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They Dared to Dream – Spring 2018 Graduation Profiles

May 4, 2018 | More People

Kathya De la Fuente

Kathya moved to the U.S. from Mexico three years ago to pursue the dream of a better education, even though she says, ”I barely spoke English when I got to the United States”. Now a 20 year-old permanent U.S. resident living in Pembroke Pines, Florida, Kathya’s passion for learning has definitely yielded results. Not only did she learn English, but she also earned several scholarships to attend Broward College including an Honors Scholarship and Books Scholarship. Kathya says that these scholarships helped pay for summer classes that she couldn’t have afforded, but needed to complete her degree.

Kathya describes her time at Broward College as “Amazing!” She joined many organizations while attending the College including the Public Relations Club, the Student Government, the Science Club, the Student Planning Board and Phi Theta Kappa, where she served as the vice president. In addition, Kathya’s Honors classes pushed her to get out of her comfort zone and helped her realize her true potential. Kathya says, “When I put no limits on what I do, I can do anything.”

She is earning her Associate of Science degree in Environmental Engineering and plans to continue her bachelors degree studies in environmental engineering and has applied to UF and Georgia Tech.

Ultimately, Kathya’s goal is to help people in third-world countries with limited access to clean water not only improve their water quality, but also their quality of life through education which becomes possible when children don’t have to walk miles each day to fetch water for their family’s daily needs.

Sara Varela

Sara VarelaThe outgoing Editor in Chief of the student-led newspaper, The Observer, Sara readily admits that she never imagined the opportunities and experience she has gained. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Sara moved to the U.S. in January 2012, at the age of 18. Soon after, the country she called home descended into political and economic turmoil.

She didn’t speak English well and her first step was to learn English. Within a year she had mastered the language and moved on to her associate degree. After researching various colleges and the programs she knew Broward College was the right one for her.

Originally, Sara enrolled in the Digital Multimedia program but when the Film Production program was introduced in the fall of 2015, she had finally found a way to study the two things she loved- video production and writing!

Sara was also able to pursue her passion for writing by becoming a staff member and eventually leading The Observer. “My first meeting I signed up for three articles. I had never written for any publication in my life and now look at me. Never let reluctance or fear deter you from trying. You could be closing the door on your future,” she said.

During her time at Broward College, Sara has won three writing awards and one design award from the Florida College System Publications Association. In addition, during the summer of 2017, Sara was invited to attend the prestigious POLITICO Journalism Institute, a fully-paid two-week program in Washington D.C. where she produced, filmed and edited a 2-minute video and 500-word article which appeared on POLITICO.com. Sara is the first community college student in the history of POLITICO to be chosen for this prestigious program. She currently works part-time in the Marketing department of the College assisting with video production and writing.

Caryn Warner

Caryn Warner is originally from Port Shepstone, South Africa and has lived in South Florida for 20 years. She came to South Florida with her parents as a child. They operated a local business for more than 10 years before returning to South Africa. “I missed having them around but wanted to explore the educational opportunities available in the U.S.,” she said.

After completing high school in 2003, Caryn enrolled in Broward College as an international student but couldn’t afford to keep paying for it. Almost ten years later after her residency status changed and with the encouragement from her husband she re-enrolled to complete her Associate of Arts degree.

She worked hard and earned straight A’s in her classes even while raising her young son and balancing family and academic life. She successfully completed her associate degree, but then decided to push herself even further to pursue her bachelors. Caryn didn’t know if she would be able to continue her classes because she didn’t think her family could afford it. Never one to back away from a challenge, she explored financial support available at Broward College and was awarded an American Dream Scholarship which allowed her to pursue her American Dream.

On May 8, Caryn graduates with a 4.0 GPA and is receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Supervision and Management, with a Minor in Project Management. Caryn says her studies have already boosted her performance in her current role as an office manager, but now, with her degree in-hand, Caryn will fulfill her dream of becoming a financial or project manager. Caryn’s husband and 8-year-old son couldn’t be more proud!

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