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Higher Education Student Assistance Authority Board Members


Executive Committee
Anthony Falcone, Chairperson
Public Member, term expires May 24, 2014*

Mr. Falcone is a CPA with a private practice in accounting, tax and financial planning. With more than 25 years of experience in public accounting, he has an extensive background in business operations, financing matters, business and real estate acquisitions, succession planning and tax minimization strategies. He earned a degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, where he serves on the Federal Taxation and State Taxation interest groups. He is an associate financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial, and is licensed in securities and health and life insurance. Mr. Falcone has also served as a member of various charitable organizations and is a past Board Member of the Lincroft Youth Athletic Association.
Christy Van Horn, Vice Chairperson
Public Member, term expires May 24, 2013*

Ms. Van Horn has over 25 years' experience as a mediator, facilitator, manager and policy analyst in private and public sector organizations. As a mediator in private practice, she has worked with a wide variety of public and private organizations. She was a senior manager at New Jersey Transit. She was the founding executive director of New Jersey Future, and was appointed to the State Planning Commission by Governor James Florio. She served as director of Urban Programs at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and director of the Edison, New Jersey, Economic Development Authority. Ms. Van Horn taught in public schools in Oregon and led teachers in collective bargaining, mediation and arbitration. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in public policy from Rutgers University. She also holds a graduate certificate in labor and management relations from Rutgers.
Gabrielle Charette, Esq., Secretary-Treasurer
Executive Director, ex-officio (non-voting)

Gabrielle worked in higher education for almost eight years as Montclair State University's Director of Government Relations. Prior to joining Montclair she worked in the Whitman Administration, serving in the Department of Banking and Insurance and then in the Governor's Office. Gabrielle joined the Christie Administration in 2010 as Chief of Staff at the Department of Health and Senior Services. In May of 2011 Governor Christie appointed her Executive Director of the NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. A New Jersey native, Gabrielle earned a Bachelors degree from Drew University in Madison, NJ and a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers the State University School of Law in Camden. She is admitted to the practice of law in both New Jersey and the District of Columbia.
Maria Ivette Torres
Public Member, term expires May 24, 2012*

Ms. Torres worked as a guidance counselor at Oakcrest High School at Hamilton Township in Atlantic County, from 1980 until her recent retirement. Ms. Torres has a passionate interest in education, and has worked with students in grades 9-12, including special populations such as limited-English students, migrant and special education students. She is certified in New Jersey in both special education and student personnel. Fluent in both Spanish and English, her experience includes teaching elementary school pupils and teaching social studies to high school students in Puerto Rico. She is extensively involved in community activities, including serving as a board member of the Hispanic Alliance of Atlantic County, of which she is chair of the Education Committee. She also serves as a member of the Atlantic County Chapter of the American Conference on Diversity. Ms. Torres has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the Atlantic Cape Community College since 2003, currently holding the office of treasurer.
Dr. Jon Larson Dr. Jon Larson
Representative, County Colleges, term expires May 24, 2015*

Dr. Jon H. Larson has been President of Ocean County College since August 2000. Prior to his present position Dr. Larson served as President of Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania; Vice President for Administration at Frederick Community College in Frederick, Maryland; and a Research Associate at the University of Maryland's National Center for Post-Secondary Governance and Finance. He also served as a Platoon Leader/Company Commander in the United States Army’s 63rd Armored Battalion – 1st Infantry Division. Recently, Dr. Larson served on the Executive Committee of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. Dr. Larson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Government from Norwich University and a Master of Arts degree in Government and Politics and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Maryland. Dr. Larson has been honored with many awards for his dedication to education and his community service. He has also had more than two dozen articles published and has given a number of professional presentations and speeches along the Eastern Seaboard and California.
Board Members
Fr. Michael L. Braden, S.J.
Representative, Independent Colleges & Universities, term expires June 26, 2011*

Father Braden has served as vice president at Saint Peter's College since 2008. Prior to coming to Saint Peter's College, he taught in the mass communications programs at both Loyola University in New Orleans and Loyola University of Maryland, where, in addition to teaching, he oversaw the construction of the University's radio station and television studio, and the development of the media production curriculum. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the Institute of Communication Research at the University of Illinois-Champaign. His research interests focus on the cross-cultural transfer of media technologies, particularly in an Asian context. He has an abiding interest in inter-religious dialogue as a result of his experience in Asia, especially China.
Ester  Calderon
Vice Chair, Student Advisory Committee, ex officio

Ester Calderon has been elected to serve as vice chair of the 2016-2017 Student Advisory Committee. A rising Junior from NJIT, she is a member of the Educational Opportunity Fund Program and an Albert Dorman Honors College student. Majoring in Applied Mathematics, Ms. Calderon plans on earning her certification to be a secondary school teacher. She is currently in the EXTREEMS-QED research program with her Math Department. She also works with the Admissions office as an Ambassador giving tours to prospective students.
George L. Garcia, Esq.
Public Member, term expires July 1, 2015*

George L. Garcia is a partner with Connell Foley LLP. He has a diverse background in municipal land use and redevelopment law, real estate and government relations. In 2010, Mr. Garcia served as a member of Governor Chris Christie's Transition Team, Department of Community Affairs. Mr. Garcia attained his juris doctorate from New York Law School in June 2000, Cum Laude where he served as Articles Editor for the New York Law School Law Review. Mr. Garcia obtained his B.S. in Business Management from St. Peter's College, Jersey City, New Jersey in 1995. Mr. Garcia was also recognized as one of New Jersey's top 40 lawyers under 40 by the New Jersey Law Journal in 2010.
Rochelle Hendricks
Secretary of Higher Education, ex-officio

Rochelle Hendricks was recently appointed New Jersey’s first Secretary of Higher Education. She has more than 20 years of experience working on education issues in the Garden State. Secretary Hendricks previously served as Acting Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Education, having been named to that post in August 2010. Prior to that assignment, Secretary Hendricks served in the Department of Education as Assistant Commissioner for the Division of School Effectiveness and Choice, Director of the Professional Development Office, Manager of the Office of Policy and Planning in the Administration Division, assistant to the Deputy Education Commissioner, and Director of the Office of Vocational-Technical, Career and Innovative Programs. Prior to joining the staff of the Department of Education, she worked for over 15 years at Princeton University in numerous capacities, including assistant dean of students, Director of the Educational Opportunities Program, and Interim Director of the Women’s Program. Secretary Hendricks began her career as a teacher in the Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School District before joining the Department of Education in 1987.
Bader Qarmout Bader Qarmout
Representative, Educational Opportunity Fund, ex officio

Mr. Qarmout currently works in the real estate and food industries. In addition, he enjoys teaching at the County College of Morris and Centenary College. Mr. Qarmout received his Bachelors in Psychology with a minor in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Hilo in 1991 and later received a Master's degree in social work with a Drug Counseling minor from Rutgers University in 1993. He hopes to continue working toward his Doctorate degree. In April of 2014 Governor Chris Christie appointed Mr. Qarmout to the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund Board of Directors which appointed him to serve as the EOF Board's representative on the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority Board.
Jean McDonald Rash
Representative, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, term expires May 24, 2006*

Ms. Rash is presently university director of financial aid at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She began her career as an information technology project manager for Rutgers Computing Services in 1981, before moving into financial aid administration in 1988. Ms. Rash earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University, and a Master of Arts from New York University. She also graduated from the Chubb Institute of Technology.
Ford M. Scudder Ford M. Scudder
State Treasurer, ex officio

Ford M. Scudder was sworn in as Acting State Treasurer on Nov. 9, 2015. For the past decade, he served as the Chief Operating officer for Laffer Associates, a macroeconomic research firm, before joining State government.
Mr. Scudder is a holder of the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation. As a senior analyst at Laffer Investments, a global asset manager, he analyzed and invested in public equities. He also has experience investing in private equity, serving as an observer or proxy on the boards of directors of a number of privately held companies.
Mr. Scudder graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics while also receiving certificates in finance and political economy. He earned his MBA from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Mr. Scudder serves as a member of the national Annual Giving Committee at Princeton University.
Shyam Sharma Shyam Sharma
Chair, Student Advisory Committee, ex officio

Shyam Sharma, Chair, Student Advisory Committee, ex officio
Mr. Sharma was vice chair 2015-2016 Student Advisory Committee, and has been elected to serve as Chair for 2016-2017. He is a senior at Caldwell University majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Global Business and Marketing. He also is President of the Student Government Association and is a member of Caldwell's Scholar's program.

*Holdover/Term Expired. Board members serve until a successor is appointed.
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