When Nick Gervasoni started at Brookdale, he had been away from the classroom for 13 years and was not sure how he would adapt and fare in the academic environment. He served in the Marine Corps for seven years, with tours in Okinawa, Japan and Afghanistan.

All of his academic concerns were quickly alleviated for the Jackson, N.J., resident when he starting classes at Brookdale’s Freehold and Wall locations.

“The staff and teachers at Freehold and Wall have been so welcoming and made the transition seamless,” said Gervasoni. “They treated me with respect, encouraged me and helped to make the transition easy and seamless.”

He said the list of those who have helped him in returning to the classroom and who have made him feel welcome is extensive. Gervasoni said their kindness is evident daily. He cited Yesenia Madas, associate vice president of Student Affairs, Professors Martin McDermott, Diane Moran, Daniel Lopez, Dr. Eugene DeRobertis and the entire front desk team at Freehold among those who encouraged him in so many ways.

“The encouragement, concern and welcoming is so extraordinary genuine,” said Gervasoni. “The support comes from so many people and extends beyond the classroom.”

“Nick is a true gentleman and a dedicated student who is always seeking to better himself. He is also a leader by example in the classroom whose attitude serves as an example for his classmates to follow.”

-Professor Daniel Lopez

Gervasoni said faculty and staff at Freehold were especially kind and thoughtful as he and his wife were expecting their first child. He added that faculty and staff do not forget about his service dog, Penny, and often provide her with treats.

Gervasoni and his wife, Jenifer, have been married for nearly 12 years, with one son and another child on the way in August. He is studying business administration and plans on transferring to Rutgers University or Monmouth University in 2021 to complete his studies.

Following his exit from the Marine Corps in 2015, he worked in several different jobs and industries but did not find a fit. He decided to enroll at Brookdale following the example of his wife who took classes at Burlington County College when the couple lived in that area.

“She gave me the courage to step up, pursue my degree and get on the path toward my goal of starting my own business down the road,” said Gervasoni.  He first heard about Brookdale when his military service ended from a fellow marine who lived in New Jersey.

Gervasoni urged other veterans considering pursuing their education to sign up for classes as soon as possible after their service ends. He said waiting longer could make the transition more difficult for some. He encouraged his fellow veterans to keep an open mind.

“If veterans approach their studies and this new chapter in their lives with the same dedication they did while serving our country, there’s no way they won’t come out on top,” said Gervasoni.