Graduate Profiles – 2017 Fall Success Stories
Keeping it all in the family
Broward College Employees and Couple Chinara and Teth Milligan are graduating this December.
Teth and Chinara Milligan are not only husband and wife. They are also co-workers at Broward College and future alumni. This December, the Milligans will graduate from Broward College with their BAS in Supervision and Management, after starting their educational journey together back in 2010 with their associates degree.
“We grew up in Miami and everybody who we knew that attended Broward College or worked here said that this was the place to work, and the best community college,” said Teth.
As Broward College employees, Chinara is the executive assistant and admissions coordinator at the Honors College, where she manages everything related to admissions, graduation, and more. Teth works in facilities, where he’s responsible for inventory, planning, and regular maintenance tasks.
Chinara, 36, and Teth, 35, have known each other since middle school but didn’t start dating until many years later, in 2003, and married four years after in 2007. They have a son and daughter.
For the couple, their day starts at about 5 a.m. and ends at midnight. It usually includes dropping their youngest daughter at school, working 8 or 9 hours, attending classes, homework, and on top of normal housekeeping tasks.
“There’s really no downtime,” Teth admits. Going into their educational journey, they knew it was going to be difficult but that didn’t stop them. If anything, it made them work harder.
Sharing the school experience together, helped them understand each other better.
“It allowed me to relate to her… Going to school myself definitely helped me understand her,” said Teth. “It’s cool because it allowed us to grow together.”
“We pushed each other,” said Chinara. “Just having that person there to help you and kind of understand what you’re going through is always a good thing to have.”
After going through their educational journey part-time, graduation is certainly something they grew to appreciate even more.
“It’s like breathing for the first time. Regardless of what I’ve been through, of how long it’s taken me, I did it, I accomplished it,” said Chinara. “I’ve never graduated before so, for me, I’m super excited.”
“As a parent, I think that now my kids have no excuses because regardless of everything we’ve been through, we persevered and we graduated,” he said. “And as a student, it’s like ‘finally!’ There was this long goal that was set in place and that was achieved.”
Now that they are just a few weeks away from graduation, the Milligans are ready to celebrate. Chinara and Teth will be taking some time off to share their achievement with family and friends.
But their journey won’t stop here. They plan on continuing their education by pursuing masters.
“The sky isn’t even the limit, I’m just ready for bigger, better and greater and I have my best friend right there with me,” said Teth.
Chinara admits that “there’s no reason to stop now.”
Take Your Daughter to Work Has Real Meaning for the Ozment Family
For Lily Ozment, life at Broward College is a family affair. She grew up visiting the College, not as a student, but because her parents are employees. Her mother Laura Ozment is the college-wide manager of the landscape and ground maintenance department. She’s worked at the College for nearly 30 years.
Lily’s father, Jonathan Ozment works as the coordinator of facilities on south campus—a role he’s held since 1999. Her grandmother was also a Broward College employee—she worked as a library technician in the 1980s and pursued her nursing degree at the College shortly afterward. “I grew up not realizing that Broward College was a real school,” says Lily. “I thought it was a place where my mom mowed the lawn and my dad fixed toilets. It’s been great seeing the other side of it.”
For the last year and a half, Lily has been hard at work earning an associate of arts degree in Early Education. “I am really grateful for the time I spent in classrooms,” says Lily. “I had so many valuable experiences because of Broward College that have confirmed my decision to become a teacher. I have made many professional connections and had incredible mentors.”
Lily plans to remain at Broward College to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Special Education. “I want to become a teacher,” she says. “I enjoy working with kids and I want to make a difference in a child’s life.”
While Broward College is part of the Ozment family in many ways, Lily is the first in her household to earn a degree. “The College has been a part of family life for as long as I can remember,” she says. “We joke that we are a Seahawk family. For me, it feels good to take our family legacy in a different direction.”
Embarking on a Career in Nursing After a Lifetime of Caring for Others
Lovely Lozin was a teenager when a massive 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010. She was living with her aunt when the catastrophe hit. Lozin recalls how she and a cousin ran for safety but had to stop to assist their grandmother. They managed to help her escape before the house tumbled. When the tremors ended, the family had to live in a tent in the backyard of a school. Several of Lozin’s friends and family members died. Haiti was in ruins.
Talking about the earthquake and its aftermath is still difficult for Lozin. She tears up, “I felt powerless,” she says as she tears up. “There was so much suffering and little I could do to stop it. I distributed water and blankets but I couldn’t do much else.”
The trauma awakened her dream of becoming a nurse. “I always wanted to help others,” she says. “As a nurse, I knew I could assist people to get better.” The opportunity to pursue her dream came in 2013 when she moved to South Florida to live with her father and stepmother.
This was a big step for Lozin. She knew if she remained in Haiti, work would be scarce. The oldest of 11 children, Lozin would not be able to support her family. Her parents did not attend college – she is the first in her family to do so. “I came to the United States for the opportunity to do more,” she says. “In Haiti, there were no opportunities and no jobs. I came here for an education.”
When she arrived, she didn’t know any English but within a year, she enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) course. At the urging of a classmate, she walked to nearby Broward College to inquire about taking classes. Lozin, who learned English in addition to speaking French, Creole and Spanish, says enrolling at Broward College changed her life. However, it wasn’t always easy. Lozin, a full-time student, worked part-time at a restaurant, and faced her share of challenges, including times when attending classes felt overwhelming. “When I would feel down, my instructors, especially my microbiology teacher, would encourage me,” she says.
Despite the difficulties, Lozin stood out among her peers. She managed to earn her associate of arts degree within two years, and will graduate with a 3.5 GPA. That kind of persistence helps Lozin in every aspect of her life. Just weeks before she graduates, the 23-year-old became a United States citizen. She also expanded her horizons by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. She is awaiting a ship out date for her four-year commitment. “The Air Force has a great program for nurses,” she says.
When Lozin walks across the stage to receive her nursing diploma, her family will be there to cheer her on. “I am very proud of my accomplishments,” she says. “It is an awesome feeling.”
The Sky is Not the Limit for Aviation Student
Denist Oscar’s career aspirations soar higher than many people her age. The former Army Reservist and Verizon software engineer walked away from a six-figure career and a luxurious lifestyle to follow her passion—working for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
As a certified vehicle recovery specialist in the Reserves, Oscar worked on trucks, trailers and anything else with an engine. Her ambitions took flight during a visit to the National Aviation Academy in Clearwater. That visit led to intense soul searching that sent Oscar down a new path – studying aviation. “I had always heard the old adage, choose the job you love and you won’t work a day in your life,” she says. “But I wasn’t living it. I had to make some real changes.”
Those changes included ditching her high-paying job and fancy car and eventually relocating to South Florida to study at The Aviation Institute at Broward College. She met her financial shortfall thanks to merit scholarships, which reaffirmed that her career was on the right path.
Between working two jobs and her studies, Oscar’s days are long and nights are short. “For two years, I’ve been living off of five hours of sleep,” she says. “I am happier than ever, I’m not stressed and I have peace of mind.”
Oscar has never looked back, saying she is optimistic and well prepared for her future career. “Women are underrepresented in the aviation field and Broward College makes sure we are prepared in terms of employment,” she says. “Many professors are still active in aviation. Their experiences traverse into the hangar. I know what to expect in the workplace because of them.”
Oscar graduates with an associate’s degree in aviation maintenance management. At 27 years old, she will also have an FAA airframe and powerplant mechanic’s license. “This license is a jewel,” says Oscar. I can work on private planes, commercial planes and wind turbines. Because I have this license I can do almost anything. The sky is not the limit at this point.”
The native New Yorker is not placing any geographic limits on where she wants her career to take off. “I would like to work for Delta Airlines in Atlanta, or possibly in Seattle for Boeing,” she says. “At some point in the future, I would also love to return to Broward College to teach.”