like organic chemistry and toxicology, as well as policy-based courses such as global sustainability. “Centenary has such a well-rounded program, with faculty who really want you to succeed in life,” said Zack, who took part in Midnight Run, environmental cleanups, and a Soles4Souls service trip to Guatemala while enrolled at Centenary. In addition to Dr. LaBar, she credited Lauren Bergey, Ph.D., professor of biology and dean of special academic programs, and Krassi Lazarova, Ph.D., chair of the Science Department and associate professor of physics, with helping to shape her graduate school and career goals.

A Dean’s List student, Zack is planning a career in environmental policy for a nonprofit or a government agency like the U.S. Department of State or National Park Service. She added, “Environmental science is such a broad field, and Centenary really helps you to figure out what route you want to take. I think that has definitely given me an edge.”

Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., president of Centenary University, earned a master’s degree from Columbia University. He said, “Katie’s acceptance to Columbia speaks to her persistence and resilience, as well as the excellence of Centenary University’s environmental science program. We’re very proud of her accomplishment as she joins a number of Centenary alumni who have gone on to achieve prestigious graduate school placements.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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