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RCBC student is among the top community college scholars in the country

Photo of D'Jana Wyllis

Shortly before the start of the fall 2017 semester, D’Jana Wyllis arrived in New Jersey from her home in the Commonwealth of Dominica, an island of lush mountainous rainforests with many rare plants, animal and bird species. That transition became very difficult a few weeks later when a hurricane devastated the island back home and Wyllis couldn’t communicate with her family. It would be several days before she received a text from her mother.

The conditions were not ideal to start an educational journey so far from home with Rowan College at Burlington County, but Wyllis was able to get through that difficult time and grow more comfortable in her academic work and the college community where she serves as a club officer of both the Math Club and Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

She also participates in RCBC’s Undergraduate Research program, working with a small team of students that is performing chemical analysis of over-the-counter cannabidiol (CBD) products to determine whether they provide health benefits, and if so, how potent.

In January, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation selected Wyllis as a semifinalist for its prestigious Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. She is one of less than 600 students to reach this level out of nearly 1,500 applicants from 369 schools in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

While embarking on the next phase of a competitive award process that provides recipients with a $40,000 per year scholarship, the soft-spoken Wyllis exudes a quiet confidence and appreciation that all of her hard work at RCBC is paying off.

“I was just trying to do what I have to do to get an education,” Wyllis said. “There have been so many opportunities that have come along and I am so happy that hard work pays off.”

Wyllis is on track to graduate in May with degrees in Chemical Engineering and Physics and has achieved straight A’s during her time at the college. After graduation, she plans to transfer to a four-year college to study Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals.

D’Jana’s story is part of RCBC’s 50 stories for 50 years. In honor of the college’s 50th anniversary, RCBC is profiling students, faculty, administrators, alumni and the college community. Anyone interested in being featured can contact rcbcnews@rcbc.edu. To follow along on social media, use #RCBC50Stories.