3+1 Biology student to serve fourth term on HESAA Student Advisory Committee
Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020

Kashai Phillips, Bobbie Beitz & Stephanie Berdugo-Hernandez

(Caption: From left: Kashai Phillips, Bobbie Beitz & Stephanie Berdugo-Hernandez)

One could argue that fair and practical financial aid policies are more important now than ever. Even more critical is the ability for students to have their voices heard in the decision-making process. Rowan College at Burlington County student Stephanie Berdugo-Hernandez was named Student Advisory Committee Chair during her first year on the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA). 

As she prepares to begin her fourth term on the committee in 2021, Berdugo-Hernandez is well-versed in the financial aid opportunities available to those in need. In fact, being elected as the Chair has given her a voting stake on the HESAA Board. 

“I am honored to be a part of the HESAA Student Advisory Committee because it has taught me the financial aid process and the numerous opportunities that are available to students who are in need of financial help. It has also allowed me to use my voice to advocate for students and bring awareness to students of the financial aid programs that HESAA has to offer,” Stephanie shared. 

Beyond her work with HESAA, Berdugo-Hernandez also traveled to the state capitol in Trenton to speak about the benefits of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program at EOF Day. Being an RCBC EOF scholar, this cause hit close to home for her. 

“This was an incredible opportunity, and I was able to speak to legislators about the importance and impact the EOF program has had on low-income students. It allowed us to network with other EOF students and most importantly have our voices heard in continuing the fight to support EOF programs,” Berdugo-Hernandez said. “The EOF program has helped and motivated me into becoming the student that I am today and allowed me to be a part of many great opportunities.”

When she’s not busy advocating for sensible financial aid legislation, Berdugo-Hernandez partners with her sisters making and donating facemasks to healthcare workers and patients. 

“It has been a very rewarding experience because, during times like this, where healthcare workers and nursing home patients are in desperate need of PPE masks, we were able to give them some kind of protection against COVID-19 and keep them somewhat safe,” Stephanie said.

A 3+1 Biology student, Berdugo-Hernandez hopes to attend medical school after earning her bachelor’s degree and aspires to become an orthopedic surgeon. She chose RCBC due to the affordability and competitive programs offered. 

“Attending RCBC has allowed me to be a part of the EOF program which has helped me with affordable education in order to continue my education and achieve my degrees,” she shared.  

Berdugo-Hernandez has certainly left an impression on RCBC, as she served as the first EOF Club President and the 3+1 liaison on the Student Government Association.