First among Her Siblings to Graduate from College, Students from Essex County is Inspired by Berkeley College Faculty

FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2018
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, Ext. 1-5122


With a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies
She Seeks to Further Her Education and
 Give Back to the Community

Berkeley College

See caption below.

When it came time to select a college, Nathalia Vazquez of Belleville, NJ, knew that Berkeley College was the right fit for her because she wanted to learn in classes that had a smaller number of students in a more intimate setting. “The professors form a bond with you and are considerate of your individual situation,” Ms. Vazquez said.

Pursuing a degree in Justice Studies – Justice Studies and giving back to the community were a natural fit for Ms. Vazquez. After earning an Associate in Applied Science degree in the same field at Berkeley College, Ms. Vazquez immediately enrolled in the Bachelor’s degree program. She also applied to and was accepted into the Berkeley College Honors Program. As an Honors student, Ms. Vazquez met two professors who would become most influential to her educational and career success.

Melissa Baralt, PhD, Master Faculty, Math and Sciences, School of Liberal Arts, and Byron Hargrove, PhD, Director, Honors Program and Master Faculty, Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Liberal Arts, recall the impact of having Ms. Vazquez in their courses.

“Nathalia is a rare combination of talent and dedication,” Dr. Baralt said. “She is a hard-working student who always strives for the best. She has served as a catalyst on the Newark campus and this has been a motivating factor to many around her.

“I was impressed by Nathalia’s academic performance in my Sociology course during the Fall 2015 term. That’s when I recommended her as a Peer Tutor and suggested she apply for a seat in the 2017 Honors program, given her focus, grit, as well as her academic and organizational skills,” Dr. Hargrove said.


Berkeley College

Photo Caption: Berkeley College student Nathalia Vazquez of Belleville, NJ (in top photo, far right in above left photo, and in above right photo), Class of 2018, Justice Studies, addresses those visiting the campus with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in November. At Berkeley College she surrounded herself with individuals who shared her interests in leadership and volunteerism.

The title of her Honors Program thesis was Due Process: Revisiting the Law in Reference to Juvenile Minors. “For the thesis project I did extensive research, which had an enormous influence on my interest in working with troubled youth,” Ms. Vazquez said.

Ms. Vazquez admits that her motivation to strive to be better came after graduating from Belleville High School. She took a year off, a time when her passion for learning grew, she says. When she entered Berkeley College Ms. Vazquez surrounded herself with individuals who shared her interests in leadership and volunteerism. Her first internship, a requirement for every student in every degree program at Berkeley College, was with Greater Essex Counseling Services. Her responsibilities included recording intake information from parolees. She also had the opportunity to join a group counseling session.

“It was a learning experience,” Ms. Vazquez said. “Surprisingly, it was not intimidating.”

Ms. Vazquez also served as Vice President of the Law and Justice Club at Berkeley College in Newark. Dr. Hargrove recommended she become a Peer Tutor in the campus’ Center for Academic Success, where she now tutors fellow students in a number of subject areas. She also led campus tours when the Mayor of Newark visited and met with students, and when representatives from United Airlines met with students about career options.

Her most memorable moment at Berkeley College so far was serving on the Gala Committee to raise money for Autism Speaks. As a volunteer, she worked with other club leaders, spoke to community members, and helped raise $700 for the event held in November, which benefits the advocacy organization’s efforts in providing resources to individuals with autism and their families. This year the group hopes to make the event a tradition.

For her next internship, Ms. Vazquez would like to mentor or tutor criminal offenders who are minors, perhaps in a juvenile detention center.

“Using my education to be an asset to the community and learning along the way is such an opportunity to grow,” Ms. Vazquez said. “I stress to all of my peers to utilize the resources, tools and networking opportunities offered to them as students. Do not take these for granted. Life is truly a learning process and I am a strong believer that knowledge is power.”

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 7,100 students – including more than 440 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 four New Jersey campuses – 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. For five 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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