Berkeley College Graduates Take Center Stage as They Enter the Workplace in Demand

Graduates represent rich diversity in the United States, with high representation of LatinX and African-American students

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More than 2,200 graduates in Commencement ceremony represent the rich diversity of the United States, with high representation of LatinX and African-American students, families and friends at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, on May 10, 2019


Berkeley College

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To see a video clip of Commencement go here.


The tassels were turned and the individually decorated caps tossed into the air mixed with confetti as the 2019 Berkeley College graduates who were awarded Certificates, Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees exited from the Commencement ceremony held on May 10, 2019, at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. With unemployment at an all-time-low, are their chances for success increased?

“Every one of us at the Berkeley College Commencement ceremony shares the pride of these graduates because we know the difference a college degree will make in their futures, and how the upward mobility of these graduates will impact future generations,” said Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College.

“The average age of the Berkeley College undergraduate receiving an award today is 28 years … Yes, the unemployment rate is low, but these new graduates may well continue to overcome obstacles and work hard to earn their way. They are prepared and ready, and we look forward to their continued success. So many have demonstrated their commitment to give back to their communities and pay it forward.”

Just under 39 percent of the graduates entered Berkeley as first time, full-time students; and, 84 percent identify as minorities. Berkeley College offers a career-focused educational experience with students able to take advantage of traditional classes and online education, with programs in more than 20 fields of study.

Faculty Speaker Promotes Recognition and Boundless Achievement


Moya Bansile-Williams, JD, Faculty Speaker, encouraged the graduates. “As you stand on the shoulders of all who have supported you on your journey thus far, your professors hope that you can see farther and clearer than ever before.  We hope that you can see that there is no limit to what you can achieve.”

Highlights from the Commencement Stage

Karen Pena, Berkeley College Class of 2009, was awarded the Alumna of the Year award by Michael Iris, Associate Vice President, Alumni Relations and Career Services. “In addition to her love of learning, Karen actively gives back to the community through volunteer efforts that promote her Peruvian heritage and helping others,” said Mr. Iris. “Karen cites her education and raising four children as a single parent among her greatest achievements thus far. Her own mother, her children and grandson continue to inspire her every day.” You can read the full story here.

Cynthia Caruso, Class of 2019, received the Outstanding Student Award from Dallas Reed, PhD, Vice President, Student Development and Campus Life. While Ms. Caruso first was uncertain about returning to college as an adult, she knew it was the right decision, especially when she found out she could earn her degree online. She received Dean’s or President’s List honors every semester. Ms. Caruso also served as a peer mentor and on the Online Student Advisory Board, a community wherein students can share feedback, perspectives and insights in order to foster a more positive student experience. She recently accepted an invitation to serve on the Berkeley College Online Advisory Board. You can read the full story here.

Earl O’Brien, Berkeley College Class of 2018, served as the Student Speaker. When he decided to return to college, he was able to transfer credits he had earned at another college with which Berkeley had an articulation agreement. A devoted husband and father, he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Health Services Management. With the help of his Berkeley College career counselor, Mr. O’Brien received an internship offer with Compassionate Care Hospice in Brooklyn. Today he is a Medical Management Care Coordinator with Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) Choice Health Plans. He intends to earn his Master’s degree while working and continue his career goal to become a psychotherapist and work in a clinical mental health counseling capacity.

From All Walks of Life They Go Forth in Varied Professional Careers

Edwin Fleurant of Brooklyn, NY, spent most of his childhood in Jamaica, completing his third grade to high school education there before returning to the United States in 2016. Mr. Fleurant secured an internship with Marvel Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, during his undergraduate career. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology Management. As a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, he provides technical support as well as security for major events such as the NYC Marathon.

Imani Miller of Fort Lauderdale, FL, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services Management. Following graduation, she will embark on a mission with the U.S. Peace Corps in Uganda. As a Business Development Advisor, Ms. Morgan will implement initiatives that empower women and girls, and assist households in achieving economic security and upward mobility. During her time at the Berkeley College in White Plains, NY, Ms. Morgan served as a Senior Resident Assistant and Vice President of the Student Government Association. She also was a member of the Honors Program, a selective, interdisciplinary program for high-achieving students.

Siblings Najeree and Rajiv Wallace of Brooklyn, NY, immigrated from their native country of Jamaica to earn their Bachelor of Business Administration degrees at Berkeley College. Both students received honors throughout their undergraduate careers.  Mr. Wallace earned two undergraduate degrees – one in Accounting and one in Financial Services – in three years. Ms. Wallace works as a staff accountant at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Both intend to enroll in New York City colleges for their Master’s degrees.

Mauro “Ricky” Zambrano of Lyndhurst, NJ, has earned a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies – Criminal Justice. He quickly became a leader at the Berkeley College New York campus, where he served as President of the Berkeley Spartans, a student-veterans club affiliated with Student Veterans of America. During his time at Berkeley College, Mr. Zambrano interned as a Veterans Outreach Specialist with Bergen County Veteran Services in Hackensack, NJ. Following graduation, he will join the Division of Family Guidance in Bergen County, NJ, a resource for New Jersey families and at-risk youth. He hopes to pursue a Master’s degree and to establish a nonprofit for veterans.

Amal Bendriss of Bloomfield, NJ, a native of Morocco, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors, magna cum laude in Graphic Design. In Morocco, she was a middle school art teacher and freelance fashion designer, but when she came to the United States in 1998, she struggled to learn the English language. Ms. Bendriss worked in retail to support her family and two children, finding it difficult to land a job in a creative field without upgrading her knowledge of the software. She thrived at Berkeley College, becoming a Peer Tutor, a high-achieving member of the Honors Program as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Photo Caption: Clockwise from left: Moya Bansile-Williams, JD, Legal Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies and Faculty Speaker addresses the audience at the 2019 Berkeley College Commencement ceremony. Karen Pena, Class of 2009, receives the Alumna of the Year award from Michael Iris, Associate Vice President, Alumni Relations and Career Services. Berkeley College graduate Earl O’Brien, Health Services Management, and Student Speaker, will continue with his higher education and career goals to become a psychotherapist and work in a clinical mental health counseling capacity. Berkeley College graduate Mauro “Ricky” Zambrano, Justice Studies – Criminal Justice, a veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, was among the student-veterans who led the Commencement processional as members of the color guard. Berkeley College leaders congratulate the Outstanding Student Award recipient Cynthia Caruso (second from left), Health Services Management, Online. Standing with her (left to right) are: Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College; Amy Castillo, Assistant Dean, Berkeley College Student Development and Campus Life, Online; and Dallas Reed, PhD, Vice President, Berkeley College Student Development and Campus Life.

About Berkeley College
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,000 students – including more than 350 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.

Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are four campuses – Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For six consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is

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