Berkeley Today Stories

T'lyssa Connell Berkeley College

Berkeley College Graduate’s Dream of Giving Back to the Community



T’Lyssa Connell has always wanted to open a community center where she grew up in Brooklyn, NY. “Growing up, I learned so much from participating in events at my local center, motivating me to do more,” she said. “It’s that type of motivation that children need today more than ever.”

Ms. Connell had her eye on a vacant lot that would be a good location, but had no idea of how to go about moving her plans forward. That is when she made the decision to go back to school and gain a better understanding of how to put her dreams into motion.

As a single mother of two young children, Ms. Connell was challenged by the idea of managing daily life and school work. With family advice and support, she enrolled at Berkeley College to complete her college degree. “I knew that if I was to live out my dream I need to be educated first,” she said. “Berkeley College was my option for a breakthrough.”

Growth Beyond the Classroom
Ms. Connell was one of the founders of the Caribbean Students Association at the Brooklyn campus, and was elected by peers as President of the Student Government Association. During Women’s History Month this year, she was honored at the Berkeley LeadHERship Brunch in Brooklyn, NY, which brought successful women executives together with students who were identified as future leaders. In addition, she works as an office assistant to Iessa Sutton, Campus Operating Officer of Berkeley College in Brooklyn.

“I have learned so much about myself within the past year. I can sense growth mentally, and emotionally, especially with the support from the Berkeley College Student Development and Campus Life Department,” Ms. Connell said. “Whether it’s through class, a program on campus, or working with Ms. Sutton, I’ve had so many memorable moments.”

Ready for Success
Ms. Connell received her Associate’s degree in Management in May 2017, and will receive her Bachelor’s the following year. While anticipation about graduating has been building up for her, she prefers to look beyond the commencement stage toward future possibilities.

“Success to me is not about the amount of money I have, but the feelings of accomplishment that show growth and enrichment,” Ms. Connell said. “I am consistently learning different ways to develop and expand my leadership qualities, grow as a lifelong learner, and holistically be the best in everything that I do.”