Gardea Caphart


Growing up in Liberia, a country on the West African coast, Gardea Caphart enjoyed meals rich with meat, chicken, and rice. As a student at Monroe, he was delighted to find the campus food similar to what he was used to: full of familiar spicy flavors.

Gardea migrated to New York in 2003 seeking a better life. A family friend recommended Monroe for its support of immigrants and first-generation college students. The application process was smooth, with his counselor helping to transfer his previous college credits from Liberia. Living in the dorms with international students helped him adapt to American culture and establish lasting friendships.

Monroe also introduced him to American culture through an internship facilitated by the office of Career Services. During his last semester, he worked as a research assistant for Spike TV and MTV Networks, whose office is in Times Square. This opportunity allowed him to see celebrities up close, like Samuel Jackson and Jimmy Walker, whom he had watched on TV in Liberia.

Monroe provided Gardea with a solid foundation for his new life in America. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Business Management and earned his MBA cum laude from St. John’s University. He credits Monroe for helping him transition to the real world, ultimately leading him to professional success.

Even after college, Gardea felt he could turn to Monroe for support. The transition to the real world was initially frustrating because he wasn’t getting interview calls, and he questioned his abilities. His professors and career counselor boosted his confidence, encouraging him to keep looking and never give up.

He persevered, eventually becoming the Deputy Director of Administration at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Today, he proudly holds the position of Director of Financial Management for the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

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