Marian Calle standing in front of flower tree

Seniors 2018: Marian Calle Shows How Perseverance Pays Off

NCAS is proud to be home to some of the most dynamic and diverse students in the country.
In our Seniors 2018 series, we profile a handful of our outstanding graduating seniors and
wish them the very best as they bid farewell to Rutgers University–Newark and move forward
on the next stage of their journey.


Marian Calle
Hometown: Newark, NJ
Majors: English & Psychology
Minor: Creative Writing

Marian Calle has seen some valleys in her young life. She also has climbed some very tall peaks, resulting in her graduating with a second B.A. from RU-N this week.

It’s been a challenging but rewarding road. One of two children of Ecuadorian immigrants raised in Newark, Calle’s future looked bright as she enrolled as a college freshman in fall 2011—not at RU-N, but at NYU. After three semesters there, however, she bowed out when it became clear she needed help.

“I was hospitalized for major depression and was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD),” Calle says. “I took medical leave for the spring and fall semesters in 2013 and moved back to Newark so my family could take care of me.”  

Her bid for a college degree did not end there.

She transferred to RU-N in January 2014, sought the help she needed from the campus community, and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English and a minor in Creative Writing in 2016, becoming the first in her family to obtain a degree from a four-year American university.

Along the way, she found an important mentor in Professor Fran Bartkowski, of RU-N’s English department. Calle took several classes with Bartkowski and interned for her “Cherry Blossoms in Winter” public-art installation project last year. She says her professor took the time to listen and support her during her first tentative steps back in college.

I hope I encounter professors in graduate school who are as dedicated, authentic and supportive as the ones I met at Rutgers University-Newark.

Calle also took advantage of RU-N’s Counseling Center, where the steady hand of Director Anise Thomas and her team provided her with emotional support and guidance. During this time, Calle’s interest in, and appreciation for, psychology grew, so much so that after graduating, she decided to return to RU-N in January 2017 for a second B.A. in the field.

She dove in deep and says it’s the best decision she’s ever made.

“After all the support I received from mental-health professionals during my recovery, I realized I want to become a therapist to be able to help guide someone else through their healing process,” says Calle.

Over the last year and a half, Calle has been president of the RU-N chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in psychology; interned at Mountainside Hospital’s behavioral health unit, leading Wellness & Recover Action Plan groups and observing patients with a variety of disorders; and worked as a research assistant in Professor Michael Shiflett’s animal-cognition lab. She also gained a new mentor in Professor Gerard LaMorte, with whom she took five classes that included fieldwork and a teaching assistantship.

This week, Calle marched again with her classmates as she accepted her second RU-N diploma. In the fall, she’s heading to Columbia University to embark on an Ed.M. program in Counseling Psychology, where she’ll pursue a Bilingual Latina/o Mental Health concentration.  

“Therapy gave me a second chance at life, and I’m now graduating summa cum laude, and most important, I’m happy and healthy,” says Calle. “I hope I encounter professors in graduate school who are as dedicated, authentic and supportive as the ones I met at Rutgers University-Newark.”