Two students from Woodland Park's Berkeley College will be featured on Lifetime's "Military Makeover" reality series.
You can catch their stories at 7:30 a.m. on April 30 and May 4, on Lifetime.
Grovert Fuentes of North Bergen graduated from Berkeley College with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing Communications in 2017. He served six years in the U.S. Air Force and developed his passion as a combat photographer. While stationed in Afghanistan, however, his unit was attacked and he sustained injuries that made it impossible to continue this line of work.
It was after his discharge from the service, knowing he needed to prepare for a new career, that he discovered Berkeley College and its office of Military and Veterans Affairs. At age 24, although he feared being the “old guy” in class, he found students of all ages and backgrounds. The experience helped him expand his perspectives.
Fuentes launched two businesses while a student-veteran at Berkeley College – Fit Lifestyle Box, a subscription-based service offering fitness-related products, and T-Print Express, a print shop. He switched to online classes to continue his studies while he devoted time to his startup businesses. His professors offered real-world business advice to help get those businesses up and running.
“I don’t think I would have been able to start my businesses and remain in school without being able to take online classes,” Fuentes said. "Professors allowed me to use my business in class projects, which was extremely practical and helpful."
Many student-veterans like Fuentes share the value of giving back. Along with a fellow Berkeley College veteran alumnus, Fuentes speaks at engagements to encourage more soldiers and veterans to connect and take advantage of the resources and services offered through the College. For five consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans.
“It’s a network that is extremely valuable,” Fuentes said. “Veterans are always willing to help each other, and I’ve gained friends who support me all the time through the Berkeley veteran network.”
Shantol Coleman of Irvington is a student-veteran majoring in Health Services Management who is on track to complete her degree this year. She served in the U.S. Navy.
“Meeting students from different backgrounds who shared the same career goals was inspiring,” Coleman said. “I saw that I wasn’t alone in the struggle to obtain my degree.”
As a new mother who also works full-time, Coleman discovered that taking online classes was the perfect way to fit an education into her busy life. She found Berkeley College online support resources and services convenient, including contacting professors.
“Balancing work and home life is a challenge, but taking classes online allows me to complete assignments at my own pace without feeling overwhelmed,” she said. “Often I complete my work at night when my little one is asleep.”
With her plans to work in health services management, Coleman advises other soldiers and veterans, “College isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it. Do your best and don’t slack off.”
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