May 10, 2023

Opportunity to design and conduct undergraduate research steers Byram Township resident toward a career in the sciences.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ, May 10, 2023 — For as long as she can remember, Nicolle Fekete has been drawn to science. Yet growing up, the Byram Township resident wasn’t aware that Centenary University—northwestern New Jersey’s only four-year university—offers outstanding bachelor’s degrees in the sciences. “I was always aware of Centenary, but I honestly didn’t know how good the University’s science programs are until I started looking at colleges,” she recalls.

After learning about the opportunities here, especially the chance to participate in undergraduate research, I knew that Centenary was the best choice for me.

Fekete graduated from Centenary University on May 6 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. In June, she will start her career as an ecology field technician with the United States Geological Survey collecting and studying plant and soil data in Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

After enrolling at Centenary, Fekete quickly became immersed in her environmental science major. Many of her courses were held at the University’s Environmental Science Center, which was expanded in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife, to provide a modern experiential learning and research facility for students and faculty. There, Fekete participated in hands-on field work, supplementing classroom studies with real-world experience.

Last summer, Fekete had the opportunity to design and conduct independent research on the social habits of two species of fiddler crabs in Sandy Hook and Tuckerton, NJ. Working one-on-one with a Centenary faculty member, Fekete’s study measured the social interactions of male and female fiddler crabs across several lunar cycles. “I was interested in tracking similarities and differences in behavior between the two species,” she explained. “We saw that the lunar cycle played a big role in how many crabs we saw and the effects of the breeding cycle on female crabs.”

In addition to her environmental studies, Fekete was an active member of the Centenary community as an undergraduate. She served as a resident assistant in the University’s residence halls and was also a member of Centenary’s IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association) and IDA (Intercollegiate Dressage Association) teams.

As she prepares to start her career, Fekete is glad she chose to attend Centenary: “I’m pretty confident that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate in research if I had chosen a larger college. Centenary’s science programs definitely prepare you for any career direction you want to take.”


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township.

Photo: Nicolle Fekete, Centenary University Class of 2023

Skip to content