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Higher Education Student Assistance Authority Board Members


Executive Committee
Christy Van Horn, 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.
Maria Ivette Torres, Vice Chairperson
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.
David J. Socolow, Secretary-Treasurer
Executive Director, ex-officio (non-voting)

Mr. Socolow was appointed Executive Director of the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority by Governor Philip Murphy in February 2018. Throughout his career in federal and state government and in the private sector, he has worked to advance the success of students and working families. Immediately prior to joining HESAA, Mr. Socolow was the director of the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success at CLASP, a national non-profit policy advocacy organization, where he led initiatives to help low-income individuals attain the credentials they need to secure high-quality jobs by developing comprehensive career pathways and improving access and affordability of postsecondary education and workforce training. He served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development from 2006-2010, and previously served as director of New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Division and as senior advisor to the deputy secretary in the U.S. Department of Labor. He also worked as vice president for corporate affairs at the New Jersey headquarters of Pinnacle Foods, Inc., and chief of staff for former Congressman Robert E. Andrews. Mr. Socolow earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his master’s degree in public administration from Rutgers University.
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
Anthony Falcone
Public Member, term expires May 24, 2018

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.
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.
Stephanie Berdugo-Hernandez Stephanie Berdugo-Hernandez
Chair, Student Advisory Committee, ex officio

Stephanie Berdugo-Hernandez has been elected to serve as chair of the 2017-2018 Student Advisory Committee. Stephanie is majoring in biology at Rowan at Burlington who aspires to become an orthopedic surgeon.
Rbrey Duane Singleton Rbrey Duane  Singleton
Vice Chair, Student Advisory Committee, ex officio

Rbrey Duane Singleton has been elected to serve as vice chair of the 2017-2018 Student Advisory Committee Rbrey is a political science major at Rowan University. He intends to enroll in law school post-graduation.

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