Hudson County Community College (HCCC) students often overcome great odds in pursuing a higher education. Abderahim Salhi is an example of HCCC students’ commitment and accomplishments. Over the course of the next few weeks, Salhi will be recognized on national stages as he is awarded three major Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society scholarships totaling $14,750.
Salhi received two Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society scholarships for academic excellence at the PTK Annual Centennial Celebration in Orlando, Florida last week. He is one of just 20 students to be named to the All-USA Academic Team, for which he will be awarded a $5,000 scholarship. Members of the All-USA Academic Team are chosen for their outstanding intellectual achievement, leadership, and community and campus engagement.
Salhi has also been named a 2019 New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar and will receive an additional $2,250 scholarship. Only one New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar is selected from each state.
Salhi will also receive the PTK Hites Transfer Scholarship, the Society’s largest and most prestigious scholarship with a $7,500 award, at the American Association of Community College’s convention April 14-15. While more than 2,800 applications were submitted for that award, only 10 students were selected as recipients.
Last summer, Salhi was chosen from a pool of 800 students nationally to receive the $5,000 PTK 2018 Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education. The honor is bestowed on just ten students in the United States.
Growing up in eastern Algeria, Salhi saw teenagers drop out of school and join gangs. Although he was dedicated to working in his family’s business, he realized that what was especially important in life was one’s ability to acquire and utilize knowledge. Armed with a desire to pursue a higher education, he emigrated from Algeria to the United States and enrolled at Hudson County Community College.
“It took me almost 16 years until I came to the United States to see my dream come true. Being a new immigrant in the U.S. was not easy, especially with a wife and son,” Salhi said, noting that the couple’s baby and his wife’s encouragement motivate him to be a role model. The support has been reciprocal as Salhi’s wife, Sarra Hayoune, is also one of just 50 students in the United States to be named a PTK Silver Scholar and a member of the 2019 All-USA Academic Team.
While at HCCC, Salhi’s passion for technology and learning took hold and he credits his membership in PTK and his advisors and professors for assisting him in establishing professional goals and achieving academic success. He worked as a lab assistant in the HCCC Division of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as part of the college’s work-study program.
In addition to being named to the Dean’s List, he was named an America Needs You Fellow last year, and was also awarded a Research & Development Council of New Jersey Merit Scholarship and a Garden State S-STEM Scholarship. Salhi served as the president of the HCCC Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the college’s Sigma Kappa Alpha English Honors Society. As a PTK member, he was involved in several programs and events to benefit the community. He was also the vice president of the HCCC STEM Club and Model United Nations Club.
After attaining his degree in Computer Science at HCCC in May, Salhi will participate as an intern in a summer research project with the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. That program is funded by the National Science Foundation. He plans to continue his education and pursue a bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in Computer Science at Columbia University, Princeton University or Yale University.
“We are extremely proud of Abderahim and all he has accomplished,” said HCCC President Dr. Chris Reber. “Not only is he an exceptional student, but he is also a dedicated and commendable member of the community whose contributions have improved and enriched many lives here in Hudson County and beyond.”