New Jersey Honors Students Find Their Niche in Berkeley College Honors Program

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Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
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The first Berkeley College Honors Scholars Research Symposium held recently in New York City featured the works of student scholars who rose to the challenge and presented fascinating theses on variety of subjects. The Symposium, which opened with an address to the students from Dario A. Cortes, PhD, President of Berkeley College, is the culmination of a year of studies through classroom discussions, seminars and research in close proximity with peers and professors.

“Employers are seeking top graduates with collaborative, critical thinking, research, cross cultural and communications skills,” Dr. Cortes said. “Berkeley College Honors Scholars possess all of these, plus the intellect and desire to succeed. Graduates of the Honors Program are prepared to take leadership roles in their workplaces and benefit their local communities.”

The theme for the 2013-2014 Berkeley College Honors Program was “Rediscovering New York City,” with students exploring such topics as the history and culture of the city, along with the growth of the financial district and the city’s criminal justice system.

Student Ariel Canela, an Accounting major and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, presented his thesis on maritime piracy across diverse regions, drawing on his own military experience combating piracy off the coast of Somalia. Mr. Canela lives in Perth Amboy and tutors students at the Berkeley College Academic Support Center in Woodbridge. He said that the Honors Program challenged him in many ways. “I learned a lot about myself by serving in the military, and I’m learning more about myself by being part of this program,” he said.

Tanya Salemme of Elmwood Park, a Berkeley College Online® Fashion Marketing and Management major, presented the physiological behavior and composition of brains hardwired to kill.

“Initially I had doubts and uncertainties about going into the Honors Program. Now I know it was the right decision. I am so happy and grateful that I was given that extra push and had so much support from faculty, my peers and family,” Ms. Salemme said, who received a recent award for academic excellence through the program. “There’s no slacking off; you have to have a strong work ethic.”

Julie Vinolas, who majors in Fashion Marketing and Management with a minor in International Business at Berkeley College in Paramus, presented how the Internet is changing fashion. “The retail world is different now,” she said. “You have to think outside of the box.” Ms. Vinolas lives in Demarest and works at Khuraira Cosmetics as a senior makeup artist and personal assistant to the founder/president.

Berkeley College is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council and offers an interdisciplinary theme-based Honors Program to a limited number of high-achieving students pursuing Bachelor’s degrees. Participation in the program is on an invitation-only basis with recommendations coming from faculty members and advisors. In addition to excelling in their academic programs, Honors Scholars volunteer for service projects in the community, participate in Honors seminars conducted by senior faculty and conduct independent research.
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls approximately 8,000 students – including more than 900 international students – in its Baccalaureate and Associate degree and Certificate programs. The College has three New York locations – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are six locations – Woodland Park, Paramus, Woodbridge, Newark, Clifton and Dover. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. Programs are offered in more than 20 career fields in the Larry L. Luing School of Business, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies, and the School of Liberal Arts. The website address is

Byron Hargrove, PhD, Director, Berkeley College Honors Program

Photo Caption: Byron Hargrove, PhD, Director, Berkeley College Honors Program, opens the first Berkeley College Honors Scholar Research Symposium held in September.

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