2021 - Bernarda Arias

2021 BEOC Arthur O. Eve Education and Community Service Award

BEOC Class of 2014

Ms. Bernarda Arias
was born in the Dominican Republic.  She came to the United States at a young age and lived in New York City until she moved to Buffalo, New York in 1998 to pursue her college degree.  After arriving in Buffalo, Ms. Arias accepted a position at a non-profit organization, where she was employed for 7 years.  When she was laid off from her position, she changed her career aspirations and enrolled at the Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center (BEOC) where she earned certification in Medical Billing and Coding.  Ms. Arias credits the BEOC with helping her to see the career opportunities available to her in the field of Allied Health.  Her passion led her to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from SUNY Buffalo State College.  Ms. Arias is a qualified Human Resource professional with over 15 years of experience working at Fisher-Price/Mattel, Southwest Key Program, Inc. and ultimately at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Picture of Ms. Bernarda Arias.

“BEOC helped me tap into a field I had no knowledge of and set me on a new career path.”

Ms. Arias is currently the Diversity Program Assistant at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Institute (RPCCI).  In this role, she is in charge of organizing and planning special events throughout the year, which focus on celebrating diverse cultures, religions, and holidays such as Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month.  She also coordinates many faith-based events (e.g., celebrating Islam, Festival of Lights, etc.) and luncheons that focus on educating the RPCCI and surrounding community about different religions and beliefs.  Her duties also include assisting in any harassment and discrimination issues that may arise at RPCCI.


Ms. Arias stated that one of the best aspects of her position in the Diversity Office is giving back to the community.  “I learn more about myself and I meet interesting people who give me new insights on life.  But the most important thing is that I am making a difference; even doing small things can have a big impact on others.”   It is with this perspective that Bernarda facilitates community outreach events between RPCCI and the BEOC.  Ms. Arias also connects with other community organizations including the Pride Center of Buffalo, Native American Community Services, the Buffalo Employment and Training Center, the Hispanic Heritage Council and the Buffalo Urban League to educate them about employment opportunities at RPCCI.


Ms. Arias is a strong advocate of young women who want to succeed in life.  Through her sorority, Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas, she became the co-founder of the L.A.D.Y.S (Leadership, Advancement and Development of our Young Sisters) program that focuses on reaching young women who aspire to enroll in a college/university.  Ms. Arias has also received community recognition as the recipient of the 2018 Mary B. Talbert Civic and Cultural Club Unsung Heroes Award and the 2018 Hispanic Coalition of NY 40 under 40 Rising Star.


According to Ms. Arias, “The purpose of life is not just to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have loved and lived well.  No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Alumni Affairs and Student Development Office