Berkeley Today Stories
Alumnus Overcomes Health Struggles to Graduate with Honors
At the age of 39, Jay Calise was placed on disability, and decided to have weight loss surgery after years of suffering from various health problems. He didn’t let his hurdles with health stand in the way of receiving an education, an opportunity that Berkeley College provided through online courses. “Being able to complete classes from home helped me gain an education while letting me properly heal from surgeries,” Mr. Calise said.
A resident of Bergenfield, NJ, Mr. Calise graduated with an A.A.S. in Health Services Administration in 2014. Despite having to balance school work with recuperation, he was able graduate with honors, getting inducted into Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Sigma Lambda national honor societies. “These are the experiences that I will never forget,” he said. “I know that I earned my way to graduation and into the honor societies, but it was more than I could ever think of achieving, considering the condition I was in when I started. The professors I had at Berkeley College really helped bring out the best in me to accomplish this.”
Through it all, his drive to stay focused while overcoming his adversities with health can be traced back to one person – his daughter, Jacqueline, age 20. “I wanted to show her that regardless of age, anyone could go back to school, get a secondary education, and make something of themselves,” said Mr. Calise, adding that his daughter was also beginning college at the time. “All it took was the right motivation.”
After working in a temporary position in a doctor’s private practice, Mr. Calise was hired as a Customer Service Manager at ExamWorks in Roseland, NJ. In this role, he oversees scheduling of medical exams for New York City Workmen’s Comp and liability cases. Mr. Calise has been in good health and living a more active lifestyle since undergoing surgery.