Tia Montalto, 22, of Old Bridge, grew up a tomboy, with a passion for cars. Her long-time boyfriend, Walter Vittitoe, 29, of Laurence Harbor, industrious and persistent, bright and able, good-hearted and grateful, worked for eight years as a machinist before enrolling at Middlesex County College, where they met.Tuesday morning, May 15, 2012, these two lovebirds will march at NJIT’s 2012 Commencement at the Prudential Center. Both, who majored in mechanical engineering technology, leave NJIT at the top of their game. Montalto will be the high grade achiever with a 4.0 for the Newark College of Engineering (NCE) Department of Engineering Technology http://engineeringtech.njit.edu/ . Vittitoe, who technically finished NJIT last year in December of 2011, was the same department’s 2011 top achiever, in addition to being crowned at a special dinner as the top award winner (based on his grade point average) for all of NCE, a coveted honor. To save money, the pair currently live with Tia’s parents in Old Bridge. Vittitoe hopes to replenish his parents’ savings which paid for part of his college education: “They are approaching retirement and can use the money,” he says.
Both graduates overcame many obstacles to earn these degrees. When Vittitoe transferred to NJIT to study engineering, he faced a killer four-hour daily commute including train and subway rides from Laurence Harbor. Today he works as a manufacturing engineer for Weiss-Aug, East Hanover, a stamping and molding manufacturing company.
Montalto made it through both Middlesex and NJIT in part thanks to the New Jersey Stars Scholarship but also because she spent two and a half years working while in community college at two part-time jobs--a restaurant waitress and selling goods in a bakery. “I don’t mind working hard and I always strive for the best in life,” she says. Both Montalto and Vittitoe graduate NJIT summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade point average and with the title of Outstanding Department Senior. To read more about Montalto, see http://www.njit.edu/features/student/tia.php.