When Anthony Scandariato of Randolph and Alex Tschopp of Budd Lake first met at County College of Morris (CCM), they found they had a lot in common. Neither had done well in high school, both had a passion for music and both were determined to turn their lives around and excel as college students. Not only did they meet that goal, this summer they will be enrolling as fellow business students at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
The idea to apply to the competitive Ivy League school developed shortly after the two met as members of CCM’s Student Government Association (SGA).
“I remember we were texting and Alex asked me what schools I was thinking of trying for,” recalls Scandariato. “He said, ‘Let’s try to get into Cornell together.’”
From there, the two developed a well-thought-out strategy for gaining admission to the university. They travelled to Cornell and met with an advisor who told them what courses they should be taking at CCM and what sort of extracurricular activities to pursue.
Following that advice, they continued serving as campus leaders – Scandariato as president of the SGA and Tschopp as treasurer – and also formed a new student organization at CCM, the Young Entrepreneurs of America (YEA).
“We wanted to develop a club that would provide students with a fundamental understanding of what is involved in running a successful business,” explains Scandariato. The club focuses on three key areas: brainstorming and critiquing business ideas, public speaking and networking.
Along with helping others, the group was instrumental in assisting Scandariato and Tschopp with developing their idea for a joint business venture, Collegiate Sun (www.facebook.com/collegiatesun), a source for sunglasses imprinted with college logos. The two explain that club members both helped them to refine their business plan and identity potential investors.
Tschopp explains that he came up with the idea for the business while taking part in a summer certificate program at Cornell last year. “I had forgotten my sunglasses so I went to the bookstore thinking they would have sunglasses with the Cornell logo on them.” Doing some additional research, the two could not find a single collegiate bookstore that sold sunglasses with a college logo imprint.
Their motivation and success does not come as a surprise to the professors who have taught them at CCM.
Tschopp “has developed solid strategies and practical tactics to succeed academically, socially and entrepreneurially,” notes economics Professor Steve Kaifa.
Along with their shared commitment to “Think Big” – as Scandariato and Tschopp both like to say – the two students credit CCM with providing them with what they needed to succeed.
“There is no way I would be where I am today had I not come to CCM,” says Tschopp. “I have learned and grown intellectually from every single professor I have had here.”
“The opportunities CCM has given me after I did such a lousy job in high school allowed me to turn my life around,” adds Scandariato. “The way CCM sets you up for success is remarkable.”
Photo: Alex Tschopp (l) and Anthony Scandariato will be completing their studies at County College of Morris this May and enrolling at Cornell University as fellow business students this summer to earn their bachelor’s degrees.
Photo Credit: John Hester