Each month, Hudson County Community College (HCCC) President Dr. Chris Reber hosts the “Out of the Box” podcast. Its May edition focused on Phi Theta Kappa and featured two members, Abderahim Salhi and his wife Sarra Hayoune.
The couple emigrated from Algeria and made their home in New Jersey. For several years, Adberahim worked while Sarra stayed home with their son, who is now 4. They shared a dream of pursuing an education.
Sarra enrolled at HCCC in 2016 in ESL classes. She was hired to be a math tutor soon after, and she joined Phi Theta Kappa. She was quiet in the meetings initially, listening to others talk about opportunities they were getting through membership.
“You cannot imagine that you can be that also, you can do whatever they are doing,” she said in the podcast.
As Sarra became more involved in Phi Theta Kappa, she saw those same opportunities opening to her. She served as a chapter officer and began working on chapter projects and traveling to regional and international conventions.
She also earned several prestigious scholarships: the Coca-Cola Academic Team, the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise, and the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer.
Abderahim enrolled at HCCC in 2017 in the work study program. He also joined Phi Theta Kappa and is the outgoing president of the Beta Alpha Phi Chapter.
Abderahim was one of 20 students nationwide named to the All-USA Academic Team. He is New Jersey’s New Century Transfer Pathways Scholar, and he earned both the Hites Transfer Scholarship and the Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education.
Both are doing research this summer, Abderahim at Columbia University and Sarra at Princeton University. Abderahim plans to pursue a Ph.D. in robotics and artificial intelligence, and Sarra is studying astrophysics — she wants to be a college professor and research scientist.
Hear their full stories in the “Out of the Box” podcast.