Graduation is a time of celebration at Broward College. The culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. Although each student wears the same cap and gown, the path they took to get to commencement is unique and each graduate comes from a different set of circumstances to reach this important milestone.

Below are just a few student success stories from the 2017 Spring Commencement:

Christina McMillan

When 37-year-old Christina McMillan crossed the platform, she took with her a unique perspective as an employee and a student. McMillan, an executive assistant with the Institutional Research department has been with the College since January 2008. She had earned her associate degree at the College years earlier, so choosing to return to her studies with the institution she loved was a “no-brainer.” This month, Christina graduated with Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management.

Studying as an employee has given her a greater passion for her job. Her experience has shown Christina just how much of a difference employees make in the lives of students. “Sometimes I interact just as a student, and I’ve experienced wonderful faculty and staff members who offer so much help. The model that we preach – that we are an institution for people who want to advance themselves – is true because it’s something I’ve personally experienced.”

Married with two children, Christina knows the true meaning of balance and attributes her success to perseverance. She hopes to pursue an MBA and continue to evolve her career right here at Broward College.

Scarlett Rocha

Scarlett Rocha is a first-generation college success story. The 20-year-old star athlete is credited with helping the Seahawks women’s basketball team to the state championship the last two years. However, basketball is just one of her talents – Scarlett boasts a 4.0 GPA and has been the recipient of numerous academic awards and scholarships.

Born to Bolivian immigrants, Scarlett’s success has not been a fairy tale. After her parents’ divorce, she moved back to Bolivia with her mom where she stayed until age 9. Scarlett then returned to the states to be with her dad and the father and daughter moved across several states until they finally settled in South Florida.

Just when they thought things were going right, they faced financial setback when her dad was laid off and the determined youngster took on a part-time job in high school to help out. Scarlett, who credits her dad as her greatest inspiration and support, describes herself as having a competitive spirit. “When I get on the court or in the classroom, I forget everything else because I want to win,” she said.

She will graduate with an associate in Biomedical Sciences and wants to pursue a bachelor’s in Neuroscience. Now, her biggest challenge is trying to determine if she prefers an academic or sports scholarship to one of the 16 universities to which she has applied.

Patricia Gallagan

Patricia Gallagan is only 20, but she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) and is one of the first graduates of the 10K Degree Program.

Patricia has always been extremely motivated. She was a dual enrollment student at Broward College and liked her experience so much that she hadn’t even considered pursuing her bachelor’s anywhere else. She developed her love for teaching after a few elective courses in education, so she enrolled in the Teacher Education Program (TEP) that fall.

A semester after starting her bachelor’s, she received an email telling her she met all the qualifications to participate in the 10K Program. Broward College offers 11 bachelor’s degree programs that meet Governor Rick Scott’s 10K degree challenge to the Florida College System, which provides a four year bachelor’s degree to students for no more than $10,000.

Patricia completed the application and the program paid for her remaining three semesters, even providing additional funding for some of her books. “What could be better than leaving school debt free? This is a great program, I tell everyone about it,” she said.

Even better, Patricia has already secured a job at Griffin Elementary School in Cooper City. She will begin teaching there in August.

Looking for more student success stories from the 2017 Spring Commencement that inspire?  Visit: The BC Blog!

Do you have a compelling story to tell or know someone who does? Let us know by emailing a short description to