Berkeley Today Stories
Supportive Environment Helped Single Mother Thrive in College
Jhia Davis wants her children to understand the importance of higher education. The single mom learned this lesson when she was forced to re-enter the job market after her company relocated.
“I had an Associate’s degree in business and 13 years of valuable management experience, but without a Bachelor’s degree employers wanted to place me in entry-level positions,” Ms. Davis said.
She enrolled at Berkeley College in Woodland Park through the Transfer Opportunity Program (T.O.P.). This program offers scholarships to T.O.P. Scholars who have earned an Associate’s degree from a community college in New Jersey or New York. Scholarship amounts vary.
“My scholarship paid for my tuition. I was only responsible for books and technical fees,” said Ms. Davis, who graduated from Berkeley College with a B.A. in Business Administration in December 2014, and is now pursuing an M.B.A. at Montclair State University.
As a full-time evening student at Berkeley College, the single mom worked as a substitute teacher while also caring for her children ages two through 19 – three of whom are adopted. Ms. Davis recalls her second quarter at Berkeley College as the most challenging.
“It was during the summer when I didn’t have an income from teaching and had trouble paying for childcare while I was attending college. It was overwhelming, and I was ready to drop out,” Ms. Davis said.
Words of encouragement from a professor gave her the strength to keep going.
“Professor Catherine St. John told me that she saw greatness in me. That made all the difference on whether or not I continued with college,” Ms. Davis said. “At Berkeley College you are not just a member of the student body; everyone is supportive and they want you to do well.”
Ms. Davis continued her journey in education and her career. She earned an MBA in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Montclair State University in 2016. Today she is a full time Administrative Specialist II for the State of New Jersey and works at the Morris County Superior Court in the newly created Pretrial Services Unit, where she is the Pro Bono Coordinator, the central judicial processing coordinator and the guardianship monitoring liaison. Ms. Davis continues to maintain a New Jersey Teaching Certification in Comprehensive Business and occasionally substitutes at neighborhood highs schools in Paterson, NJ.