University of Bridgeport to Celebrate Accomplished Young Alumni with Inaugural Rising Star Awards

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University will honor recipients and recognize 2017-18 Alumni Association Scholarship winner

“With so many accomplished alumni, we are thrilled to introduce the Rising Star Awards so we can appropriately acknowledge our younger alumni who are doing big things in the real world,” - Aimee Marcella, Executive Director for Alumni & Family Engagement

The University of Bridgeport (UB) has announced five alumni as its inaugural class of Rising Stars. The UB Rising Star Awards recognize the best and brightest of the school’s alumni under the age of 40. The 2017 Rising Stars are acknowledged for their professional success, leadership, and societal impact.

This is the first year that UB is giving out these awards, though the school regularly recognizes Distinguished Alumni—this year at the UB Awards Dinner on October 7 during Homecoming weekend.

“With so many accomplished alumni, we are thrilled to introduce the Rising Star Awards so we can appropriately acknowledge our younger alumni who are doing big things in the real world,” said Aimee Marcella, Executive Director for Alumni & Family Engagement. “We look forward to recognizing other Rising Stars in years to come, as well as celebrating notable alumni and former student athletes during Homecoming.”

The 2017 Rising Stars include:

  • Tijana Bokic ’06, ’08: Tijana graduated in 2006 with a B.S. in International Business, and in 2008 with an MA in Global Development and Peace. A Serbia native, Tijana is currently First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the United Nations (UN) in New York. Among her many accomplishments, she has represented her country as a special envoy of the foreign ministry in support of the newly founded peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA).
  • Anika Joseph ’13: Anika graduated in 2013 with a B.S. in General Studies. Originally from the island of Saint Lucia, Anika is the founder and CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of Women’s Empire, a company focused on combating women’s issues by collaborating and facilitating programs to promote health and wellness, educational advancement, economic empowerment, the end of violence against women, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. She also recently received the “30 Under 30 Caribbean American Emerging Leaders” award.
  • Tochukwu Mbiamnozie ’16: Tochukwu earned his MBA in Business Administration from the Ernest C. Trefz School of Business in 2016. The 2015 recipient of the Academic Achievement Award at UB, Tochukwu is the founder and CEO of Tucci Polo Inc., a lifestyle luxury footwear and accessory brand created for those seeking fashion innovation and impeccable Italian craftsmanship. He is also a member of the U.S Chamber of Commerce and Greater New York Chamber of Commerce.
  • Adam Perez ’10: Adam graduated in 2010 with a B.SC. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, and he went on to obtain his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology at Penn State University. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Louisville and is starting a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship in Amsterdam in early 2018.
  • Constance Vickers ’11: Constance graduated in 2011 with a B.S. in Psychology. A former Student Government President and 2012 student commencement speaker, Constance went on to become the Director of Grants at the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford. On top of being an expert fundraiser, she is an avid community leader involved with many grassroots organizations, including the Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats, Bridgeport Generation Now, and Thrive Young Professionals.

In addition to the impressive group of Rising Stars, current student and Criminal Justice major Ashlica Malcolm ’18 has been chosen by the UB Alumni Board Scholarship Committee to receive the annual Alumni Association Scholarship.

The $10,000 scholarship is presented to one student each year who displays character, academic accomplishments, campus and community involvement, and contributions to the university. Malcom was selected among a competitive pool of sixty-eight undergrads who applied for this year’s award.

“Ashlica embodies everything we look for in a model student,” said Ramon Peralta ’93, Alumni Board President. “Her success expands far beyond the classroom. Not only does she maintain an impressive GPA, but her extracurricular and community-based activities, her UB pride, and her desire to help others also make her incredibly deserving of this coveted award.”

Malcolm and the 2017 Rising Stars will all be honored at an evening reception at the Schelfhaudt Gallery in UB’s Arnold Bernhard Center on September 7.

About University of Bridgeport
The University of Bridgeport offers career-oriented undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees and award-winning academic programs in a culturally diverse learning environment that prepares graduates for leadership in an increasingly interconnected world. There are 400 full- and part-time faculty members, including Fulbright Scholars, National Science Foundation Fellows, Ford Fellows, and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellows, American Council for Learned Societies Scholars, and Phi Beta Kappa Scholars. The University is independent and non-sectarian. For more information, please visit

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Aimee Marcella
University of Bridgeport
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