Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Reforming His Future One Internship At A Time: Meet DeVonte Douglass

DeVonte Douglass always knew he wanted to go to college, but was not quite sure what program matched his interests most. Then, one day, he had a realization. He had personally witnessed family and friends going through the justice system without a supportive advocate or representation, and that is when he decided to make it his goal to become that person for others.

“I saw a need in the justice system for reformation, especially in Philadelphia and knew I wanted to make a difference, so that is when I decided to enter into the criminal justice field,” explained DeVonte.

DeVonte had originally heard about Peirce College when he was in high school from his assistant principal. At the time of deciding on colleges, he ended up going to a bigger school, but found it was not the right fit for him. That’s when he gave Peirce College a call.

“After not finding the right fit at my original school, I decided to call Peirce and spoke with Blake Scull, my Enrollment Specialist. He walked me through the application, took me on tour, and once I saw the law library, I was hooked. Blake has been there for me ever since and has always been a reliable resource for me,” said DeVonte.

DeVonte originally enrolled in the Associate in Science in Criminal Justice program eager to earn his first degree. After working hard, he accomplished this goal in 2018 and immediately moved on to earning his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Once DeVonte became invested in his education, he knew he wanted to do more to invest in his future. He looked into Peirce College’s internship program where he was able to be matched with Honorable Judge Zachary Shaffer for two different internship experiences.

DeVonte shared his most recent experience working for Judge Shaffer at the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice, where he learned the ins and outs of the law. Judge Shaffer gave DeVonte responsibilities typically provided to law students. DeVonte was so dedicated to learning and growing, that he found himself excelling in his internship. DeVonte was assigned tasks that involved handling sensitive information, contacting critical personnel, and looking into job opportunities for the incarcerated. DeVonte took his internship very seriously and found it to be the perfect way to follow his dream of reformation in the justice system, learning from someone who shared his passion.

“I learned from Judge Shaffer how he dedicates himself to providing resources to those who have been sentenced to jail. He offers opportunities for them to better their lives through jobs, housing information, and more,” explained DeVonte. “I learned how important it is to offer these resources to assist in transitioning those incarcerated back into society.”

Beyond locating resources, DeVonte was also given the task of setting up next steps for those who were found guilty. He would discuss mental health evaluations, probation set-up and more, getting hands-on experience supporting individuals in the justice system.

With the combination of this internship experience and his knowledge from the classroom, DeVonte feels prepared to continue progressing in his educational journey right into law school. He said, “Through my internship, I gained so much and it was such a rewarding experience. And in my Peirce classes, I have and continue to learn unique ways to think and present ideas. I have been able to play devil’s advocate and take opposing sides to sharpen my debate skills. All of this combined has prepared me to move on to law school.”

DeVonte offered advice to all those also considering a career in the criminal justice field saying, “Make time for an internship and prioritize networking. It is so important in this line of work as you will get to meet others who share your passion and support your dreams. It is a great way to best prepare yourself.”

Peirce College wishes DeVonte the best of luck as he continues to complete his bachelor’s degree and pursue a law degree.

Monday, August 12, 2019

From Peirce Co-Workers to Peirce Newlyweds, Meet Mr. & Mrs. Marianno

This past June, Peirce College proudly welcomed back two former employees who are also Peirce alumni for an event they will never forget. On Friday, June 28, 2019, Kelly and Sophonie Marianno exchanged vows and officially became husband and wife right on Peirce’s campus in the heart of Center City.

Kelly and Sophonie originally met in May 2008 at Peirce College when they both worked in the Information Technology department. Sophonie was a customer service assistant for the IT team when Kelly joined Peirce as a Systems Support Technician 3.

Sophie originally found Peirce College as an eager student when she moved to the United States. “I was born and raised in Haiti. When I first came to the United States, I wanted to finish my education, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go,” said Sophonie. “I started looking into a college where I could balance my work-life and school-life since I was already into my adult years. I discovered Peirce online and found their flexibility, accelerated classes, night classes, etc. were exactly what I was looking for.” Sophonie graduated from Peirce with her Associate in Science in Business Administration in 2006 and immediately went on to finish her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2009.

Kelly took a different path to find his place at Peirce. He is originally from Philadelphia and was familiar with Peirce’s historic flexibility and took a few classes in 2003. After deciding to jump into his career instead, he took a break from his education. In 2008, though, he found his way back to Peirce, but this time as an employee. Once Kelly rejoined the Peirce community, he realized it was now time to also go back to school. Kelly said, “As an employee, I realized now is the time to go back to school and finally earn my degree. It felt silly to work at a college and not pursue my degree.” Kelly earned his Associate in Science in Information Technology from Peirce College in 2012.

As Kelly and Sophonie grew as employees and students, their friendship continued to develop. After graduation and moving to new employers, they remained in contact and eventually began to date. Before they knew it, they were engaged and planning a wedding. When deciding where to hold the wedding, an idea popped into their minds.

Sophonie said, “We considered many options for our wedding, and then I thought of Peirce College. It is extremely important to each of us because we met there, we were both educated there, and we were both employed there. Peirce is the place and reason for our connection.”

When they definitely decided on the location, they came to visit Peirce and immediately were reminded of the memories. “A few weeks prior to our wedding, Kelly and I looked at the Peirce courtyard and it was a walk down memory lane. Being at Peirce reminded me of how our relationship started. The hallways, the courtyard, it reminded me of our friendship that started there and grew tremendously. It felt like we were at home again,” Sophonie explained. “Our history at Peirce made it the perfect place for us to get married. We started our story there and we continued our story in the same place.”

The day of the wedding was nothing short of perfect, as they expected. Kelly described it by saying, “As soon as we were back, it really rang true that we were back home. Peirce College hosted not only a beautiful wedding for us, they made the day a welcome home party, as well.”

After a beautiful day and evening full of celebration, Kelly and Sophonie reflected back and are so thankful for the Peirce family who gave so much to make the day as wonderful as it was. “We just want to thank the entire Peirce community for the support and help to make this all happen. Vito Chimenti and his team put in so much work to make it magical and memorable,” exclaimed Sophonie. “I was so glad to see everyone and I am so grateful for all the effort everyone put into it to give us the most beautiful day. It was more than we could have ever asked for.”

Congratulations to Kelly and Sophonie Marianno!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

From 1988 to 2019, Michael Pratt Finally Finished His Degree

Michael Pratt’s journey with Peirce College originally started in 1988, but similar to many Peirce students, life got in the way and he needed to put a hold on his education. Now, over 30 years later, Michael is a proud Peirce graduate with his Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

Michael initially stopped his educational journey because he had just become a new dad and, unfortunately, his mother had fallen ill. Taking on life’s other responsibilities, school got pushed aside and Michael entered the workforce. He found himself immersed in his job and starting to take on more overtime hours. Michael thought he would never return to school.

Then, one day, Michael came to the realization that his daughter was getting older with more independence and his continuous overtime was quickly becoming less and less. Michael was watching television one day and saw a commercial for Peirce. This made him stop and think about what was next for his future.

“My daughter was older and my hours were becoming slim. I realized there was no longer a place for me to go with my organization without a degree,” explained Michael. “Then I saw a Peirce commercial and knew about the College from my previous time, so I decided to give it a shot.”

Michael decided to take just a few classes to see if he could handle it and it turned out he really enjoyed being back in school. He decided to map out his plan to see the timeline and was more than pleasantly surprised. “I connected with my Academic Advisor, Theresa Davis, on how long it would take for me to finish my bachelor’s degree. Turns out it would only take two and a half years! Theresa found all my credits I previously earned at Peirce and applied them all. This made my degree completion even faster,” said Michael.

Michael said his second experience with Peirce was more than he could have ever hoped for. The small evening classes and supportive faculty and staff were exactly what he needed to finish his goal. He said, “Peirce’s flexibility allowed me to continue working while going to school. I never had to worry about not being able to take a class because they were always offered after work. Also, Peirce’s professors were always able and willing to help no matter when or where. I always felt that my questions were important and were answered promptly.”

After working hard, Michael proudly graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Accounting in June 2019. That is not all he earned that day, though. Due to his hard work and dedication to bettering himself professionally, Michael was awarded the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs Student Leadership Award.

After all of his accomplishments, Michael is eager to share his story and advice with others. He said, “If you are considering going back to finish your degree, take a couple classes like I did and see if you enjoy it. It will take work and time, but you can do it. Once you make school a priority, you’ll be done in no time.”

Congratulations to Michael on all of his accomplishments! Peirce College wishes him nothing but the best as he continues to chase his dreams.

Continue to check the blog to see which graduate we will feature next!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Prepared to Speak the Computer Programming Language – Meet Corin Price-Howard

With a goal of learning the language for computer programming, Corin Price-Howard set out to earn a degree in a field that was both an interest and a passion for her. After discovering Peirce College’s Information Technology program, Corin enrolled and began her educational journey.

Corin started at Peirce in 2017 after strolling by the blue Peirce flags on Pine Street and doing some personal research to discover the opportunity for a degree in Information Technology. After being inspired by a previous college course, Corin was eager to take her knowledge beyond her original programming passion to discover even more computer experience she could take into the real world.

“I originally chose the Information Technology Program because I wanted to learn more about the programming language C#. In taking the Information Technology classes at Peirce, I started to learn all about the monitor and the computer, from the software to the hardware before even focusing on the programming languages that Peirce College offered,” explained Corin. “I expanded my knowledge from what I already knew about computer software, hardware and C# to a whole other level when taking classes at Peirce.”

Beyond just the new knowledge Corin was gaining, Corin also found a lot of value in the online flexibility Peirce offered. She explained how this option allowed her to continuing working and balancing school with her life, especially as a new mother, in a non-stressful way. “I had my child in the middle of one of my semesters and with the help of my classmates, the professor and the online flexibility, I could continue submitting my work and moving forward even though I could not make it to class,” said Corin.

Additionally, Corin really enjoyed practicing and learning from the online IT program Peirce offers within its classes where students can work hands-on with computers and monitors to gain real-life experience.

“The one aspect that I valued the most when I was attending Peirce College was having an online program that allowed the students to put together the computer and monitor hardware and software in a real-life setting. If it wasn’t for that online program, I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to learn not only how to put together the computer, but how to really work with the monitor, software, and hardware,” said Corin. “It was all a learning process that took a lot of time and effort, but it was all worth it.”

And worth it, it was. Corin worked hard and officially earned her Bachelor of Science in Information Technology in June 2019. Corin is now searching for her dream career within an Information Technology department where she can put forth her best effort with her new skills and degree. She said she feels confident in her search because Peirce has prepared her. “I am inspired to get out into the world and apply to different jobs because Peirce College was there to help me edit my resume, apply to jobs, and focus on the goal of what I wanted to do,” explained Corin.

As Corin continues her career search, she isn’t done learning just yet. She re-enrolled at Peirce and this time she is earning her Certificate in Medical Coding to continue expanding her skill set and opportunities.

Peirce College commends Corin for all her hard work and wishes her nothing but continuous success on all her future endeavors!

Continue to check the blog to see which graduate we will feature next!

Friday, July 26, 2019

From Computers to Healthcare – Meet Miranda Mastellone

Peirce College prides itself on being an ideal college for adults in Philadelphia who are in search of a career change, and for Miranda Mastellone, that change is exactly what she was looking for. Enrolling in Peirce's Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration program, Miranda was setting herself up for her ideal career move.

Miranda graduated from Peirce College’s partner school Pennsylvania Institute of Technology (PIT) in the late 1990’s with an associate degree in Computer Engineering, but shortly thereafter learned she was pregnant with her first child. By the time she was ready to start working in the computer industry, she felt like new developments in technology might have left her too far behind to be desirable for employers.

“I wanted a small school with a Computer Engineering program, and PIT was just what I had been looking for. I had a great experience there but the timing was a bit tough because I learned I was pregnant right after I graduated,” explained Miranda. “In the computer industry, if you don’t stay current, things pass you by really quickly.”

Realizing she might need to weigh her options and consider another career track, Miranda spoke to a friend that had recently started medical billing and coding classes. Miranda liked the sound of it, but thought it would be a better fit to train to be a Medical Assistant. She excelled in her classes and in 2000, earned her certification and started work in the healthcare field.

“I’ve been a Medical Assistant for 19 years,” Miranda said. I work in the GI Department at Penn Medicine and though I enjoy it, I know that I want to change from the clinical side to the administrative side. That’s why I’m back in school!”

Miranda, who hopes to become a Resident Coordinator upon her graduation from Peirce, mentioned that the degree you hold is just as important as work experience in the healthcare field. For that reason, Miranda knew she needed to arm herself with a bachelor’s degree to move over to the administrative side of her industry.

“I could keep moving laterally if I wanted to, but at this point I know I want to be on the clerical or administrative side. To do that, I need my bachelor’s degree,” Miranda said.

Miranda first heard about Peirce College when a colleague of hers that was enrolled at Peirce informed Miranda of her positive Peirce experience and about the Peirce Fit® learning format, which allows students to choose weekly whether to attend class online or on campus. Miranda had heard that Peirce was transfer-friendly, but she was very surprised (and very happy!) when she learned that 40 of her credits from her Computer Engineering degree would transfer over.

“From the very start, it’s been so seamless. I was thrilled to learn that the majority of my credits would transfer, and I absolutely love that I can attend all my classes online. Whenever I need anything, I get a response immediately. Even my advisor, April. When I need her for anything, I get a call right after I email her,” Miranda happily reported.

Though she works full time in addition to being a full-time student, Miranda says that she loves to spend time with her four grandchildren as much as she can. She loves to take them walking around her West Philadelphia neighborhood, especially the vibrant lawn at Clark Park.

Peirce College commends Pennsylvania Institute of Technology for providing Miranda with an excellent educational foundation, and wishes her well in all of her future endeavors!

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Master’s Degree Epiphany – Meet Pamela Washington

Around her 50th birthday, Pamela Washington began to think long and hard about her purpose and what she was called to do in her life. After meeting with a life coach, Pamela had an epiphany about the possibility of returning to school to earn her master’s degree.

For 10 years, Pamela had no desire or drive to return to school, but following some soul-searching she discovered the program at Peirce, which aligned with her goals and values.

“When I received my epiphany, and started reviewing program curricula, I was immediately drawn to Peirce’s Organizational Leadership & Management program which focused on general leadership studies which would prepare me for any and all industries ranging in faith-based, non-profit, for-profit, etc.,” explained Pamela. “I knew I could take what I learned and apply it directly to many different lines of work.”

Following through with her pull to this program, Pamela enrolled in January 2016. She dedicated time and energy to fulfilling her purpose with this master’s degree. After working hard for three years, Pamela achieved her goal and graduated with her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management in June 2019.

As Pamela reflected back on her time at Peirce, there were many experiences that stood out to her. She said, “I really value Peirce’s approach to adult learners and the student support I received from both faculty and staff. I value the personal academic relationships with professors I acquired during my time. I believe these networks of relationships will transcend past graduation."

Further, Pamela said due to Peirce’s smaller size, she was able to develop relationships beyond just faculty and staff. “The graduate program turned into a family. We supported each other through everything; family wins and losses – births, funerals, job losses, illnesses, and fears of, 'I can’t do this,' etc.” said Pamela. “Peirce’s small setting allowed us the chance to develop relationships with each other over the years.”

Beyond graduating from Peirce with new relationships, Pamela also left with newly developed skills. Pamela said, “I gained universal leadership skills within Peirce’s OLM program. Personally, I have grown exponentially over the three years. My academic studies initiated a holistic growth spurt for me. My academic evolution simultaneously paralleled my personal, faith and professional growth.

Now, with her new degree in hand, Pamela plans to take her new leadership skills into the real world and apply them in a way she has never done before. “I learned early in my Peirce journey that there are formal and informal leaders,” explained Pamela. “My whole life I have been an informal leader among my family, friends, church, etc. I am now leaving Peirce equipped to be a formal leader. I will no longer shy away from formal leadership roles as I did before.”

As a proud mother of two, a career woman and now a Peirce graduate, Pamela has advice to share with other adults considering a new degree. She said, “We have given so much of ourselves to a career, a family, and the world in which we live in. And we don’t always get to our own dreams for any number of reasons, such as a lack of resources, procrastination, etc. My advice is to make a decision to invest in yourself. Now is your time!”

Peirce College is proud to have served Pamela Washington who found her calling at Peirce to better her life one degree at a time. Congratulations to Pamela!

Continue to check the blog to see which graduate we will feature next!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Save Money While Earning Your Degree

Scholarships are a great way to gain extra financial support while earning your degree. Peirce College offers over 15 unique scholarships for a variety of programs which can save students up to $7,000 a year.

Before you apply, though, you want to make sure you are setting yourself up for success to land the most financial support. Today, Peirce’s Student Financial Services Team provides some helpful tips on how to best prepare for scholarship applications to ensure you get the most monetary reward during your educational journey.

Check out the video below:



Don’t miss out on applying for Peirce College’s scholarships in the 2019-2020 academic year! The deadline for most applications is Monday, July 15, 2019. To learn more and to apply, please visit peirce.edu/scholarships.