Berkeley Today Stories
Graduate from Colombia Receives Robert Maher Outstanding Student Award
David Osorio of Clifton, NJ, has overcome hardship to get to this day. On Friday, April 24, 2015, Mr. Osorio graduated with a 4.00 grade point average, an Associate’s degree in Surgical Technology, and the experience he needs to have a long and successful career in the medical field.
During the Commencement ceremony, Mr. Osorio received the Berkeley College Robert Maher Outstanding Student Award. This award is presented annually to a member of the graduating class who has met high standards of academic excellence while overcoming personal, professional, or financial obstacles. Students are nominated for the award by Berkeley College faculty and staff.
“The highest honor bestowed upon a Berkeley College graduate is the Robert Maher Award,” said Dallas Reed, Ph.D., Berkeley College Vice President, Student Development and Campus Life. “David personifies what defines our students – the perseverance to succeed in graduating with an exceptional academic record against all odds.”
Mr. Osorio’s challenges began 15 years ago when he and his mother left their home country of Colombia for the United States. He and his family struggled, and after graduating from high school, he worked odd jobs to help pay for their expenses. He wanted to go to college, but not until an amendment to the 2012 legislation known as the “Dream Act” became a reality, could he work legally.
Because he was not eligible for federal student aid, he worked at three jobs to cover the cost of his college education.
In 2012, Mr. Osorio was working as a janitor when he learned about the health studies programs at Berkeley College. He had never heard of the surgical technician profession, but he liked the idea of helping people. Mr. Osorio chose the Surgical Technology program and now has career aspirations to work in the medical field, continuing his education, and becoming a nurse or physician’s assistant.
“I have always had to work extra hard to get the things I want,” said Mr. Osorio of his life as an immigrant. “I never give up and I want others to learn from my experience.”
Mr. Osorio is an active member of the Berkeley College community. He is a volunteer orientation leader and a student government representative. He is also president of the Surgical Technology Club, which raises money to send students to an annual professional conference.
Mr. Osorio is proud of his achievements and credits the support of his mother and his professors at Berkeley College for helping him reach this important milestone.