Bradley Ferguson, a graduate of Mainland Regional High School, is the 2019 recipient of the NJREA’s Isabelle Hickman four-year scholarship. Bradley, who lives in Northfield, will attend Harvard University.
A self-proclaimed “total science geek,” Bradley had taken every AP math and science course offered by his school by the time he graduated. His plan is to be a scientist and contribute to science’s understanding of the human brain, neurology and mental health. Bradley’s father, an Atlantic City police officer, was severely injured in a car crash, which left him with chronic pain. This accident inspired Bradley to become interested in new research and treatments that might alleviate this pain.
While in high school, Bradley founded “Post Crashers,” a club with the mission to serve local veterans and other community members experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. Using $176,000 in grant money, the club renovated the local American Legion Post and turned it into a community center, building gardens where they raised more than 5,000 pounds of produce to donate to people in need.
In addition to his passion for science, Bradley was involved in several extracurricular activities including rowing, Mustangs Against Hunger—of which he was the founder—and Dr. Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots National Youth Leadership Council.
The 2019 Elizabeth Allen four year scholarship winner, Simon Levien, a graduate of Sparta High School, plans to become a science writer/journalist when he attends college. Simon’s mother encouraged him to find reason in science journalism. It was from these journals that he learned to counter misinformation and appreciate scientific writing.
He has contributed letters and articles to the New York Times, New Jersey Herald, New York Daily News, the Boston Globe, and TeenInk. Simon was awarded honors and scholarships by the National Council of Teachers of English, the American Council of Teachers of Russian, the Horatio Alger Association, the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Program, the New Jersey Russian Olympiad and numerous others. In addition to his scholarly endeavors, Simon was a proud member of the marching band.
Simon advocated the inclusion of CRISPR—a new, revolutionary genetic engineering technology—in the curricula at Sparta High School. In the 2017 summer, Simon was a CRISPR biological engineering intern at Hofstra University.
Toni Castellani, the recipient of the two-year Fred Aug scholarship, plans to attend Raritan Valley Community College to attain an associate degree in marketing. She graduated from North Hunterdon High School. She plans to transfer to a four-year college when she completes her studies at Raritan Valley. Toni is an excellent photographer who will put her artistic skills to good use in her marketing work.
When not in school, Toni visits retirement homes with her two therapy goats. She plans to train her recently adopted dog as a therapy animal that will visit hospitals, schools and retirement homes. Toni is planning to obtain certification as an equine specialist in mental health and learning. Employing this certificate alongside a therapist or counselor, she intends to use horses to help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Throughout her high school years, Toni has been a volunteer with A Bit of Love, which brings therapy animals to anyone with a disability who needs a boost. She has volunteered as a groom and a stable hand for different organizations and has been an intern for several years with Paws and Rewind, LLC.