As a high school student, Minelia Gomez did not see herself as a particularly strong or confident person. She had trouble dealing with the stresses of daily life, and often worried what her future would hold.
“The self-assurance I needed was buried so deep that I couldn’t find it,” said Ms. Gomez, a resident of Pompton Lakes, NJ. “I saw college as a second chance for me to become the person I wanted to be.”
Ms. Gomez found her confidence at Berkeley College, where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies – Criminal Justice.
Now in her second year of college, Ms. Gomez is Student Government Association (SGA) President, as well as a Peer Orientation leader and a part-time Office Assistant in the Office of Student Development and Campus Life. She conveys news of campus events through the College Facebook page and acts as a link between staff initiatives and student needs.
“I loved the feeling of Berkeley College as soon as I walked in the door,” she said. “They made me feel welcome and very comfortable, and I can truly say now that Berkeley has become a second home for me.”
Ashante Barnes-Awe, Director of Student Development and Campus Life, Woodland Park, said Ms. Gomez immediately stepped up to reenergize the SGA.
“Minelia was full of energy, optimistic and offered fresh ideas,” said Ms. Barnes-Awe. “She wanted to get involved and change the climate on campus.”
Under the leadership of Ms. Gomez, the SGA planned field trips and brought activities to campus. Ms. Gomez recently organized volunteer and community outreach initiatives, such as clothing drives for the federal AmeriCorps program and the Father English Community Center in Paterson, NJ.
Ms. Barnes-Awe said Ms. Gomez’ efforts have inspired other students on campus, and membership in the SGA has increased by 50 percent from the Fall 2011 Quarter.
“During her tenure, Minelia has remained active, consistent and dedicated to her role,” Ms. Barnes-Awe said. “She is a staple in the Student Activities Center and a well-recognized face on campus.”
After she graduates in Fall 2014, Ms. Gomez hopes to attend graduate school and to one day have a career where she advocates for local communities.
“If I could do something that puts a smile on a face, or changes someone’s life, I would be fulfilled in my career,” she said.