Pernilla Sorenson

From Sweden to Broward College, International Student is Aims High on the Court and in the Classroom

Despite collapsing to the floor during basketball practice this season with what doctors later described as a heart irregularity, Pernilla Sorenson didn’t skip a beat. She continues to live, eat and breathe basketball, much to the delight of her teammates, coaches, and family back home in her native Sweden.

Since arriving in Florida from Sweden to attend Broward College two years ago, Sorenson has been a standout on the basketball court.  Her athletic prowess may not have come to light had doctors not found that Sorenson suffered from a genetic condition that required, of all things, additional physical activity to prevent her blood pressure from lowering to levels that would cause her to lose consciousness. In other words, the diagnosis was to play more basketball.

And she did. When she’s not at class or in the library, Sorenson can always be found in the gym shooting baskets. Because of her focus and work ethic, she was this year named to the All-Southern Conference second team for the second consecutive year. Last season for the Seahawks, she averaged 11 points per game and ranked nationally among the top 100 rebounders and top 50 three-point shooters.

Excellence on and off the court

Pernilla SorensonBut Sorenson doesn’t just draw raves on the court, her professors and the international admissions staff applaud her attentiveness and quality of work in the classroom as well. She is a finalist for the Florida scholar-athlete of the year and will graduate from Broward College in May with a 4.0 grade-point average. As a business major, Sorenson was named to the 2018 National Junior College Athletic Association Academic All-America team. She will continue her academic and basketball careers on scholarship in the fall at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

“I’ve always had a goal to play basketball and at a high level,” said Sorenson, who shares a home 10 minutes from Broward College Judson A. Samuels South Campus with four other Swedish players on the Seahawks women’s basketball team. Each is a scholar-athlete in their own rights.

The unlikely quintet decided to attend Broward College together when they were recruited by women’s coach Brian McCormick who was impressed by their play on club teams in Sweden.

“I wanted a challenge,” said Sorenson. “I wanted to do something different. Broward College was a good way for me to get a degree and at the same time play basketball.”

Establishing a home away from home

The adjustment to college life abroad in the United States was made easier by the culture and language she shared with her Swedish teammates.

“My English has improved a lot,” said Sorenson, who is admittedly shy. “In the beginning, I was very quiet. I couldn’t be myself. But the people here have been nice.”

Sorenson said her teammates are inseparable. They bike together and go to the beach and mall, but with their focus always on school and basketball.

“Our team is very close,” said Sorenson, who misses traditional Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes, but has come to terms with lasagna and pasta with carbonara and Bolognese sauce. “We’re like family here.”

And, although she misses her family back home, she keeps in touch with her parents and sister and brother on FaceTime.

“Everything has worked out pretty well,” said Sorenson. “It’s been a goal of mine to graduate with a college degree. “It’s a nice feeling to know that I’ve accomplished that.”

Broward hosts F-1 and M-1 visa international students from nearly 150 different countries. Applying to Broward Col Broward as an international student is simple.

Professor of the Year 2018-2019

Broward College Names the 2018-2019 Professors of the Year

Following the tradition to recognize the best of our faculty, Broward College announced the winners for the 2018-2019 Professor of the Year awards. The awards celebrate dedicated, innovative, and creative part-time and full-time faculty. Professors are nominated by their peers and students on each campus. 

Professor of the Year 2018-2019Twelve faculty members collegewide will be recognized this year during the spring commencement ceremony at the BB&T Center in Sunrise on May 7.  

Hugh Adams Central Campus

  • Professor Brian Faris has been an employee of Broward College for the past 18-years. He became a full-time faculty member in August 2007 teaching courses in Networking Services Technology. 
  • Dr. Behnoush Memari has been a full-time professor of Chemistry at Broward College since 2003. She has served in several roles at the College, including, associate academic dean, contextual consultant, and e-Associate for Instructional Technology. She was named Endowed Teaching Chair in 2008 and 2013 and was also previously named a Professor of the Year.
  • Professor Jennifer Millien is a part-time professor of Media Technology since 2016. She is actively involved in the Women in Film Association for Broward College.
  • Professor Serge Komovsky has been a part-time professor of Mathematics at the College since 2015. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the National Aviation University in Kiev, Ukraine. 

North Campus 

  • Professor Amber Abels has been teaching Biology and Anatomy at Broward College for the past two years as full-time faculty. She is currently working towards a Doctorate in Education with a focus on educational technology at the University of Florida.
  • Professor Marcus Sousa is a former Broward College student who earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary Mathematics Education from the College. He now teaches Mathematics part-time alongside his former instructors.
  • Dr. Leon Weissberg has been an educator for 48 years. He has been with Broward College for the past five years teaching different history courses. Dr. Weissberg is currently a part-time professor of American History for the College Academy.

Judson A. Samuels South Campus 

  • Professor Simone Keize has been teaching full-time at Broward College since 2013. In addition to her role as professor, she created the Accountant Students Association (ASA), which helps students with networking, scholarships, and job opportunities.
  • Professor Yvonne P. Morris is a part-time professor at the ArtsHumanitiesCommunication and Design Pathway at Broward College since 2009. She is also an author, speaker, and certified holistic life coach that holds master’s degrees in Communication and HR Management. 
  • Professor Jennifer Killam has been teaching English for Academic Purposes for the past two years as part-time faculty. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Composition and Applied Linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Online Campus 

  • Professor Margo Butler is a full-time faculty member of the Liberal Arts department. She started at the College in 1998 and was one of the first to develop an online course for Broward College Online
  • Professor Douglas Phinney is part-time professor of American History at the College for the past ten years. He was first a professor at South Campus and later moved to Online as the College created its Online campus. 

Congratulations to our Professors of the Year! 

Learn more about Broward College and its exceptional faculty by visiting 

Photo of Lucas Ferreira

Broward College Student Awarded Prestigious Transfer Scholarship

Lucas Araujo Ferreira, a student at Broward College, is one of 61 recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s prestigious Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The highly competitive national scholarship will provide Ferreira with up to $40,000 annually for a maximum of three years to complete his bachelor’s degree.

Photo of Lucas Ferreira

Ferreira, of Hollywood, Florida, will receive an Associate in Arts with a specialization in computer science at the Broward College spring commencement ceremony in May. An Honors student graduating with a 3.92 grade-point average, Ferreira is a former student government president and new student orientation leader who overcame financial hardship in his native Brazil before immigrating to the United States to enroll at Broward College. Ferreira plans to transfer to an Ivy League school in the fall, where he will pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

“Broward College is extremely proud to have one of our own students selected for this esteemed award,” said Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile, Esq. “The Jack Kent Cooke scholarship is confirmation of what we at Broward College already know: that Lucas, and many of our students, are remarkably driven, resilient, talented and highly deserving of this award, and every support available to ensure their success.”

Since the launch of the scholarship in 2000, 21 Broward College students have won the award. In addition to the monetary grant, these new Cooke Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising from Foundation staff to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year school and preparing for their careers. The Foundation will additionally provide opportunities for internships, study abroad, graduate school funding, and access to a thriving network of nearly 2,500 fellow Cooke Scholars and alumni.

Nearly 1,500 students applied for the 2019 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The Foundation evaluated each submission based on academic ability, persistence, leadership, and service to others. The recipients selected represent 18 different states, have a median household adjusted gross income of $28,000 and an average GPA of 3.93. This year’s cohort of Cooke Transfer Scholars has applied to the nation’s most selective institutions.

Interested in learning more about the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship? Sign up to receive an email alert when the application opens again this fall!

2019 Endowed Teaching Chair

Seven Exceptional Faculty Members Recognized with 2019 Endowed Teaching Chair Awards

On Thursday, April 18, 2019, seven faculty members were surprised in their classrooms with the 2019 Endowed Teaching Chair awards. The Broward Community College Foundation established the project in 1989, in celebration of the College’s 30th anniversary, to highlight exceptional faculty.  

“We seek to identify the very best of our faculty and recognize their fantastic work,” said President Gregory Adam Haile, Esq. “It’s important for us, the College, to celebrate them. And what better way to do so than with the Endowed Teaching Chair Awards.”  

2019 Endowed Teaching ChairThe awards recognize faculty members that pursue innovation in the classroom. The $10,000 grant that accompanies the recognition is intended for professional development and to support the implementation of projects that improve the classroom experience for students. Each chair is sponsored by an organization from the community. 

“My students are the reason I’m here. I want to see them succeed, I care about them, and they make my job the best job in the world,” said Savena Budhu Barajas, assistant professor of English as she reacted to the unexpected visit. 

The seven recipients were selected by a panel of their peers following an in-depth review. They are: 

Children’s Opportunity Group Endowed Teaching Chair – Dr. Savena Budhu Barajas is an assistant professor of EnglishShe developed the Caribbean Literature course that may be used as a General Education requirement. Dr. Barajas is a recipient of the 2012 Student Life Development award and Professor of the Year. 

Bank of America I Endowed Teaching Chair – Dr. Scott Demsky is a math professor. He took a break from teaching and spent 25 years at IBM as a software developer. Dr. Demsky returned to higher education at Broward College, where he is also a member of the College’s Critical Thinking Learning Society. 

Bank of America II Endowed Teaching Chair – Benjamin Botero is a Criminal Justice assistant professor, holder of three master’s degrees. He is also the mentor to the Criminal Justice Club. Botero received the 2017 Broward College Central Campus Professor of the Year, and it’s a two-time ASPEN Faculty Innovation Award recipient.  

Margaret and Cato Roach Endowed Teaching Chair – Lourdes Heuer is an assistant professor of English, advisor for the Broward College Online Read Book Club, and a member of the College Read Committee. She is also a member of the National Council of Teachers of English and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

International Education Endowed Teaching Chair – Dr. Isis Silva is an associate professor of Education. Silva has presented at the annual Council on International Education Exchange conference in Barcelona. During the 2019 spring break, she helped lead a study abroad course for the College in France. 

Gaddis Corporation Endowed Teaching Chair – Rudy Jean-Bart is an assistant professor of History. He is the faculty advisor for the Black Student Union and Food for Thought. A recipient of the ASPEN Faculty Innovation Grant, Jean-Bart has hosted the college-wide TEDx event.  

Cleveland Clinic Florida Endowed Teaching Chair – Dr. Ellen Glazer is an assistant professor of Computer and Information Science and recipient of two ETC awards, the first in 2006.  

[ngg_images source="galleries" container_ids="6" display_type="photocrati-nextgen_basic_slideshow" gallery_width="600" gallery_height="400" cycle_effect="fade" cycle_interval="10" show_thumbnail_link="1" thumbnail_link_text="[Show thumbnails]" order_by="sortorder" order_direction="ASC" returns="included" maximum_entity_count="500"]

For more check out our photo album on Flickr.

Learn more about Broward College and our exceptional faculty, visit 

Automotive Technology

Changing Perceptions – Women in Automotive

Sometimes life’s biggest challenges can be turned into rewarding events. This is the case for Ashley Burroughs, who stumbled upon her future career when she totaled a beloved family car back in 2012.

“At the time, I was working in restaurants and barely making enough to get by. I couldn’t afford to repair the car, so I figured I would try to do it myself. I asked a good friend of mine who tutored me through it,” says Ashley. “By the time I was done with it, I realized that this was something I could do professionally.”

Automotive TechnologyAutomotive Technology is one of over 140 programs offered at Broward College. The program, which started at the College in 2006, trains students to become auto specialists qualified to work on the highly-sophisticated cars of today. In partnership with the Broward County Technical Colleges, Broward College provides technical training for the students at an affordable price.

The training follows dealer-specific requirements that include engine repair, electrical systems, brake, transmissions, and more.

Women in Automotive

Throughout the entire industry, women are underrepresented. In 2017, women represented 26.7 percent of the industry’s workforce in all positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When it comes to automotive technicians, women only represent 9.6 percent of the employees.

“It’s sad to see such a small percentage of women in this industry,” says James Norton, professor of Automotive at the College. “The female students that have completed this program have gone on to hold positions as Service Advisers, Service Managers, Mechanics, and more. And they tend to do better than their male counterparts.”

Ashley worked as a mechanic for a year before enrolling in College, and during that time she faced discrimination not only from clients but from her friends and family. “It was very frustrating having to deal with sexism, but at the same time I found more purpose to be the best I could be and show that I am just as qualified and can do the same or even a better job than my male colleagues,” she says.

Ashley’s ultimate goal is to work as a technician for General Motors. She currently holds six Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications.

The industry – Facts and Numbers

The automotive industry is expected to grow 6 percent through 2026. As of 2017, the median pay was $39,550 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Interested in pursuing a career in Automotive Technology? Visit the program’s website.

Register for an information session and program tour here.

Learn more about career opportunities in the Industry, Manufacturing, Construction, and Transportation (IMCT) Pathway, here.

Sidney Oakes

Changing Perceptions – Women in Marine Engineering

Sidney Oakes is focused on the task at hand. She’s repairing a boat engine as part of her training to becoming a Marine Engineer. It’s the kind of job that requires her full attention. Currently, Sidney is working towards the first milestone of the program: becoming a certified Marine Electrician.

The 21-year old inherited her passion for g the field from her father. Thanks to his encouragement, she decided to make that passion into a lifetime career. So, she enrolled in Broward College in January 2019.

Broward College offers the opportunity to earn an Associate degree in Marine Engineering while also earning important certifications in the field. The two-year program combines technical and academic training that meets the needs of the industry. The College partnered with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) to offer the most up-to-date curriculum. In Broward County, one of the leading locations for the yacht industry, this program is in high demand.

Women in Marine

Women represent only 9.3 percent of the industry’s workforce in the United States. Worldwide, the number is even lower, with studies showing the number of female marine engineers at 2 percent.

Sidney Oakes“It’s not easy to go into a field that’s so heavily dominated by men,” explains Sidney. “Had I not been encouraged and supported by my dad from a very early age to follow my dreams, I may not have gone into this field.”

For her, seeing a more balanced gender representation is imperative to inspire more women to enter the industry. “Seeing more women in Maritime jobs will inspire women to disregard biases and prejudices and pursue a career as Marine Engineers,” she explains. “Both men and women can do this job. We just need to educate women from early that whatever their dreams and goals are, they can accomplish them if they work hard.”

For these percentages to grow, industry experts believe inclusion must start at the education level. “Sadly, there is not a drastic increase in the number of female students in the programs,” says Alvaro Lopez, program manager of the Marine Engineering program at Broward College. “Over the past ten years, our numbers have remained the same. For every 25 male students, only two or three are female.”

He feels that at the professional level change is already evident. “Every day I see more women engineers occupying positions on big ships and mega yachts. I’m also seeing more women in senior management positions in Marinas and shipyards,” says Lopez.

The industry – Facts and Numbers

With an average pay of $90,970 per year and an expected growth of 12 percent through 2026, Marine Engineering is a high-demand profession.

Marine technicians are hired for the maintenance, repair, and design of the internal systems of ships, yachts, sailboats and such.

Learn more about job opportunities in Marine Engineering.

Are you interested in touring the facilities? Register on Eventbrite for information sessions.

Kari Castaneda

Fall 2018 Proud Grad - A Story of Second Chances

When talking about second chances, Broward College student Kari Casteneda can tell you that she has had many, especially as it relates to college. And now, all her hard work is about to culminate with the milestone every student aspires to reach: graduation. To celebrate this achievement, Kari has decided to share the news with her father in the most heartwarming, and surprising, way.

Second chances

Kari CastanedaThe 29-year-old started her higher education journey in 2007, but at a young age, she was still unsure of what she wanted to do. After changing majors several times, Kari finally threw in the towel and returned home to South Florida, where she completed her associate of arts degree at Broward College almost four years later. She went on to secure a good job, but her dad was disappointed that she didn’t go on to complete a bachelor’s degree. He had graduated college with an associate degree and his dream was for his daughter to achieve more than he did.

Broward College offers the pathway to a dream

In January 2018, Kari decided to return to Broward College to finish her bachelor’s degree in Business Supervision and Management, the same place that had previously provided her with academic support. With help from her advisor, she decided to pursue a degree in supervision and management, concentrating on human resource management.

As her dreams to graduate started to become a reality, Kari approached her mom with the news. However, she also asked her mom not to tell her dad, as he had been disappointed each time she would enroll and then stop. After several months of intense studying and arduous work, on December 13, three days before her 30th birthday, Kari will complete her bachelor's.

This morning before her graduation, she plans to go to her dad’s home wearing her cap and gown, surprising him with the achievement he has always hoped she would realize.

“It’s amazing how everything worked out the way it needed to when it needed to,” said Kari. “Thanks to Broward College.”

Abigail Francois

Fall 2018 Proud Grad - Abigail Francois Completes the First Bar to Her Career as a Lawyer

Abigail will be the first in her family to complete a degree. It’s a proud moment for the Hollywood native whose parents are from Haiti as she graduates this fall with her Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice. 

Abigail FrancoisAbigail was one of the exceptional students in her high school class but chose Broward College over a four-year institution because of the affordability. “When I found out that the program I was interested in, was offered here, I couldn’t be happier,” she says. “It meant not having to take a loan, so money-wise it was better.”

But, getting to this point was no easy feat for the 20-year-old. Even as a recipient of the Broward Futures scholarship recipient she has for her two years in College worked two part-time jobs while attending school full-time. “My dad is the only one employed, she explains,” “I am from a family of eight, so I have to help I have to help my parents with bills, my younger siblings and cover day-to-day expenses for myself.”

Abigail’s days are hectic, often rushing from one job to another. She admits it’s exhausting and some days even overwhelming, but despite all that, she’s made every effort to participate in extracurricular activities at Broward College. She is an active member of the Broward College Criminal Justice Club which has helped strengthen professional goal.  “The thing that has kept me going is the thought of obtaining my degree and becoming a lawyer. Just knowing that everything I'm going through now is worth it and that I will get there one day.”

She also credits her determination to succeed as a result of the support she received from classmates, professors, and staff of the Criminal Justice program. “Wow, if it wasn’t for people at Broward College like the one sitting next to me, I don’t know how I would make it,” she says turning to Kelly Newton, administrative assistant at the Institute of Public Safety.

Abigail will transfer to South Florida State University (SFU) to complete her bachelor’s in Criminology. She leaves some words of advice for students who sometimes feel like giving up ‘Always focus on the end, not the present. You’ll get there.”

If you’re inspired by Abigail’s journey, let Broward College help you get started on your career in Criminal Justice.


Edj Cadet

Fall 2018 Proud Grad – Nursing Graduate Found Life Calling After Car Accident

Edj Cadet has turned her most challenging setback into an opportunity to help others. In May 2016, the Haitian native was involved in a car accident that changed her life forever. Two years later, Edj is graduating with her Associate of Science in Nursing and plans to further her education in the field.

Edj CadetHer passion and dedication as a student have provided several recognitions, among them, she was one of 44 students named as the 2019 Siemens Technical Scholars.

The Accident that Changed my Life

“It was horrific.” That’s how Edj describes the car accident which took her several months to recover. “After the accident, I basically had to relearn how to do the most basic stuff,” she says. “I still have scars from it, the entire right side of the face near the ear, my whole back… But this accident inspired me to pursue my career in Nursing.”

Edj desired to become a Nurse when she was sent home from the hospital before her recovery was complete due to expensive medical bills. Her mom took over her day-to-day care. Experiencing the tenderness and compassion from her mom inspired Edj to do the same for others.  “Having my mom taking care of me, seeing how dedicated she was to my care, it just made me realize that I was lucky and that not everybody had somebody to take care of them,” Edj says.

2018-19 Siemens Technical Scholar

Recovering from the accident was proof of Edj’s resilience. She knew that pursuing a career in Nursing at Broward College was demanding, but she was determined to excel. Her commitment was recognized by the Aspen Institute and Siemens Foundation which named her a 2018-19 Siemens Technical Scholar. This award is given to students preparing for high-demand jobs in Advanced Manufacturing, Energy, Healthcare, and Information Technology.

Edj shared a $25,000 prize with two other Broward College Nursing students who were also named winners of the prestigious award. The scholarship will allow her to cover tuition costs and other expenses when she returns to school to further her education.

“This recognition inspires me to continue to be great at whatever I do to show that just because you chose a community college as your route doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be successful,” she says.

Edj will be the first college graduate in her family.

Are you a first-generation student? Learn more about the College’s #Firstgenproud initiative.

Learn more about the career opportunities in Health Sciences and Nursing.

Jose Perez

Fall 2018 Proud Grad - Jose Perez Combines Nursing and Boxing to Promote Community

Jose Perez is a South Florida transplant who has proven that if you dare to dream and remain determined, nothing is impossible. Jose, 36, a single father of two young girls, is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing after pursuing careers in the Culinary Arts, Emergency Management Services and Boxing.

Jose Perez

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to a Puerto Rican Father, and a mother of Israeli descent, Jose was always encouraged to pursue his dreams. That’s what initially led him to Boxing. While following the path to professional Boxing, he eventually attended culinary school and graduated with a degree in the Culinary Arts. For a while, Jose enjoyed a successful career in the restaurant industry in New York City. Then, in 2004 when his mother died, he quit his job and moved to Miami to help raise his younger siblings.

A Passion for Nursing

Once again, he started pursuing professional boxing, even competing in the Olympic Team Trials.  Shortly after he returned from trials, his oldest daughter was born. Jose quit professional Boxing, so he could go back to school to become a firefighter or paramedic. 

He struggled to find employment in the field, working for a private ambulance company and then in the Emergency Room at Cleveland Clinic.  It was there that he discovered his love for medicine.  Committed to always completing what he started, he finished his degree in Emergency Medical Services and went on to an Associate degree in Nursing.  In December 2014, he passed his Nursing Council exams and hired at Jackson North Medical Emergency Room. 

Giving Back to the Community

Jose Perez

Working in the Emergency Room, Jose saw first-hand the effect of illnesses and diseases on patients. He wanted a way to encourage people to take more interest in health and wellness. This desire led him back to his passion – Boxing. He soon opened his Boxing gym - Flaco’s Community Gym for kids and adults in Hollywood. It was a way to help promote a healthy environment and support family health using physical activity.

Today, Flaco’s Community Gym offers more than physical activity. Jose is giving back to the community through multiple programs including partnering with Fort Lauderdale Independence Training and Education, (F.L.I.T.E)., through which he sponsors older children, who are phasing out of foster care, offering them a physical outlet for their emotions and stress.  He also hosts two charity events a year, both named after his daughters Briana, and Thaia.

The first is Thai’s bookbag giveaway, a back to school event where he donates 200 bookbags filled with school supplies and the second, Breezy’s Butterball Bash where he gives away 100 frozen turkeys. 

Jose has always used his knowledge of anatomy and the body system to promote health and wellness, but, after graduation, he sees more of a future in servicing the community through nursing and healthcare. Do you want to use your profession to do more in the community? Learn more about a career in Nursing and the Health Sciences.