Berkeley College to Honor Jeison Martinez as 2016 Robert Maher Award Recipient

Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, ext. 1-5122



Jeison Martinez Berkeley CollegeBerkeley College student Jeison Martinez, who grew up in poverty in Colombia, will receive the Robert Maher Award at the College’s Commencement ceremony on Friday, April 29, 2016, at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The award is given to a graduate who has met high standards of academic excellence while overcoming personal, professional or financial obstacles. 

Mr. Martinez, 23, of Dover, NJ, was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. When he was 2 years old, his family moved to the United States to seek a better life. However, that proved daunting, and his mother often worked three jobs to try to keep the family afloat. 

Sometimes, she would not have enough money to support her family and would send her children back to live with their father in Colombia until she was managing better financially, Mr. Martinez said. 

“It was emotionally difficult leaving my mom,” he said. “And it was difficult going back and forth. When I came to the U.S., I didn’t know English. When I went back to Colombia, I didn’t know Spanish. So I had to learn both languages again. Now I’m fluent in both, and I also speak some Italian.” 

Mr. Martinez moved back to the United States permanently when he was in fifth grade. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in June 2015. 

Now he is proud of both countries where he grew up and hopes he can raise awareness about the rich traditions and beauty of Colombia, despite the negatives that have drawn more attention. 

At Berkeley College, Mr. Martinez excelled as a member of the Cross-Country team and the Student Government Association. He also held two part-time jobs while completing an Associate’s degree in Management and a BS in Business Administration. He is now pursuing an MBA in Management at Berkeley College. 

Mr. Martinez works in Distribution and Sales Support for Power Hawk Technologies based in Rockaway, NJ. Selling extrication systems and spare parts are among his many duties there. 

He said he is the only company employee fluent in Spanish, a skill that makes him valuable since he is able to communicate with customers all over the world. 

“I really like the business I’m in, and I want to grow within the company,” he said. 

He credits several professors at Berkeley College, as well as his Cross-Country coach, with helping him succeed on his educational journey. 

“At Berkeley, I developed the confidence to believe that I can accomplish anything,” he said. “My professors and advisors never let me give up – they gave me the encouragement I needed. My family is so proud, and I hope to be an example for others.”

A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls approximately 8,300 students – including more than 700 international students – in its Baccalaureate and Associate 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 a Master of Business Administration degree in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ. 

Berkeley College has five New Jersey campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. In New York there are three campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, both for the third consecutive year. The website address is

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