Monroe College's Bronx campus is an ideal urban campus located in the bustling Fordham section.

New Rochelle

Located in downtown New Rochelle, the Monroe College New Rochelle campus is nestled in a diverse, thriving suburban community in Westchester County.

St. Lucia

Located on the Vide Boutielle Highway, Monroe College’s St. Lucia campus offers a practical education designed to give students a competitive edge in the workplace.

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    Catherine Barreto

    Catherine Barreto has always been an entrepreneur at heart. While some children play house, the daughter of Peruvian and Dominican immigrants used to pretend to own her own corner store, complete with fake money she created herself. Though they themselves were not able to attend college, Catherine says, “my parents always instilled in me that education was the way to succeed in this country, so it was an unsaid rule that I had to go to college.”

    After high school, she started her education at a large community college. “I was just one in a million. Nobody knew my name, nobody cared or anything. They just wanted tuition money.” So she transferred to Monroe, where she could get the support that she needed and attend classes at night so that she could continue to work full time. The difference was obvious to her immediately. “Monroe gave me the support system I needed. I felt people were always available to me when I had questions.” Catherine earned her associate degree from Monroe in 1996, taking night classes while she worked full time.

    In particular, Catherine recalls her Housekeeping 101 course from early in her college career. Her professor announced early on that the two students with the top grades would be given coveted internships under the Executive Housekeeper at the UN Park Hyatt Hotel. “I’m very competitive, so it fueled my drive to get the best grades.” She earned top marks in the class and earned the internship, which later turned into a full-time job.

    As a single, working mother, going back to college seemed like a daunting process. But she found herself stuck in the coordinator position, with no possibility of moving up without her Bachelor’s. “I knew any industry I wanted to get into would require an advanced degree.” So when her then-employer, the Boston Consulting Group, had a program that reimbursed employees’ tuition, there was no question of where to attend. She immediately contacted Dean Goldstein, her former mentor, and resumed her studies, earning her Bachelor’s in 2002. When Catherine decided to pursue her MBA, she got advice from Dean Goldstein once again, who pointed her to a great program that fit her needs.

    Catherine is very grateful for the opportunities she received at Monroe- so much so that she remains involved in the college over a decade after her graduation. She even testified on behalf of Monroe College in the House of Representatives Department of Labor, speaking of the doors that her education at Monroe opened up for her. “I’m a firm believer in Monroe college. Any time I’m invited to speak to students, I come back because it’s how I feel I give back.”

    In the future, Catherine sees herself owning her own business, fulfilling the dream she had as a little girl growing up in Harlem. She is rightfully proud of her achievements, which include raising a daughter who is heading off to college this Fall. “Going to Monroe was the best thing I've ever done. I'm a great example to my daughter, that I never used anything as an excuse. Right now my daughter is about to start college herself, and she says she's going to continue through all her degrees no matter what, because I was that example- and Monroe instilled that in me.”