September 29, 2023
Computer science major Andrew Clark ’24 was honored at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s (NJBIA) 9th Annual New Jersey Women Business Leaders Forum. Clark is one of only five recipients of the 2023 Rising Star Award. “NJBIA’s Rising Star Awards honor students who have demonstrated a passion for their career path, academic success, and a commitment to their communities during their undergraduate careers,” NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka said. New Jersey’s new Lt. Governor Tahesha L. Way made her first public policy speech at the event.
Clark was nominated for the award by Ramapo alumnus Ryan Greff ’20, who is the executive director of Fair Lawn Main Street, Inc. (FLMS), a current member of the New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service, and former chairperson of the Economic Recovery Task Force at the New Jersey Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) at Ramapo College. Clark was a digital marketing team intern at the NJSBDC in the summer of 2021, which is where he met Greff. With his team, Clark worked to provide no-cost digital aid to local small businesses in the form of website design and development, social post creation, and copywriting. Clark followed Greff to FLMS and still works there today.
It was Clark’s involvement in the stand up of a digital marketplace for the Fair Lawn Marketplace that earned him the the Rising Star Award. The site acts as a local directory for Fair Lawn residents as well as a digital imprint for small Fair Lawn businesses, especially businesses that do not have a digital storefront of their own. In 2022, Clark was recognized by Fair Lawn Mayor Kurt Peluso for his contributions to the project.
The NJBIA Rising Star Award came as a surprise to Clark, who said, “When I began working at the NJSBDC and FLMS, I entered with a mindset knowing that the experience I gain is the true award at the end of the day. The satisfaction I’m able to give to clients and the impact that I’m able to leave on my community will always surpass any form of compensation or award I could be given.”
Ramapo College played an integral part in Clark’s journey. The College’s partnership with the NJSBDC provided Clark the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience and leverage his computer science education to help small businesses, according to Clark, who added, “This award would not have been possible if I was not part of the Ramapo College community.”
Clark is a graduate of North Rockland High School in Theills, NY and currently resides in Clifton, NJ. The New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Ramapo College is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the New Jersey Business Action Center, and Ramapo College of New Jersey. To learn more about the center, visit ramapo.edu/sbdc.