Berkeley Today

Berkeley College Associate Helps Build Legacy of Changing Lives

High school students who meet with Admissions Associate Sylvia Ferraro get a firsthand account of the benefits of a Berkeley College education. Ms. Ferraro graduated from the Woodland Park location with an Associate's degree in Fashion Marketing and Management in 1983.

"Fashion was in my blood – my Italian grandparents and my mother all worked in the industry – but it was the influence of my Berkeley College instructors, classes, trips and internships that made me fall in love with fashion," Ms. Ferraro said.

Ms. Ferraro worked in the industry for a number of years and remained in close contact with her alma mater. When a former instructor suggested that she would be a wonderful addition to the Office of High School Admissions at Berkeley College, Ms. Ferraro made a career change.

"I remember when I first started out, we had a lot of first-generation Italian parents coming to our office to enroll their children," Ms. Ferraro said. "They were so unsure of the process. Because I spoke fluent Italian, I was able to reassure them."

Since then, she has held positions in Career Services, High School and Community Outreach, Adult Admissions, and Online Admissions, advising students of all ages as they explore degree and career options.

"When the recession hit, I was working online. We had many unemployed parents reaching out to us for help," said Ms. Ferraro, who has been working at the college for more than 20 years. "They had discovered that to compete in the job market they needed college degrees."

Ms. Ferraro recently welcomed children of fellow alumni to the College. This new generation is entering a college that's expanded greatly from when their parents attended. But the mission of the institution – and Ms. Ferraro's role in that mission – remains the same.

"I love speaking with students about their dreams and their futures, and sharing how Berkeley can help them achieve their goals," Ms. Ferraro said.