I didn’t face too many external challenges earning a college education because my family was always supportive. However, I had my own self-doubts and insecurities. I never thought I was good enough, but getting involved in activities at HCC and taking classes outside the traditional English, math, science, and history track helped me build critical thinking skills and challenged my ways of looking at the world. I became involved in PTK and Student Government. After earning my AA at HCC I transferred to UF where I earned a BS in Journalism. While at UF I wrote for the Independent Florida Alligator, volunteered at Gainesville Fire Rescue, and worked at the YMCA. I stayed committed to non-profit work in my career and served at Saint Leo University, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg College, and am now at BayCare.
I spent the first 10 years of my professional life working for universities, but I always had a passion for the vital role community colleges play in our education system and our society. When I had the opportunity to work at another two-year college I felt like my professional and academic life had come full circle. I was helping students in the same way HCC helped me 20 years earlier. And I’m continuing that work through my current role which helps students connect with the mental health services they need to achieve their academic goals.
HCC provided me with the foundation for a lifetime of learning and service. I believe in the community college mission to serve anyone who wants to learn and grow. I was inspired to study adult education in graduate school because I wanted to support others who seek ways to make a difference in their lives and, in turn, a difference in our community.
If it wasn’t for HCC, my path to earning a bachelor’s degree would have been much more difficult. Smaller classes and the opportunity to volunteer through PTK and Student Government helped me push myself academically and gain the confidence I needed to attend a large state university after leaving HCC. I had amazing professors who took their time to ensure we understood the material. I always felt they genuinely cared about me not only as a student but as a person.