Renee Barrera

Reaching the Goal – A Personal Reflection from a Nursing Graduate During COVID-19

May 6 to 12 is Nurses Week under the theme, Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health.’  

As we celebrate the work of these frontline caregivers, we also pause to recognize the 116 Broward College nursing graduates who completed their training this term. They were required to make a hard transition week away from the finish line, and they did.  Unable to gather for their usual candlelight ceremony, the graduates will be recognized at a drive-through pinning commemoration at the A. Hugh Central Campus in Davie tomorrow.  

Among them is Renee BarreraIn this moving reflection, she shares with us her journey to this accomplishment. As she looks back at her challenging but rewarding journey, Renee also offers her thoughts on the near future as she joins the frontlines of a global pandemic. Read her story below. 

Renee Barrera
Renee Barrera

I have been thinking about writing this paper since the day it was mentioned on the first campus lab day. Ive sat down alone with my thoughts with intentions to start this paper many times since then. But each time I did so, I became very overwhelmed with emotions, and I put it away to start another day. Even now, as I am writing this, I feel very emotional. 

My journey to get to where I am today - hours away from being officially recognized as a graduate nurse has been a very long and tedious one. I distinctly remember the day I first spoke into existence, my dream of becoming a nurse. I was sitting in front of a prospective employer, and during the interview process, he asked me what I saw myself doing in five years. I answered, “Five years from now, I hope to have my nursing degree and be working in an Operation Room as an OR nurse.” That was in 2009.  

I didn’t begin my college journey until 2012. I was upset with that same employer and thinking about quitting. On a whim, I applied to Palm Beach State College to begin my nursing prerequisites. I was accepted immediately. He fully encouraged that decision. And there I was -  a newly divorced single mother with four children and a college studentIt was a difficult road. Between working full time, taking care of my children, and being a part-time night student, it took me five years to finish my prerequisites. It was a long period filled with ups and downs, quitting and restarting, doubting myself and my choices, and I was even jealous of the younger, kid-free students in my classes. The one thing that kept me going was the way my children looked up to me. The way they spoke of me, with such pride in their voices when people would ask them what their mommy did for work. I couldn’t quit, because, in their little eyes, I was achieving greatness despite my personal feelings of failing them for being gone so much.  

I spent most of 2017 applying to the nursing program at PBSC. I placed on the waitlist for both the spring and the fall semesters. I was upset and discouraged. Frustrated, I applied to the Broward College Nursing program, even though it was an hour away from my home. I submitted the application four days before the deadline for summer and received my acceptance within a week of applying. I was beyond relieved and excited, and so were my children. By then, six years had gone by, and my children weren’t babies anymore. They were middle school and high school-aged. They fully understood the magnitude of what I was about to do. I went to the orientation, feeling like I had finally made itThen, just three days into the program, I experienced my very first nursing school-related sacrifice: I missed my daughter’s high school graduation. It was the same day as my second mandatory campus lab day. I was devastated to miss such an important milestone in her life. 

Throughout the last two years, I have made many more sacrifices to complete the Nursing program. I remember my nursing coworkers telling me stories of how hard nursing school was for them. I also remember thinking to myself, “it can’t be that bad, or no one would ever do it.” I laugh at myself now for feeling that way. It is absolutely as hard as they all said it would be, and then some!  

When I was in Process II (a Clinical lab), I used to daydream of what it would be like to be at the end of this program, about to graduate. The thoughts of wearing white, wearing the nursing pin, lighting, and holding the candle, reciting the oath with some of the closest friends who have endured this journey with me by my side. It was supposed to be an amazing end to a very long and trying journey. I never imagined it would end without any of that. If I had known March 13 would be the last day in the classroom with my classmates and friends, I would have made sure to make it special. None of us knew that we would most likely not see each other again, let alone not have a fitting end to our journey 

I always knew that graduating and beginning a new job as a nurse would be nerve-wracking and scary, but exciting too. It is something I have looked forward to, but now, now it’s just scary. The excitement is gone. However, this is what I have aspired to do for the last eight years of my life, and I will do it because it’s my calling. Despite the fear and uncertainty, I will be the best nurse I can be for my patients. It is not happening at all the way I imagined it would, but at least I made it here! 

So, to answer the original question of “what were your experiences and thoughts as you transition into the graduate nurse role” in short, I’m scared. But eager to get out there and help any way I can because caring for the ones who can’t care for themselves is what makes me feel like a good person and brings me happiness.   

Tomorrow, Renee will have a personal cheerleading team as she is accompanied in her car by her four children, aged 20, 16, 15 and 14 years old, to receive her pin and carnation from the nursing faculty. Nurses make many sacrifices, to be A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health.’ We salute Renee and all our Nursing graduates – congratulations and thank you! 

Do you feel called to pursue a career in nursing? Find out more about that career and other Health Sciences programs offered at Broward College here 


Broward College Recognizes the 2019-2020 Professors of the Year

For our faculty, providing students with the best education possible is an essential part of their job. Still, many take that responsibility seriously and go beyond the call of duty to ensure student success. Every year, Broward College takes pride in honoring some of our outstanding faculty members for their work inside and outside the classroom. 

This year, even as we face the challenge of a pandemic that changed the traditional classroom experience for many students and faculty, it is just as important to recognize the commitment, dedication, and creativity faculty display in serving students.  The 2019-20 Professor of the Year Awards celebrates nine outstanding full-time and part-time professors on each of the College’s main campuses, including online. The professors, some of whom are Broward College alumni, were nominated by their peers and students. A committee reviewed the nominations on each campus. 

The awardees are:  

A.Hugh Adams Central Campus

Laura Raymond
Laura Raymond

Professor Laura Raymond is a proud Broward College alumna and the first in her family to attend college. She graduated with an Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies. Professor Raymond went on to earn Bachelor of Arts in Communicationsand a master’s in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Central Florida. She joined Broward College in 2014 and currently teaches Introduction to Speech Communication and Public Speaking. Professor Raymond also serves as the Chair for the Gay-Straight Alliance and NextGen clubs at the College. 

Dr. Noelle Crooks
Dr. Noelle Crooks

Dr. Noelle Crooks has been an assistant professor of Psychology at Broward College since 2014. She is the co-advisor of the Broward College chapter of the Psi Beta National Honor Society in Psychology and the Central Campus Psychology Club and was also a recipient of an Aspen Faculty Innovation Grant for her work on the #firstgenproud campaign which focused on first-generation college students at Broward College. Dr. Crooks holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s and a doctorate in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Wesley B. Wright
Wesley B. Wright

Professor Wesley B. Wright is another Broward College graduate. He holds degrees in Print Media, Creative Writing, and a specialty in Forensic Linguistics. He teaches in the English department. Before joining Broward College as a professor, he was awarded multiple gold and platinum albums as a successful musician and songwriter. Professor Wright believes that the key to being a successful professor is having an interactive relationship with every student in the classroom. 

 

Michael O Neill
Michael O Neill

Professor Michael O’Neill joined Broward College in 2011 and has taught National Government, Introduction to International Relations, State and Local Government courses, as well as Strategies for Success. Professor O’Neill earned a master’s in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University. He has also worked with the Broward College Academy at Central and North Campuses since 2014. 

 

North Campus 

Valorie Elbert
Valorie Elbert

Professor Valorie Elbert joined Broward College in 2001, first as an adjunct professor, then and transitioned to full-time in 2017. She is an assistant professor of English on North Campus and the North Campus Honors Coordinator. Professor Ebert is currently completing her Ph.D. dissertation on the many intersections of science fiction and fantasy literature. She is also the first vice president of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts and serves as the chair of the Honors Committee. 

Judson A. Samuels South Campus 

Rhonda Bob
Rhonda Bob

Professor Rhonda Bob  has served at Broward College for more than 20 years. She is an assistant professor of English for Academic Purposes on South Campus, where she teaches Grammar and Composition, Phonetics and Communication, and Reading. Professor Bob is a 2020-2022 faculty senator and has been accepted into the 2020 Cohort of the President’s Leadership Academy. She was also the 2014-15, 2015-16 Broward College South Campus Adjunct Professor of the Year. 

Dr. Brandi Coverson-Ridore
Dr. Brandi Coverson-Ridore

Dr. Brandi Coverson-Ridore  joined Broward College in 2011, teaching Introduction to Public Speaking and Introduction to Communication courses. Professor Coverson-Ridore holds a Bachelor of Science in media and Communications, a Master of Arts in Media and Communication, and a Doctor of Education in Leadership in Higher Education. With more than ten years’ experience teaching at various institutions, she loves motivating students inside and outside of the classroom. 

Online 

Jillian Wojcik
Jillian Wojcik

Professor Jillian Wojcik is a professor of Psychology who has taught at the College for more than seven years. In addition to teaching, Professor Wojcik designed the four fully online Psychology courses offered by Broward College Online. She completed the year-long course in Effective Teaching Practices through the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) while also serving as a member of the General Education Task Force. Professor Wojcik is also a Quality Matters Certified Master Reviewer, serving on national peer review teams to improve online course quality. 

Jason Aiken
Jason Aiken

Professor Jason Aiken joined Broward College in the fall of 2015. He teaches Economics. He began his career as a professor in 2005, serving in the Broward County Public Schools. In addition to teaching, Professor Aiken serves on the Broward UP Retention Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Math-Economics and Physics from Ithaca College in New York and has made academic contributions to the Florida Council on Economic Education.  

Congratulations to our 2019-20 Professors of the Year!  

You can explore Broward College’s main campuses and partnership centers and what they have to offer here. 

Learn more about Broward College and its exceptional faculty by visiting www.broward.edu. 


Philip Velez

#BCPROUD on the Frontlines – Philip Velez’ Role in Supply Chain During COVID-19

Whether it is a knock on the door, a ringing phone, an e-mail, handling invoices, checking stocks, or delivering supplies, for Philip Velez, a day at the office does not slow down. And that’s a regular day. With the COVID-19 outbreak, being the Director of Inventory and Supply for the Memorial Healthcare System (MHS) has become even more demanding. 

In December 2019, Philip culminated his studies at Broward College and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supply Chain Management. At that point, he already held the title of Director at MHS. Still, even as he celebrated his academic achievement, Philip never imagined what awaited him just a few months down the road and the critical role he would play in the fight against a pandemic. 

A Day in the Life... 

Philip’s job requires him to oversee the inventory of medical supplies from band-aids and syringes to personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and gowns. 

Philip Velez
Philip Velez

“It is my responsibility to make sure the hospital has enough supplies every day, from the personal protective equipment used by doctors and nurses to the equipment used on patients,” explains Philip. “With COVID-19, it’s become even more crucial that my team and I are on top of the demand for these supplies. We have teams of doctors dedicated solely to the virus, but we also have all our regular patients, so there has been a surge in demand for a lot of the medical supplies we deal with,” he says. 

As if that were not grueling enough, Philip doesn’t stay behind the desk. Still, he is up and running as he takes it upon himself to personally asses the stock of supplies on the upper floors and makes the deliveries necessary to support his team. 

Supply Chain During COVID-19 

While he currently holds a job in the healthcare industry, which is experiencing the most significant and most critical shortages of equipment, Philip has kept a close eye to the Supply Chain industry overall. “It’s scary and worrisome to see the global impact that this virus is having on the industry of supply chain which touches everything that we do, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. I’ve been on top of the developments outside healthcare as well, and this crisis is impacting everyone,” he says. 

A Challenge to Overcome 

Philip never imagined he would one day be on the frontline of a crisis like this. It has a personal and professional impact on him and his colleagues. "Personally, it takes a toll on all of us that have to be in the frontlines. We are sacrificing time with our families because we can't risk putting them in danger. I haven't been able to see my son and hug him in weeks because I know that with my exposure, it's very likely I could be infected," he says. "Professionally, I've never seen such a huge amount of supplies that have come in since all of this began, and we still have seen shortages in certain items. It's also been astounding the number of hours, everyone, around here, from my team and I to all the medical personnel, are putting in to help and somehow control the situation." 

Broward College Strengthens His Expertise 

When Philip decided to pursue a degree in Supply Chain Management, he already had almost ten years of experience in the field. In fact, he had applied for the Director's job before applying to Broward College. "My supervisors approached me once they saw I had applied for the position and asked if I was willing to further my education, which I was, but I just was unsure of exactly what degree to pursue," he explains. After some research, Philip found the Supply Chain Management program at Broward College and knew immediately that his search was over. 

"Even with my previous experience in the industry, what I learned at Broward College was of tremendous help at work. I already had the Director job, and sometimes I would come into work and realize that something I had learned in class the previous day would help out tremendously, and that's how it was," he says. "And during this pandemic, I'm applying the knowledge from the College, and it's been of so much help." 

You can join Philip and many other Supply Chainprofessionals with a degree from Broward College. Learn more about this field and other career opportunities within Industry, Manufacturing, Construction, and Transportation at Broward College. 


Rachel Guran

#BCPROUD on the Frontline – Healthcare Worker Rachel Guran Experiences COVID-19 Firsthand

On a typical day, it's a 24/7 work shift as the Director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention for Rachel Guran. Her journey to this position at Memorial Healthcare System took her along the path of several degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Psychology, a master's degree in Public Health, and the latest one, completion of the Associate of Science in Nursing at Broward College. 

"I was recommended to attend nursing school because I wanted to do epidemiology in a hospital setting, so having the hands-on experience as a nurse would give me an advantage when dealing with patients," Rachel explains. "Broward College was highly recommended to me by my supervisors because of its outstanding nursing program, and as I went through it, I couldn't have been happier with my choice." 

During this current COVID-19 pandemic, the responsibility and demands of her job are at an all-time high. To Rachel, however, who sees her position as a 'dream job,' it's just another day at the office. 

"Even with my experience in the field of infection and disease control, this is an unprecedented situation, but it is so with every new virus or bacteria that we come across," she explains. 

A Day in the Life... 

Rachel Guran
Rachel Guran

As Director of Epidemiology and infection Prevention, Rachel is always on call. Her team of Infection Preventionists walk the corridors of the hospital daily to ensure the implementation of safety and prevention protocols. Rachel also assists and educates hospital staff, patients, and the general public on measures to prevent the spread of viruses like COVID-19. 

“My everyday job is to keep everyone at the hospital and the community as safe as possible and prevent the spread of any infection or disease that may originate from our hospital,” says Rachel. 

In order to educate others, Rachel must remain on top of the latest data and information available. During the current pandemic, she is continually referring to the information released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health. She then holds informational sessions and “Just in Time” training for hospital staff in accordance with these updates. 

“In times like this, it’s when we must heighten how important epidemiology is,” adds Rachel. “Thanks to epidemiologists, we can understand risk factors and, as a result, establish the effective prevention methods we see now, such as social distancing. We are turning to them to learn how we can prevent COVID-19 and other viruses like it in the future.” 

Healthcare During COVID-19 

“Currently, we see everything in our job as it relates to the pandemic,” Rachel explains. “We are heightening our regular precautions and measures to prevent or at least minimize the spread of the virus in our community.” 

For healthcare workers like Rachel, protocols like regularly washing hands or carefully removing of their work clothes before entering their house was the norm even before this crisis. However, many of these measures are now a part of the general public’s routine, as well. For example, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is now part of the CDC guidelines, as well as part of Rachel’s everyday job.  

"One of the topics we are focused on -- because it's crucial that the general public knows and understands it -- is the appropriate use of PPE. It's not just about wearing a mask and gloves; it's about the proper use and disposal of such equipment to avoid cross-contamination." 

A Career in Healthcare 

The health industry's career possibilities are endless, whether as a frontline employee such as a nurse or doctor or an administrative role. There is no rulebook on the best academic path to follow in pursuit of a profession in the industry. In Rachel's case, she has a hands-on background with degrees in Psychology, Epidemiology, and Nursing, but whatever path you choose depends purely on your passion. 

"To do the type of job I do, you must love to learn. This job requires you to be constantly on the lookout for new information and data, and to be a great communicator to pass that knowledge on," she said. 

As parting advice, Rachel is determined to highlight the importance of the oldest trick in the book to remain healthy. 

"There's no such thing as washing your hands too much," she revealed. 

If you wish to follow Rachel’s footsteps in the healthcare industry, you can begin your journey pursuing a degree in Nursing at Broward College. 


Cast Your Vote – Student Government Associations Holds Elections for 2020-21 Academic Year

It’s business as usual for Student Life as the department will hold elections for new SGA members for the 2020-21 academic year. Despite transitioning to remote operations in March, the department has continued offering usual programming, including leadership workshops, skills training, and recreational sessions.  

The SGA elections take place every year in late April, are continuing as scheduled, although the deadline to submit applications was extended for a week as students adapted to their remote learning environment. Despite all candidates running unopposed this year, the Student Government Constitution states that elections must still be held. Students can apply for the following positions within the SGA: President, Vice President, and Chief of Staff. Students must meet the following requirements to apply: 

  • Must be enrolled in a minimum of six (6) credit hours per term, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 to run for office and a 2.0 previous semester degree GPA. College policy 6Hx2-5.13 dictates that a 2.0 GPA must be maintained in order to remain in office. 
  • Must have at least six (6) but no more than fifty (50) credits excluding preparatory classes if working on first A.A./A.S. degree and no more than 110 credits if working towards second A.A./A.S or B.A./B.S. to run for and hold office. 
  • Credit requirements shall be waived for members in their last semester of classes. It I not a requirement to take summer classes in order to hold position, however, all officers must be available for training as scheduled during the summer season. 

The positions that are not filled through an election will remain open and the Student Life directors will convene with the SGA members to select Student Life staff to fill those positions.   

Students can cast their votes online on Wednesday, April 22, and Thursday, April 23. Before you vote, take a look at the candidates for each campus. 

A.Hugh Adams Central Campus

Girls run the world, at least that’s the case for the SGA on Central CampusFor the upcoming academic year, a team of all-female students is running for positions 

Erika Noel is running for re-election in her current position as SGA president for the campus. Noel, who before becoming president, also served as a senator during the 2018-19 year. She is currently pursuing studies in the  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) pathway and plans on a career in biomedical engineering.  

Michelle Brennes is running for vice president after serving as a Board of Trustees senator in the past year. She is also majoring in the STEM pathway and wishes to become a diagnostic medical sonographer.  

Christina Brown is an international student from Jamaica, currently majoring in Health Sciences in the hopes of becoming a nurse. She is running for chief of staff after serving as senator of Clubs in 2019-2020, focused on helping student clubs with recruitment and programming initiatives. 

You can watch the platform speech for each candidate here. 

Judson A. Samuels South Campus and Partnership Centers 

Anahi Bardales wants to take on the role of president after serving as chief of staff in the last academic year. A Honduras native, Anahi is pursuing a degree in Exceptional Student  Education (ESE). 

Genica Rosa, an international student from Brazil, majoring in Business, is running for vice president after serving as programming senator 

Luis Becquer is new to the SGA world and is running for senator of Clubs. He is a member of the Women in STEM club and works as a tutor for his peers in the areas of math and science. Luis is originally from Cuba and is pursuing a career in chemical engineering. 

You can watch the platform speech for each candidate here. 

North Campus 

Tyshawn Stubbs hopes to continue serving the student body at North campus, as he seeks re-election as president. He is pursuing studies in communication and wants to transfer to the University of South Florida (USF) to earn a degree in Mass Communication. 

Keren Jean Baptiste wants to join Stubbs and serve as vice president for the students of North Campus. She is focused ohelping students in personal safety and student life programming initiatives. She is currently a student of the Health Sciences pathway and hopes to pursue a career in physical therapy.  

You can watch the platform speech for each candidate here. 

Each Student Life department will share the link to their respective voting poll online through their social media handles (@northbc, @bccentralsl, @bcsouthsl, @bcpartnershipsl). Results will be made public through their social media on Friday, April 24.  


Broward College Central Campus

Saluting our Broward College Front Line Employees

In the last five weeks, most of us at Broward College has transitioned to remote work or remote learning. But, to ensure the continuity of our services, more than 300 employees college-wide have remained on the front line. Departments, including Campus Safety, Information Technology, and Facilities, are currently operating at minimum capacity, but their staff remains as committed as ever to guarantee the College’s smooth operations. On-site support for some time also included Student Services staff and a few faculty members. Today, we pause to salute them and say, – thank you. Here’s an idea of what some of our team members are doing. 

Safety First 

Regardless of the number of people on campus, Campus Safety remains active. “Even during a crisis like this one, it’s important that the campus continues to be monitored regardless of the number of people being on campus or not,” says Ashley Harris, campus safety officer at the A. Hugh Adams Central Campus in Davie. “As of now, we still have employees working on-site, so we are here to assist them if they need and keep them safe.” 

While officers like Harris continue to do their job, the College follows the CDC guidelines for safety measures, which includes providing masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers to employees on campus.  In addition to implementing social distancing, it requires employees to remain at least six feet apart and allow the department to rotate personnel during the week to keep the number of employees on campus at a minimum each day. 

Keeping the Campus Going 

Chris Tavares
Chris Tavares

Just like Campus Safety, the Facilities team remains on campus to assistFleet Manager Chris Tavares, who is in charge of maintaining and managing the fuel for campus operations, along with his team. “My team is in charge of refueling the tanks for the golf carts used by all the departments on campus such as the officers from campus safety or the ground team,” explains Tavares“We also provide assistance in the repair of equipment for the electrical, material, and EMS departments.” The Facilities team was also instrumental in helping the College with Personal Protective Equipment Support (PPE) support to local hospitals. 

Running Smoothly 

The largest department to remain on-site is the Information Technology team, which continues to operate from all campuses. Their job is critical in ensuring the smooth transition for students, faculty, and staff to remote learning and work. Over the past month, they had to collect and reimage over 900 laptops to support staff and the College’s technology loan program t students. “With very short notice, we had to make sure that the equipment they were taking home was in great condition for offsite usage,” explains Lorne Cleaver, campus technology officer. “In total, we successfully prepped and loaned 625 laptops to students and 263 to staff.” 

Lorne Cleaver

To guarantee student success and allow the College to remain functioning while operating remotely. The department continues to offer support remotely for technical issues and concerns.  

Despite the challenges that come with being at work in the current crisis, each team we spoke with emphasized how much they love their jobs, their colleagues and the students. Given the choice, to keep the College going, being on the front line is a risk they are willing to take.  

“It’s important we continue to be hopeful and even for those of us who continue to work through this lockdown, we are grateful we are able to provide for our families and that the College is taking all the possible measures to ensure we are safe while we do our job,” says Harris.  

Broward College recognizes the efforts and resilience of our front line employees who continue to serve students staff and faculty during this crisis. Please join us in thanking them by using #SeahawksPersist. Interested in working or studying at Broward College? Visit www.broward.edu.


Central Campus SGA

Adapting to Remote Learning – Words of Encouragement from your SGA Representatives

It's the fourth week of remote learning for students through the spring semester, as part of efforts to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak. Broward College has resolved to support students in their journey to complete their academic goals. The unexpected transition has been a test for many as they find their footing in the remote learning environment. 

We spoke with the representatives of the Student Government Association (SGA) for North, the A. Hugh Adams Central, and Judson A. Samuels South campuses, who shared how they have been coping themselves and how they are helping their peers in this crisis. 

Support for our Peers 

Gabriel De Moura Neves
Gabriel De Moura Neves

Over the past few weeks, students have recognized the extensive set of resources the College has available to them. “Broward College has been extremely helpful with the great number of resources they are offering us the students to keep in track and to make this challenging situation a lot more manageable,” says Tyshawn Stubbs, SGA president for North Campus. 

Also, the SGA members have played a significant role as mediators between their peers and administrators. They have remained in daily contact with students through a group chat for members of the student-run clubs. SGA has also received questions and concerns through social media channels such as Instagram. 

"Through our group chat, we reach around 50 club members who, in turn, reach additional students," explains Gabriel De Moura, SGA president for South Campus. We continuously offer the College's updates and resources and keep an open line of communications so we can express their concerns or questions so we can direct them to the people who can help them."  

Erika Noel
Erika Noel

"The resources we share go beyond Broward College," explains Erika Noel, SGA president for Central Campus. "We also understand that our peers, very much like ourselves, are experiencing financial and mental health hardship, so we share resources that adapt to that side as well. And at the same time, we encourage those who can take advantage of resources to expand their skill set." 

The Challenges wFace 

During this crisis, Gabriel says he personally understands the various struggles faced by his peers. “It’s been extremely hard for me to adapt to this,” he says. “First, I’m not a remote learner, I get distracted a lot, and I’m not good with self-discipline. I also had to move away from Florida because I couldn’t afford it after not having my job anymore, so I’m with my family, and it’s hard to do any work while they are around the house.” 

Tyshawn Stubbs
Tyshawn Stubbs

Tyshawn and Erika relate to Gabriel to some degree. While their situation is a bit different, they have been experiencing similar obstacles. “For me, it’s been more about the resources at home, I had been without a laptop until I was recently able to get one from the College,” explains Tyshawn. As for Erika, who also works, keeping up a routine after this long is becoming harder. “I was just so used to being on campus and getting into school mode. At the beginning of the remote learning, it wasn’t too bad, but the longer this goes on, the more difficult it becomes for me to know how to manage my time between my school and my free time,” she says. 

Stronger Together 

While dealing with obstacles one day at a time, the SGA representatives remain hopeful and determined to succeed and help their peers. “Personally, what I miss the most is having that daily encounter with my peers and my professors,” says Tyshawn. “But while we may not be able to see each other face-to-face, for the time being, we must continue to check on each other and offer our help to others.” 

Students can stay connected with their SGA representatives via the following social media channels: 

North campus: IG @bcnorthsg 

Central campus: @bccentralsl 

South campus: IG @bcsouthsga 

If you are experiencing extra hardship during self-isolation, Broward College is offering an extensive set of resources that address academic tutoringpeer mentoringmental healthand more. You can find a full list of the student resources here. 


Armin Akbarpur Dehkordi

Armin Akbarpur Dehkordi: Broward College Honors College Opens Doors to Academic Scholarships

He moved to a new country, completed his final year of high school, and is weeks away from earning his Associate of Arts degree and transferring to the university of his choice with a full scholarship, all in less than three years. For 19-year-old Armin Akbarpur Dehkordi, his post-secondary academic journey has moved as quickly as this summary, and he has no regrets thanks to the opportunities he received at Broward College. 

Armin is one of seven Broward College Seahawks selected for the 2020 All-Florida Academic Team, which recognizes outstanding students for their academic achievement, leadership, and service to the community. The scholarship also guarantees full tuition for his transfer to Florida International University (FIU) in the fall.  

If you ask Armin, he doesn’t consider himself an extraordinary student. He’s disciplined and works hard, but seizing the opportunities available is what brought him to this point. Born and raised in Germany, he and his family relocated to the U.S. in the summer of 2017, where they settled in the City of Hollywood. He always dreamed of attending college in the U.S. So, he was excited for the opportunity to complete his final year of high school at South Broward High School but wasn’t sure what was next. He didn’t understand the college system or how to apply. He recalls completing a lot of applications as he tried to figure his way around. Then he heard about JumpStart at Broward College, which allowed him to register for courses the summer he ended high school. It meant giving up a part of his summer, but being ahead of his peers. 

Broward College as a pathway to academic success 

Armin Akbarpur Dehkordi
Armin Akbarpur Dehkordi

Armin, who plans to pursue sports medicine, says he chose Broward College for several reasons, including affordability and accessibility. “My first choice would have been Florida International University, and it is still the four-year institution of my choice,” says Armin, who wants to stay close to family. “But, I chose Broward College because I didn’t want to put a financial burden on my parents.”  

Not a native English speaker, he was encouraged by his cousins to start his post-secondary studies at a college instead of going directly to a four-year institution. Listening to his diction during our conversation, you couldn’t tell. But, Broward College has done more than strengthen his communication skills. His excitement increased as he shared his College experience. From faculty and staff who are accessible and encouraging, Armin feels he has gotten far more opportunities at the College than if he had gone straight to a university. 

Joining the Robert “Bob” Elmore Honors College opens doors to scholarships  

Armin’s most significant achievements have come through his involvement in the Robert “Bob” Elmore Honors College, where he currently serves as the vice president for the Honors Student Committee (HSC) on the A. Hugh Adams Central Campus. “I kept hearing about the benefits of joining the Honors College at any institution from my cousins who had gone to another college,” he says. “So, I decided to check out the website and then visited their office on one of the campuses.” Shortly after being accepted to the Honors College, Armin received the IRM’s scholar award, which covered most of his tuition at Broward College. Then in March, he was recognized among the PTK recipients of the All-Florida Academic Team. Only 116 students across the state were selected from the 27 state colleges. 

It’s not only the scholarships but also the wealth of learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom that makes the Honors experience one to be treasuredThey have a great staff. The team is always available and helpful,” he adds. His encouragement to fellow students is to explore the opportunities available through the Honors College. Interested students must meet specific requirements and complete an application. 

Maneuvering remote learning  

Even for a disciplined student like Armin, the transition to remote learning has been challenging. “There are times when members of my family interrupt lectures, and ask for help for certain things in the household. So, it’s sometimes hard to make them understand that I am in a class right now, and I can’t really help.” There’s also the challenge of being in the same place and not knowing when to set aside time to study. His solution is scheduling and making sure he keeps a calendar that includes even time to take breaks. He also relies on coping mechanisms such as exercise, meditation, reading, and playing games.  

But Armin thinks despite the challenge; remote learning has some benefits. “The professors are very forthcoming, and I see many of my instructions going the extra mile to make sure students succeed, so reach out to them and let them know when you need assistance.”   

You, too, can explore the opportunities offered through the Robert “Bob” Elmore Honors College. If you are in your final year of high school and want to hear more about Broward College JumpStart, click here. 


Dr. Stephen Dunnivant and students

“Education is the Only Way out” – New Central Campus President Understands Struggle, and Rising Above it

For the past few weeks, Dr. Stephen Dunnivant has enjoyed the warm welcome of students, faculty, and staff at the A. Hugh Adams Central Campus as he takes charge as campus president. Coming from Tallahassee Community College, where he served as the dean of Business, Industry, and Technology for four years, Dr. Dunnivant is excited to serve the culturally-diverse Broward College.

Rising Above the Challenges

Dr. Stephen DunnivantBorn in Memphis, Tennessee, to a barber and a waitress, Dr. Dunnivant experienced struggles as a child. “I come from a humble family, I’m one of five siblings, and we grew up moving around quite a lot,” he says. “It was thanks to my mother, who taught us all how to read and write and my older brother Sam, who later became an ATF agent and U.S. Marshall, that my siblings and I knew we could do better and have different expectations for our lives.”

Despite living in communities often riddled by violence, crime, and low literacy levels, Dr. Dunnivant knew that education was his only way out. By his junior year in high school, the family had settled in Panama City, Florida, where he worked several odd jobs from a custodian to a dishwasher, to running a men’s clothing store, while attending college.

He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Social Science from Florida State University, a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development from George Washington University, and a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Education Technology from the University of West Florida.

It’s About the People

Dr. Stephen Dunnivant and studentsDr. Dunnivant was inspired to join the College when he learned about President Haile’s approach to bringing college to challenged communities through Broward UP™. “I believe President Haile has one of the best agendas in the Florida College System to help people in these communities achieve their goals through education,” says Dr. Dunnivant.

His upbringing makes him passionate about the possibilities being created through Broward UP, which focuses on communities with the highest unemployment and lowest education levels. As he understands what it’s like to grow up in similar situations, he explains that “it’s not about attracting people to our campus but reaching out to the people in those communities to show them that yes, they are college-worthy, and they can get their college degree and rise above their current circumstances.”

The Unofficial Agenda

Dr. Dunnivant joins Broward College with over 27 years of experience in higher education, economic development, and workforce. Despite all that experience, he is not one to have an agenda. “I’m not coming here with an agenda,” he admits. “If anything, I’m focused on listening, learning and understanding a little bit deeper the ins and outs of the college and the community it serves as well as building up trust among faculty, staff and students.”

Even with this approach, Dr. Dunnivant still has a vision for what he hopes to accomplish. As a strong advocate of the liberal arts and general education, he believes that “we must continue to grow and strengthen programs that focus on teaching what we know as soft skills,” he says. “These skills are employability skills and have become one of the top requirements for employers.”

The Broward College family is happy to welcome Dr. Dunnivant to our campus.

 


Fall 2019 Commencement Ceremony

“Best Decision I’ve Made” – Youngest Broward College Graduates Share Their Experience

The recent commencement ceremony celebrated over 1330 students who completed their bachelor’s and associate degrees. Among them were two 17-year-olds, who were among the youngest to graduate this fall.

Rafia Ali and Touchelle Ferguson, both Coral Springs residents, who graduated on December 11, have earned an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree from Broward College. For Touchelle, she received the degree even before graduating high school, which she will complete in May 2020. This was possible through the Dual Enrollment (DE) program at Broward College, which allows students to take college courses while still in high school.

Rafia was also a student in the DE program but later enrolled at Broward College full-time.

The Benefits of Dual EnrollmentFall 2019 Commencement Ceremony

Through the program, students can earn high school and college credit simultaneously and are exempt from paying application, tuition, and laboratory fees at the College. The National Center for Education Statistics has seen a rapid gain in popularity of the program and has also noted the increase of “college-going behavior” among the young population. Rafia had heard about DE at her high school while Touchelle was encouraged by her mom to enroll after hearing about it from a friend.

“Having the opportunity to shorten my college career by two years was a great advantage for me,” says Touchelle, who will be applying to the University of Florida’s health sciences program to become an OB/GYN. Students who plan on pursuing long college degrees in fields such as medicine or law greatly benefit from completing their associate degree while still in high school.

“Doing DE may not allow you to have a ‘typical’ high school or college experience. Still, it’s worth it because you’re saving time and money,” explains Rafia, an honors student who will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Nursing.

Go for it! Young Graduates Embrace the College Experience

Balancing the workload of high school and college may sound challenging to many, but Rafia and Touchelle agree that people make it sound worse than it is. “When I decided to do my entire senior year at Broward College instead of my high school, I told all my friends about how great DE was and most of them decided to do the same thing I was doing. Afterwards, they all told me how much they liked the experience as well,” says Rafia.

“You will indeed make sacrifices here and there but after you get the hang of it, everything runs smoothly,” says Touchelle.

College classes felt like the ‘real world’ and attending classes on campus was like something out of a movie. “To me, my favorite part was the freedom to choose your schedule and your classes and walking on campus on your own time, watching and participating in all the different activities happening,” says Rafia. “And at Broward College, everyone makes you feel at home.”

Broward College welcomes young students to achieve their unlimited potential and work on their academic goals while still in high school. Check out our Dual Enrollment program and let us get you started on your college goals!