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    Kristofer D. Fontanez

    Class of: 2016
    Degree Program: Associate of Science – Computer Science

    What factors led you to decide to attend Hudson County Community College?
    There were a few factors that led me to decide to attend HCCC. The Journal Square Campus location was very convenient since it is only one bus ride away from me. I was also offered the NJSTARS Scholarship for graduating at the top 15% from William L. Dickinson High School. Along with the help of financial aid, I am proud to say that I was able to achieve a free ride for my entire journey at HCCC and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

    What is your favorite memory of the College, in or out of the classroom?
    My favorite memory of the college was working for the LEAP department as a work-study student. This was my very first real job experience where I worked for them as a secretary role. A simple goal of being able to use a computer for work-related assignments made me feel like I was taking steps in the right direction in gaining experience with my passion for computers. The HCCC atmosphere also adds to the memory because everyone treats each other like close friends and family. I really feel at home here with such a diverse and vibrant community.

    How did you become interested in Computer Science?
    When I first witnessed the old bulky desktop computers as a child for the first time, I was always fascinated at how a keyboard and mouse can control what to create or display on a monitor. Having a simple hands-on experience with that out of curiosity expanded my vision in the world of computers and technology. As I grew older and interacted more with computers, I realized that I could make this as a profession and grew interested in Web Development.

    How did your time at HCCC prepare you for your career/ life now?
    My time at HCCC prepared me for my next step journey, which was to pursue a bachelor’s degree of Computer Science at New Jersey City University. Thanks to HCCC’s Instant Decision Day events, NJCU accepted me and offered me a Presidential Scholarship due to my high GPA. Due to this, I was able to achieve yet another free ride in my next college education chapter. Long story short, I overachieved my expectations and graduated Summa Cum Laude from NJCU. Now I am very happy and proud to say that I have returned to HCCC and achieved my dream of working as a Web Developer for the college. Who knew this spotlight entry would be added in by yours truly?

    What is a typical work day for you?
    A typical work day for me is first going over the plans and assignments for the day with my supervisor, Omar Williams. We use a ticket system to keep track of all incoming requests on what needs to be changed or updated on the website or on the portal. I reach out to whoever submits the ticket if I need more information and use code such as HTML and CSS, software such as Photoshop among others, to make the necessary updates and close the ticket.

    What has been the most memorable project/case you have worked on?
    The most memorable case was when my supervisor had to go on vacation for two weeks since his wife was having a baby. I had to work by myself when it came to making updates on the HCCC website regardless of still being new to the job. I felt that this was a challenging moment where I could prove him and myself that I can handle the work in a professional matter. After those two weeks, he was very content that I can be relied on and I was very proud of myself.

    Who are your biggest inspirations that have impacted your work in some way?
    My biggest inspirations are my parents and my faith in God. I feel like if it wasn’t for my belief and the encouragement and love from my parents to pursue what I wanted to do, I may have never been able to reach where I am today. I am truly thankful for all the support and blessings I received.

    What advice would you give to recent HCCC graduates?
    Congratulations! You have just completed a major chapter in your story! But as your own author, the rest is still unwritten. Begin the next chapter of your life with your head held high and achieve your next goal. Your degree is something you can now forever treasure, and no one can ever take it away from you.

    What advice do you have for those students who are just starting their college careers?
    For those starting their college careers, aim high and achieve high! For those starting their college journeys, don’t overthink and be intimidated if you are looking at the big picture of your college journey and beyond. Take it one step at a time. Strive to always do your best and do well in your classes because it will be beneficial to you. Always grab the opportunity of free tuition whenever possible. The support and resources are there, but only you can take the initiative and achieve your goals.