Monday, May 20, 2019

The Degree That Opened Doors

As the countdown to commencement continues, today I re-introduce an upcoming graduate who was featured back in April 2017 right after she first began her journey with Peirce College for her Bachelor of Science in Integrated Leadership (now known as Organizational Leadership).

Elizabeth Barr originally found out about Peirce from Harcum College after graduating with her associate degree. She originally had no intentions of returning to school, but after a career shift she soon discovered it was difficult to find a job she wanted or advance without the next level of educational credentials.

“I was looking to switch my career path to work more in an office environment where there were advancement opportunities. I tried to execute this shift, but became increasingly aware that I needed the bachelor’s degree to get that edge up,” explained Elizabeth. “I applied to a lot of jobs that may not have listed needing a bachelor’s, but I continued to be overlooked and I knew it was because of that educational piece.”

In the Spring of 2017, Elizabeth enrolled at Peirce College and took on balancing work, school and life, but not without hesitation. Elizabeth said, “Originally, I just wanted to finish my associate degree and then work. I couldn’t wait to get out of school. I swore I’d never go back, but then I discovered Peirce.”

Elizabeth said how Peirce’s program fell into her lap at the exact right time, “Peirce College showed up right when I needed it to the most. School does not necessarily come easy to me, but it was something I could do at Peirce. This program was a miracle to me. Peirce accepted all my credits, allowed me to keep working, and they had the degree I needed that was applicable and practical to the career I wanted.”

During her time with Peirce, Elizabeth explained how the professors always kept the working adult in mind and she valued their respect. “The classes were definitely a lot of work and challenging, but the professors always worked hard for you if you were willing to work hard in class. They treat every student as a professional colleague, never talking down to us, and they find the value in all of our prior work experience.”

After working extremely hard for two years, Elizabeth will proudly officially graduate from Peirce College with her Bachelor of Science in Integrated Leadership on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. And this accomplishment is not the only milestone Elizabeth is celebrating.

This spring, as she was finishing up her degree, she was offered a dream full-time position as a Financial Aid Counselor. Elizabeth said, “This was never a field I felt qualified for until I earned my bachelor’s degree. Getting this next level of education opened up doors for me and got me more than I had ever expected.”

Congratulations to Elizabeth on all of her accomplishments! Peirce College wishes her well with all her future endeavors.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

From Physical Therapy Assistant to Healthcare Administration: Meet Joseph Carrozzo

As Joseph Carrozzo was finishing his last semester as a Physical Therapy Assistant major at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, PA, he faced the decision to either continue his education or enter the workforce. Joe was eager to go into the healthcare field and to start earning money so he decided to take a position as a Physical Therapy Assistant. Even after accepting this position, though, he always kept in mind a sign he saw before his graduation from one of Peirce’s partner schools.

“I worked for a few years after I graduated, but to climb the ladder and get a better job at my hospital I knew I needed to get my bachelor’s degree. I never forgot about a poster I saw at Harcum about their partnership with Peirce, and that I could transfer my credits to Peirce’s Healthcare Administration program,” Joe said. “It was a simple process and I felt like I had a lot of support every step of the way.”

Joe, who entered the Coast Guard after high school and served eight years, currently works full-time at The Philadelphia VA Medical Center, which leads him to attend his classes online.

“The flexibility and the fact that I can take my classes online is what I value the most about my education at Peirce. If I had to attend classes on campus, I couldn’t work, and I need to work to support my family.”

When asked how his experience as an adult learner at Peirce is different from his first go around in college, Joe mentioned his increased focus and goal-oriented approach.

“When I graduated high school I spent a semester in college, but I wasn’t serious about it back then. At that point it made more sense for me to work and save money, but now my level of focus is totally different. I’ve got a definitive goal, the end is in sight, and I’ll have a huge sense of pride when I complete my degree,” explained Joe.

He also encourages anyone that might be considering a return to college as an adult to take the leap and enroll for classes.

“It might be scary at first, but you have to believe you can do it. I had concerns and fears too, even right up to the day classes started, but once you start you’ll be glad you did,” said Joe. “I’m proud that I didn’t let my doubts hold me back.”

Joe is on track to graduate in December of 2019 with his Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration, and hopes to continue to rise in rank in the healthcare administration field. In his spare time he enjoys cycling (especially fundraising rides), hockey, and spending time with his year and a half-old son and wife.

Peirce College thanks Harcum College for providing Joe with a solid educational foundation, and wishes him the best of luck in his future!

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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Peirce College Hosts Annual Cancer Registry Seminar

On Saturday, April 27, Peirce College’s Health Programs division, more specifically Professor Jamie Loggains, hosted Peirce’s Annual Cancer Registry Seminar. Guest speakers from the New Jersey State Registry and MD Anderson Cooper shared their knowledge and expertise with students by focusing on the cancer registry basics, career opportunities in the field and pathways to the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credential.

According to the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA), “Cancer Registrars are data information specialists that capture a complete history, diagnosis, treatment, and health status for every cancer patient in the U.S.” This position is critical for researchers, health care providers and public health officials, so the most accurate data and information is collected and maintained as we continue to progress with cancer treatments, conduct research and improve cancer prevention and screening programs.

Another opportunity for growth in this specialized field is as a Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) who, “demonstrates a requisite knowledge and professional competence needed within the cancer registry.”

This certified position is nationally recognized and requires a CTR exam administered by NCRA’s certification board – the Council on Certification. This credential has been obtained by over 5,000 individuals and is highly recommended by those hospitals accredited by the Commission on Cancer.

The event at Peirce College on Saturday aimed to encourage students’ involvement in this type of work and to create a pathway between those in the field and those interested in joining.

When asked why she is passionate about exposing students to cancer registry as a career path, Professor Loggains noted, “The cancer registry gives our students another career option. The depth of knowledge and the skills that are taught to our students are what is needed for a career in cancer registry. The educational path to the CTR credential is seamless for our students.”

Peirce’s Health Programs students are well positioned for careers in the cancer registry. Students who complete the Health Information Technology degree or the Health Information Administration degree will just need a few additional courses to qualify to sit for the CTR credentialing exam.

Students interested in this career path are encouraged to reference the NCRA Page and are invited to contact Health Programs faculty for more information.

Thank you, Professor Loggains, for hosting this event and to our valued guest speakers for their time and talent.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Support & Passion – How Amika Miller Earned Her Degree

Amika Miller is a single mother who, in 2014, was ready for a fresh start and a new chance to earn the degree she needed for the career change she desired. Amika was determined to be the first in her family to graduate, to lead her son by example and to fulfill a long-term personal goal. Amika knew she had the drive to get herself to the finish line, but she needed to find a place that would support her all around, especially with life’s continuous curveballs.

That is when Amika found Peirce College.

Amika first enrolled in Peirce College’s Associate in Science in Criminal Justice program eager to enter into a major she felt passionate about. “I chose the criminal justice program because I want to assist my community in any way possible, and I want to make a great impact on my community,” explained Amika.

After diving into the courses at Peirce and connecting with faculty and staff, Amika knew she had found the right place. She graduated with her associate degree in 2016 and wasn’t done yet.

Right away, Amika enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program knowing the higher she went with her education, the more likely she would be to reach her career goals. “Continuous higher education will make me more valuable to an employer and increase the odds that an employer will keep me around,” said Amika. This career attainment and retention were two of the top reasons that pushed Amika along.

Unfortunately, in 2016, Amika started to fall behind due to life’s unpredictability. She lost three close family members in a relatively short period of time, was raising her son on her own and felt frustrated and overwhelmed by life. Luckily, Amika had found the place of support she knew she needed. Dr. Shannon Begley, Peirce’s Dean of Academic Advising & Registrar, contacted Amika directly and talked through what was going on. Together, they created a plan to keep Amika on track for graduation.

“When I fell behind, Dr. Shannon Begley helped me, stood by me and cheered me on. Shannon and Peirce gave me something to look forward to and did not give up on me,” explained Amika. “I was at the worst possible point of my life and Shannon gave me another chance. To have someone supporting me and backing me up during such a hard time meant everything to me. I owe so much to Shannon and the Peirce community.”

And despite the hardships Amika faced, with the support of her Peirce family she was able to accomplish her goals. On June 11, 2019, Amika will be crossing the commencement stage once again earning her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Amika said her advice to anyone out there considering going back to school, but who may be facing life’s challenges is, “Life happens and when life happens don’t be afraid to ask for help. That request for assistance may be what gets you to your goals!”

Congratulations to Amika on all of her accomplishments! Peirce College is proud to serve students as dedicated and passionate as Amika Miller.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Combining Previous Credits with Work & Military Experience: Meet Joey Juarez

Joseph (Joey) Juarez had more than 20 years of work experience, an associate degree, and a military background. Despite these commendable achievements, Joey realized a majority of the places he was seeking employment required a bachelor’s degree. His realization became even clearer when he started training and onboarding employees with a higher degree than him.

This was a wake-up call for Joey who realized it didn’t matter how long he had been in the workforce; to move up the ladder, what mattered was the educational credential.

Around the same time, Joey also had an exciting life change that further motivated him to head back to school: Joey, and his wife Denise, welcomed a beautiful baby boy. Joey, now as a father, had an even stronger inspiration for earning his next degree. He wanted to show his son that no amount of excuses should stop you from following your dreams.

That’s when Joey decided to go back to school.

Joey Juarez enrolled at Peirce College in the Integrated Leadership program (now called Organizational Leadership). This program was designed for students like Joey who are looking to advance in their career while maximizing their previous credits and experience.

Joey explained, “The great thing about Peirce College is their dedication to finding every credit possible to transfer into your degree. I got to finish my degree sooner from all my associate degree credits and military experience.”

Beyond the ability to transfer in the maximum number of credits, Integrated Leadership also was aligned with Joey’s work experience and career goals. “I was already doing this type of work out in the field. Integrated Leadership combined skills for the role I wanted to be doing and what I was already doing. I had the experience, I just needed the credential,” said Joey.

Joey earned his Bachelor of Science in Integrated Leadership in June 2017, finally fulfilling his personal and professional goals while also being able to show his son how hard work can pay off.

Joey gives a lot of credit to Peirce for his success saying, “Peirce makes it easy. Any question or issue you think you may have, Peirce will help you through it. The College is made for adults with its accelerated programs and flexibility. Before you know it, you blink and you’re done.”

In conjunction with his new degree and work history, Joey recently landed a rewarding position. Joey now works in business development for Susteen, Inc. as a developer of digital forensic tools.

As Joey takes pride in all he has achieved up until this point, he still has future plans to return to Peirce for his master’s degree in the near future.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Mother, Employee, Student: Meet Janice Kutt

Upon getting to know Peirce College Organizational Leadership student Janice Kutt, one might wonder how she has the time and energy to maintain a 4.0 GPA at Peirce College. After all, it’s no easy task to juggle a full-time job, a full-time college course load, and a few hours of selling real estate on the side; all while being a single mother of four children!

But after listening to her story it becomes clear that Janice, like many Peirce students, has become incredibly adept at juggling her many different life responsibilities.

Janice graduated high school and originally enrolled at Peirce College’s partner school Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) in 1998 as an Elementary Education major. Though she enjoyed attending classes at MCCC, Janice also worked on the side and eventually had her children, which forced her to sidetrack her college education. In 2013 however, she returned to MCCC more prepared than ever, determined to finish what she had started.

“I definitely hadn’t planned on taking that many years to complete my associate degree, but I’m proud that I returned to school and got it done,” Janice said. “Life can put some unexpected things in your way along the path, but I always knew I’d be back to complete my degree.”

When Janice graduated from Montgomery County Community College in 2015 with her associate degree in Health Services Management, she dealt with some life changes, including a new position with a new employer. It was then that she realized she would have a better chance at upward mobility within her company if she armed herself with a bachelor’s degree. After looking around and weighing her options, she decided to enroll in the Organizational Leadership bachelor’s degree program at Peirce College.

“When I was looking for the right college, I was immediately drawn to Peirce because it called itself ‘The college that really works for working adults.’ Since I have 4 children and work full-time, I knew I needed something that would be very flexible that I could fit into my hectic schedule,” explained Janice. “Once I found out that all of my credits would transfer and that I could attend class online, my mind was made up.”

Janice, who lives in the Quakertown, PA area, said that she attends almost all of her classes online due to her busy schedule and distance from campus, but also appreciates the fact that she can come in to the campus for any help she may need. “It’s great to know that whenever I need to, I can come in for tutoring, help at the Walker Center, or just to chat with my professors and classmates.”

Janice currently carries a 4.0 GPA and continues to work full-time at her position as an Operations Administrator with Binsky & Snyder LLC. Due to graduate in 2020, Janice says she’d love to stay with Binsky & Snyder, with the hopes that she can continue to rise within the company. Additionally, Janice says she can’t wait to continue her education and plans to earn her master’s degree after she graduates with her bachelor’s.

Though Janice doesn’t have much free time considering her full time work, school schedule, and the fact that she puts in a few hours per week as a real estate agent, she loves to spend time with her children. She says that when they’re together, they enjoy bowling, kayaking, hiking, and going to amusement parks. She’s also excited for a weeklong family vacation to Virginia later this summer.

Peirce College salutes Montgomery County Community College for providing Janice with a strong educational foundation, and wishes Janice the best in her future!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Peirce College Participates in the 2019 Student Aid Advocacy Day

Last week, more than 200 students from 40 different colleges and universities rallied together in support of student aid in private higher education for Student Aid Advocacy Day, organized by The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP).

Photo credit to AICUP
At this advocacy event, students showed their passion and dedication to protecting the maximum PHEAA Grant award that has helped so many of them and others achieve their educational goals. The grant has been cut in the past and this event was designed to show political leaders how these cuts have impacted and will continue to impact current and future students’ lives.

Peirce College took part in this rally with representation from one of Peirce’s PHEAA Grant recipient students, Nazia Bibi. Nazia is a current Information Technology student who is set to graduate in June 2019. She decided to go on behalf of Peirce College to not only discuss how the PHEAA Grant has helped her finish her degree, but also to represent the 385 other Peirce students who attend Peirce with the help of this grant.

Nazia said, “For me personally, PHEAA filled the gap of financial need so I could keep my focus completely on my education and not worry or stress about the monetary aspect of it.” She further added, “PHEAA is not just about funding students’ current educational goals; it’s also an investment in their future.”

Following the initial rally where three students from Lebanon Valley College, Seton Hill University and Susquehanna University spoke directly to the crowd in support of student aid, students were encouraged to speak directly to their state representative and other leaders who may be able to assist in strengthening this grant’s future.

Photo credit to AICUP
While at the event, Nazia made sure her representative, Congressman Brendan Boyle, had plenty of information about Peirce College, where her PHEAA Grant went directly to help fulfill her bachelor’s degree dreams. Following this, Nazia, along with Amanda Hill, Peirce’s Director of Marketing and Communications, AICUP President Tom Foley, and AICUP Vice President of Government Relations Nichole Duffy, all spoke with Pennsylvania State Senator and Vice Chairman of the PHEAA Board Wayne Fontana. The group collaboratively explained the importance of PHEAA, how they have seen it change individuals’ lives, and why it is important to maintain and increase funding.

These conversations are how change is made and lives are improved. Peirce College is honored to have been represented by Nazia Bibi at the Student Aid Advocacy Day who so bravely spoke for not only herself, but many other students who benefit every day from student aid.