Saturday, May 19, 2018

Transfer Feature of the Month From Delaware County Community College: Meet Correy Gibbs

When Correy Gibbs started his college career at Delaware County Community College in 2010, he had just graduated high school, wasn’t working yet, and could afford to focus all of his energy on his class work. But by the time he enrolled at Peirce College in 2016, he had a full time job, a busy personal life, and he wasn’t sure he had enough time in his day to continue his success as a student.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Well, two years later, Correy is maintaining a 3.85 GPA, and finds himself with less than one year remaining until he graduates with his Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Networking, Administration and Information Security.

Correy said he had a wonderful experience at Delaware County Community College (DCCC), but that it almost stopped before it even started. He originally declared as a Computer Science major, but after ten minutes into his new student orientation at DCCC, Correy said he quickly learned that his interest fell elsewhere. “My dad had steered me towards computers and I thought it’d be right for me, but then I learned about Network Engineering and thought it would be a better fit for what I wanted to do career-wise,” he says.

Immediately upon graduating from DCCC with his associate degree in Network Engineering, Correy was hired by the college full-time at DCCC’s IT help desk. Though Correy enjoyed his work and had no immediate intention of leaving DCCC, he started to become more and more interested in cyber-security and began to think that it would be wise to earn his bachelor’s degree. “Normally the guy they call to fix high-level data breaches has more than just an associate’s degree,” Correy said. “It was time to get back in school and get my bachelor’s.”

Correy first heard about Peirce from DCCC’s transfer counseling department as a student, but it wasn’t until he was a graduate working for DCCC that one of his co-workers told him he was planning to attend Peirce College for Information Technology. Remembering that Peirce allows students to take online coursework that would enable him to keep working full-time, he decided to enroll in the Network Administration and Information Security program in the fall of 2016.

Correy admits that it’s difficult to maintain such a high GPA since he still works full-time at Delaware County Community College, but he’s firm in his stance that nothing will prevent him from earning his bachelor’s degree. When asked if one particular class or instructor at Peirce has had a significant impact on him, Correy didn’t hesitate when he said he thoroughly enjoys classes taught by Professor Patrick Coyle. “His classes aren’t easy and he demands a lot from students, but there’s no way you can finish the class without learning all the information.”

When he’s not fixing anything and everything “tech-related” at Delaware County Community College or completing his studies online through Peirce’s PeirceFit® format, Correy enjoys fishing, mountain biking, and hiking. “If I’m not working with computers and getting networks back online, you can always find me outside in nature,” he says. We congratulate Correy on his successes to date, and wish him all the best in his future!

If you or someone you know is looking to transfer to Peirce College, please contact me, Tom Tschop, Manager, Institutional Partnerships, today at 215.670.9203 or ttschop@peirce.edu.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Introducing the 2018 Commencement Speaker: Harold T. Epps

Commencement is less than a month away. So now it’s time to reveal this year’s Commencement speaker…

Harold T. Epps!

As a child of first-generation college graduates and a natural born leader and businessman, Harold T. Epps, Director of Commerce for the City of Philadelphia, is just the role model our Class of 2018 graduates need as they start and advance their journeys into the region’s workforce.

Epps started his higher educational journey at North Carolina Central University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science, and continued his studies at Western New England College, where he earned a Master’s of Business Administration.

Throughout his storied career, Epps has served in a number of high-profile, senior leadership positions where he has led with passion, knowledge and purpose. He served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of PRWT Services, and as the company’s President and CEO from 2007 to 2014. Prior to that, he held executive roles at Quadrant, Menasha Corporation, and Polaroid. Throughout his career, Epps has built a solid reputation for positioning organizations for sustained growth, successfully managing change and restructuring, improving efficiency, spurring innovation and maintaining a focus and discipline of continuous process and performance improvement.

During a recent visit to campus where he met with some of our upcoming gradates, we sat down to ask Epps a few questions:

Tell us about your professional path. “I always wanted to be a businessman. I always wanted to be in charge and to run things. Now I have been doing that at a variety of levels for more than 25 years.”

What do you think makes Peirce and Peirce graduates special? “In recent years, my appreciation and awareness for how Peirce fits into what I call ‘the quilt of higher ed’ for Philadelphia has increased significantly. Peirce has the opportunity to strongly assist in changing the conversation and the gap in higher education. Two places in this city will play a role in closing the [degree attainment gap] and they are Peirce and Community College of Philadelphia. Peirce and CCP have geographic accessibility, affordability and a mission and a vision that embraces those that need a hand up.”

How can Peirce graduates stand out in the workforce? “Every day deliver your best self. You are much better served to receive positive action when you deliver positivity.”

What is your advice for our Class of 2018? “See it through. It is a saying that I learned as a child and which has reminded me to push through the most difficult times. Remember that you are not going to face anything that another person hasn’t already faced. The test of a person is not what they do in good times, but what they do in bad times.”

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We are so excited to welcome Harold T. Epps, Director of Commerce for the City of Philadelphia as the Peirce College 153rd Commencement Speaker!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Master Plumber to Master Student – Meet John Murphy

As a young professional, John Murphy took on the personal responsibility of running his father’s business by becoming a master plumber. After his father became ill and was ready to retire, John left his undergraduate career behind and went straight to the workforce.

After years of owning and running the family business, John was ready for a new scene. He transitioned into a bigger world when he started with SEPTA as a plumber. After 10 more years of working in his specialty, he decided he was ready to learn and grow even further in his career, which meant heading back to school.

Thanks to conversations with his father-in-law, John was inspired to go toward the direction of business. So with his goals in mind, he enrolled at Delaware County Community College (DCCC) ready and eager to achieve his associate degree.

Once John started hitting the books again, he discovered he had a more direct passion within the business world: Accounting. He had personal experiences where he learned first-hand how to balance some tax issues, which escalated his new possible career path.

After graduating from DCCC with his Associate in Science in Business Management, John was ready to narrow down his business mindset and focus on this new passion he had discovered. In 2015, John enrolled at Peirce College and began chasing his Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

His new career idea was only amplified as he continued to take classes with Peirce. “The accounting and finance professors here are phenomenal and kept my fascination alive. The real-world experiences professors talk about really draw you in,” explained John, “My wife would wonder why I would come home so late; it was because I would just sit there and listen to them.”

As much as the professors were a huge draw for John’s positive experience with Peirce, there was something else that kept him coming back session after session: Peirce Fit®. This innovative learning model allowed for John to balance his current job and his education. “Peirce Fit makes life a lot easier. You can always tell when you hit a hard spot in class because everyone is there, which is great,” said John, “I actually got sick for a couple weeks, so chose to do it online, and it eliminated the stress of needing to come to class. It’s nice having the choice.”

John even took a little trip down memory lane by discussing how he believes Peirce’s founder would truly appreciate and support this flexible opportunity, “Peirce Fit is definitely something Thomas May Peirce would have done and enforced. Based on what I have read, he was always trying to innovate and make things work for every individual.”

As a working adult, Peirce Fit made John’s Peirce experience much more relaxed and enjoyable. This led to his desire to come to campus more often and really create lasting connections. He said, “Peirce has such a sense of community. I didn’t realize how much I missed out on when I did all online. Now I have connections with people I have taken class with for two or more years. As I wrap up my career with Peirce, I am truly sad.”

As John prepares for graduation next month, he has some advice that can go a long way for any prospective or current student, “The hardest thing to do is to not be obsessed with when you finish such as saying, ‘I have x amount of classes left.’ It’s very stressful looking at it that way. Make smaller goals; make a simpler plan. Register out for one year and focus on that. If you look at how big and how long the trip is, it makes it harder to tackle. Look at things one step at a time and, remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Peirce College is incredibly proud to serve a student like John Murphy who is not only a dedicated learner and soon-to-be alum, but also a successful working adult who now holds the position of Manager of Facilities Programs with SEPTA. Congratulations to John on all of his accomplishments from school to work to life. We wish him much continued success!

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Results Are In! Meet the Second Annual Peirce Voice Winner

Peirce College is extremely excited and honored to announce the Second Annual Peirce Voice Winner: Nathaniel James Griffin III. This inspirational student is a former U. S Army Sergeant and served as a Combat Medic from 1986 to 2013. He is an ordained minister, a father of four children, a singer and songwriter, an inspirational speaker, and the founder and owner of The Sgt. Nate Fitness Studios in Center City Philadelphia. Oh, and he is about to be a Peirce College Graduate (for the second time) earning his Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership this June!

Nathaniel’s journey with Peirce College was not the traditional route. He enrolled at Peirce College in 1998 but left after his first year to start his own business. After realizing the need for a degree and further knowledge on opening and operating a business, he re-enrolled in 2012 and went on to receive his Associate in Science in General Studies in 2015.

After discovering his desire to learn, explore and share knowledge, he stayed on board at Peirce College and enrolled in the bachelor’s degree program for Integrated Leadership (now Organizational Leadership). During this season of study, he was able to immediately apply what he was learning directly to his business.

“It was a challenge juggling my academic studies, running a business and maintaining what was left of a social life. However, with the help of my academic advisor, the Walker Center’s amazing tutors and support from friends and clients, this former sergeant soldiered on,” explained Nathaniel.

Nathaniel is now considering going on to get his master’s degree this fall, which will serve him well as he continues to grow his business and train new leaders for the future.

As the Second Annual Peirce Voice Winner, Nathaniel will be the National Anthem singer at the 153rd Commencement Ceremony on June 11, 2018. When Nathaniel takes the stage to sing, it will not be his first appearance. Nathaniel performed the National Anthem at The Philadelphia Phillies game on July 4, 2001. He also performed on the steps of the Art Museum during the passing of the Olympic torch in 2000 and at The Sons of Liberty Ceremony in 2000 and 2001.

Peirce College is thrilled to have such a passionate and driven student (and soon to be alumnus) sing at this year’s commencement ceremony. Congratulations to Nathaniel!

Friday, April 27, 2018

A Resilient Advocate and Hero – Meet Gabriel Grove

Gabriel Grove, a 2015 Peirce alumna, has tackled some of life’s toughest challenges, but with a resilient and driven spirit, she has achieved more than she ever imagined.

In 2006, Gabriel was living in a homeless shelter with her children when she took a look around. In the midst of dealing with her own challenges, she could not help but notice how much larger the issue now affecting her family really was.

“I realized we all need to do more to help and bring light to homelessness in Philadelphia,” explained Gabriel, “Before the shelter, I was not aware of the extent of homelessness, especially with women and children.”

Even while she was busy caring for herself and her family as a resident of one of Philadelphia’s local shelters, Gabriel still found time to make a plan to help those around her.

First, however, Gabriel knew she needed to help herself and her family. She would begin with achieving a lifelong goal—degree attainment. “My end goal was always to earn my degree,” she said. “I knew it was needed; having experience was no longer enough. If I wanted to move forward in my career, I needed to check this off my to-do list.”

After taking classes at a variety of colleges and universities, Gabriel finally enrolled at Peirce in 2014 after hearing about the flexibility Peirce offered and the 25% tuition discount she received thanks to Peirce’s corporate partnership with Independence Blue Cross, her employer at the time.

“Peirce allowed me to complete my degree in a timely manner and with ease,” reflected Gabriel. “It truly is the college that really works for working adults and that is what I needed. I was ready to finally earn my degree and Peirce was ready to get me to graduation, faster.”

In 2015, Gabriel accomplished her goal and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Leadership (now called: Organizational Leadership).

Following this accomplishment, Gabriel set out on her next mission: changing the world.

In July 2017, Gabriel was finally able to set her dreams into action. She opened her very own non-profit, For Her Sake Foundation, Inc., where she collects essential toiletries—from toothpaste to soap—and donates them to local women’s shelters. A believer in investing in her own cause, Gabriel often self-funds those supplies to ensure she can increase the number of people she serves.

In less than a year since starting her organization, Gabriel has already been able to donate to nine shelters in the Philadelphia area, assisting women who don’t have access to these items.

Gabriel said, “We sometimes take the small things for granted. These women living in shelters have to make tough choices every day. They need to decide whether to spend their small sums of money on toiletries for themselves and their children or to allocate it toward medicine or other necessities.” She added, “I want to help alleviate these hard decisions as best as I can.”

As Gabriel’s non-profit continues to grow, she has even bigger hopes and dreams for the future. “My end goal is to open my own women’s shelter in Philadelphia,” she said. “This is just the start!”

In addition to this work, Gabriel has also found a way to be sure she is giving back at the college that helped her earn the degree she always wanted. Gabriel recently partnered with Peirce to launch The Gabriel Grove Scholarships.

The first book scholarship will be awarded to a woman in the Information Technology field, as Gabriel would like to encourage more gender diversity in the industry. The second book scholarship will be awarded to a woman looking to earn her master’s degree in Healthcare Administration at Peirce. Gabriel is also earning her master’s and wants to ensure other women are not constrained by financial barriers as they pursue their goals.

“Education is my passion,” said Gabriel. “I wanted to give back to Peirce students so they could follow their dreams like I did, so I decided to start the scholarships to help women return to school.”

Peirce College is grateful for Gabriel’s generosity and encouragement. While she continues to chip away at making the world a better place, we are proud to see that she is #PoweredbyPeirce and is ensuring other students can do the same.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Program Feature of the Month: Criminal Justice

On Thursday, April 19, students, faculty and community members gathered to take part in a unique conversation at the Criminal Justice Panel and Networking Event. This event, sponsored by the Peirce College Legal Studies Student Association, featured a diverse panel of criminal justice professionals from across the spectrum. Panelists included:
  1. Xavier Beaufort, Deputy Warden, Philadelphia Department of Prisons
  2. Trooper Danea L. Durham, Pennsylvania State Police Recruitment Unit
  3. Gina Gorbey-Zarko, Assistant District Attorney, Delaware County PA
  4. Cerena J Coughlin, Special Agent, FBI Philadelphia
  5. Renée Julian, Staff Operations Specialist, FBI Philadelphia
The conversation at the event was led by these unique experts who opened up about their educational, personal and professional backgrounds with the audience. They also led a discussion on requirements for entering the field and best practices for the application and interview process. They allowed for the community to hear their stories and learn from their own experiences. Additionally, they opened the floor for questions where the audience could get involved and ask the hard-hitting questions everyone was thinking.

This event ties directly into the goals of the Peirce College Criminal Justice Program, which includes the opportunity to best prepare our students with workforce-relevant skills for those aspiring to enter the criminal justice field or to advance in their current criminal justice position. This event ties the knot between real-world and classroom experience, which is vital for our students’ success following graduation.

Peirce's Criminal Justice Program provides a solid foundation for progression in many different criminal justice fields of study including law enforcement, correctional system, criminal investigation and more! This foundation is made possible with the help of courses such as, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminology, Juvenile Court Systems, Criminal Law, and Criminal Investigation, just to name a few. Our faculty is made up of experienced criminal justice professionals from a variety of backgrounds including police officers, district attorneys, and seasoned investigators. Students who join the Criminal Justice Program have the opportunity to receive their associates and/or bachelor’s degree.

Peirce is humbled to have been able to welcome such an elite panel of professionals in order to offer an event like the Criminal Justice Panel and Networking Event for our students, so they can expand their knowledge beyond the classroom walls and best prepare for their dream careers.

To get started or to learn more about our Criminal Justice program, please contact us at 215.670.9000 or info@peirce.edu. Check back in next month to see what program feature will be up next!

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Family Memory Turned Into A New Career Path

Vanarath Chan, or Lily, as she likes to be called, is similar to many Peirce College students in that she has a very unique background. But, unlike many Peirce College students, Lily is originally from Cambodia and speaks several different languages. When Lily moved to the United States just four short years ago, she did not sit back and slowly transition into her new surroundings. Instead, she jumped right in and enrolled at The Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) eager to further her education.

Lily originally thought she’d like to become a veterinarian due to her love of animals, but when she started classes at CCP, her path started to change. Lily began to recall memories of how much she had enjoyed helping her uncle in his law office in Cambodia where she assisted him in translating patient files into English. She took those memories and decided to find a career, which would allow for her to continue doing what she loved. That’s when Lily found the Paralegal program.

As Lily describes, her two years at CCP flew by and she commends CCP for providing her with a wonderful foundation in legal studies. The more Lily learned about the field, the more that immigration law interested her, and Lily now says that she hopes she can someday work as an immigration lawyer helping people go through the same process she once experienced. “Many Cambodians and other Asians need facts about immigration and help in getting their families over to the United States, and I would love to turn that into a career,” Lily says.

When discussing her transition to Peirce College, Lily said it seemed like the perfect fit for her. The Dual Admissions program was a huge selling point in addition to the close proximity to CCP. Once she came in for a visit and met with Peirce College’s International Student Enrollment Specialist, Kieu Tran, she found out that Peirce’s Paralegal Studies program was also American Bar Association approved, and her mind was made.

The only real challenge she had to overcome when she started classes at Peirce College was adjusting to evening classes instead of the day classes she typically took at CCP.

“I just had to get used to doing all of my school work during the day and then attending class at night, which was the opposite of what I was doing at CCP. Once I got the hang of it, I was fine,” explained Lily.

When she’s not attending classes at Peirce College or preparing for a career in Immigration Law, Lily’s favorite hobbies are working with animals and traveling. She’s been all over Asia and recently visited Australia, and looks forward to taking more international trips in the future. We wish Lily luck in all over her educational and professional endeavors!

If you or someone you know is looking to transfer to Peirce College, please contact me, Tom Tschop, Manager, Institutional Partnerships, today at 215.670.9203 or ttschop@peirce.edu.