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Spotlight on Pillar College’s 2019 Class Valedictorian

Michael Salardino
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Counseling
LEAD Program at the Somerset Campus 
What I loved about my experience at Pillar college…
As a Psychology and Counseling student in the LEAD program, I have especially enjoyed the classroom dynamics. These included round-table discussions, peer interactions which presented the opportunity for “iron to sharpen iron,” and the incorporation of Christian principles and faith throughout every course. The practical relevance of Christianity within the field of Psychology has been an encouragement to dynamically live out my faith daily.
How has Pillar prepared you for your future career?
The rigorous education I received at Pillar has prepared me for both the Christian and secular workplace, as well as the ability to undertake further academic endeavors. I am confident that Pillar’s comprehensive program has readily prepared me for my current and future careers in the field of Psychology and Counseling.
What advice would you give to an incoming student?
Students who are entering Pillar College, especially the accelerated LEAD program should be prepared to make sacrifices so that their education is a priority; discipline themselves to put in the necessary time and effort; and work hard to achieve their goals. Ultimately, each one should “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
What professors had to say about having Michael as a student in their class:
Michael Salardino has been an exceptional student in the two classes that I’ve had him as a student.  He demonstrated a spirit of excellence and diligence in every assignment he submitted.  His work was thorough and his thought process demonstrates great critical thinking skills.  He also demonstrates servant leadership traits by offering to help his classmates when they need help.  All-in-all Michael is a great candidate for valedictorian.    
I came to know Michael when I was the Facilitator for his Human Development class.  He is a well disciplined and industrious student with a pleasant personality. He went well beyond the course requirements in the quality of his assignments. Throughout the course, Michael demonstrated great perseverance and initiative. Not only was he interested in and motivated to learn the material, but he also put great work into assimilating it to his own experience working with Autistic children. He showed both sensitivity and detachment when discussing consequences that were an integral part of the course. Michael always explained his views very concisely and gave supporting arguments that were both clear and persuasive. Being a great listener, Michael was always willing to lend and ear or helping hand, encouraging the other students in the cohort.
Prof JS Biss
I had the pleasure of having Michael as a student in my Abnormal Psychology class.  It was very clear from Michael’s demeanor and the content of his work that he strives for excellence.  He is an inquisitive student with a passion for learning and sharing knowledge with other students.  He shared with us that he works with learners on the Autism Spectrum and was a valuable resource in our class discussions.  Michael also showed himself to be kind and compassionate to the other students in the cohort, often encouraging them and helping them to understand concepts that we discussed in class.  
(Prof. McCarthy)
In our class, Michael demonstrated a strong desire for closeness with God through Jesus Christ. This was clearly exhibited in his class presentations and writings. His dedication was always evident in his desire to go beyond the minimum requirements in his essays/papers which were always excellently written. I was blessed to have had a couple of lengthy conversations with him. In my experience, he is a worthy choice for valedictorian.
(Prof. Ruiz)

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Pillar, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives at work in your future career. For more information on how Pillar College can help you pursue your ministry and educational goals, please phone us at 973-803-5000 or email [email protected].