Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Introducing our Assistant Vice President, Employer Relations: Malik Brown

At Peirce, we’re committed to supporting our students beyond classroom walls.   This means building connections with area employers, nonprofits, and government entities, and forming relationships that directly benefit our students: with our alumni, with  job opportunities, co-ops, and with a broader community network that’s invested in their success. Joining us in this commitment of fulfilling our mission is Malik Brown, Assistant Vice President of Employer Relations at Peirce College.

You may have seen Malik on campus before, but we wanted to officially introduce him on the blog, just in case you haven't had the chance to meet him yet!

Q: Hi, Malik! To get started, can you tell us a little about yourself?

A:  Sure! I’m a Philly native, from Mount Airy.  I went to Clark University in Worcester. MA. .  I currently live in West Oak Lane with my wife and two little girls.

Like many Peirce students, it has taken me some time to find my sweet spot.  I started my career in accounting after earning my MBA in finance, but I realized it wasn’t the path for me. After moving back to Philadelphia, I stumbled onto a career in diversity and talent management with an organization by the name of INROADS.  Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work at Accenture, United Way, and most recently, as Director at the Dixon House Community Center in South Philadelphia, where I actually got to know and work with some Peirce students and alumni.

I’ve always been passionate about education and workforce development, so I’m excited about working for Peirce  in higher education.  I could not have made a better career choice. And, because I am a dedicated lifelong learner,  I feel right at home at Peirce and among our students.  

Q: Help break it down for us.  What exactly is Employer Relations at Peirce College, and how does it benefit our students?

A: The role of employer relations is to build mutually beneficial partnerships with different organizations, so that these organizations will be willing to invest in the mission and vision of Peirce College.

What does that mean for our students?  It can mean many things-- job opportunities, scholarships, professional development, mentorship, and a wider resource network that’s connected to Peirce and invested in our students.  Ultimately, the goal of Employer Relations at Peirce is to cultivate strategic relationships  that translate into resources and opportunities that our students need to fulfill their academic, career, and life potential.

Q: What are some things you’ve learned since joining Peirce?

A:  I’ve been a member of the Employer Relations team for about 13 months, and it’s definitely been an interesting journey .  I’ve learned a lot about the industry of higher education, and I have learned  a great deal about Peirce--especially regarding our 151 year history of providing working adult learners with practical, employer-valued skills and credentials.

Peirce has a long history of aligning our offerings and innovations with the needs of business and industry..  We have a great history of developing corporate partnerships, as well as nonprofit, community and government relations with the city and region. Now, we want to expand and amplify those partnerships across sectors in a strategic and thoughtful way.

In my conversations with those in the business community, I’m learning that there’s a real need and appetite for higher education to re-imagine what we can offer companies in terms of strategic partnerships.  I think Peirce has a unique opportunity and ability to do that work, and help employers address their workforce development and talent management needs.

Q: What's the best piece of advice you’ve learned in your own career that you would impart to Peirce students?

A:   I’d say that while functional and technical skills are important, the most important skills in the workplace are the soft skills; things like being able to problem solve, build trust, work as part of a team, and be innovative. Focus on those and you can go far.

Q: This year, Peirce College has really changed the landscape of higher education with our introduction of Peirce Fit™, a revolutionary new learning format that allows students to choose week to week if they’d like to attend class on campus or online.  We’ve also introduced our first competency-based bachelor’s degree (CBE) in IT and expanded our Healthcare portfolio to include Graduate Studies.  With all of these innovations, what are you most excited about on the Employer Relations front?

A:  We’ve spent a lot of time now talking to employers, listening to their pain points, and brainstorming solutions.  With these innovations, I’m excited to start delivering on these solutions and to begin to really dig in and address industry concerns!  It’s especially exciting to see employers give the CBE delivery their stamp of approval.  Future students can be confident that a CBE bachelor’s degree will increase their marketability and value in the workplace!

Q: You’ll be a contributor here on the blog moving forward. What types of topics do you look forward to covering?

A:  I’ll be speaking to the new innovations at Peirce, and how they’re relevant to employers.  I’ll also be sharing more about the evolving partnerships Peirce is developing in Philadelphia.  Finally, I’m excited to share stories about how our students and alumni are taking advantage of job and internship opportunities that arise, and showing the impact that Employer Relations can have on turning their Peirce degree into a career pathway.

Q: How can employers reach out to you to learn more about Peirce?

A: Follow me on twitter or LinkedIn! I’m always excited to have a conversation about how Peirce can help address their needs.

Welcome to the blog, Malik! We’re excited to read more of your insights.

To learn more about Peirce’s 151 year history of providing working adults with a customized path to employer-valued skills and credentials, click here. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why a Summer Start Works for Adult Learners

At Peirce, we’ve been helping comebackers like you earn their degree for more than 151 years. We know how to help you strike a balance between school, work and life so you can get the degree you need for the future you deserve.

While many people think of fall as a traditional time to back to school, there are many advantages to a summer start, especially for working adults.  If you know you’re ready to earn your degree, but not sure about the right time to start, here are some reasons to consider starting during our next summer session:

1.  Give yourself a warm up. In our next session – beginning on July 5th – we’re offering several courses that will help you ease back into college life. Use your summer start to knock out a few general education credits, and allow yourself some time to get used to being back in school.  You’ll be ready to hit the ground running when you dive into your major specific classes in the fall.
2.  Don’t leave money on the table.  If you’re eligible for PELL grants, you need to use these funds before the next academic year (which means before a fall start) or you will lose them.  Instead, you can use those funds to earn your initial credits when you enroll in a summer course.
3.  With Peirce Fit, you can complete your work from anywhere.   Worried that starting class in the summer means you can’t go on vacation? Or that you have to spend less time with your family?  At Peirce College, you don’t have to make that choice.  Peirce Fit gives you the option to choose week-to-week if you want to attend class on campus or online. Heading down to the Shore?  You can take your laptop and complete your classwork online that week.
4.  Peirce will give you $100 textbook voucher to help you get started. If you attend Peirce Night next week, and register for a July 5th start date while you’re there, you’ll get your $50 application fee waived and a $100 textbook voucher to put towards ordering your books. That’s a $150 bonus for getting started on achieving your goal!

Now is your time. If you’re ready to earn the degree you’ve always wanted, don’t wait.  You can register for Peirce Night here, or contact an admissions representative directly here.  After that, the second step is on us!

To learn more about how you can earn the degree you need for the career you deserve at Peirce College, click here

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Commencement 2016: Watch now!

In the words of Commencement keynote speaker and award-winning journalist Tamron Hall, we’re “still smiling” after last night’s commencement ceremony and celebration.  We want to make sure every member of the class of 2016 can re-watch the entire ceremony and share this special moment with their family and support networks whenever they want. That’s why we’re sharing a video of the entire ceremony!

The video includes all of the night’s festivities, including award presentations; speeches from President Mergiotti, Ms. Hall, and student speaker Diana Kirkland; remarks from Peirce College Alumni Association President, Reggie Waller; and more! If you don’t have time to watch the full video, we’ve created a list of timestamps that capture the most important parts of the event so you can jump to any section you wish:

0:00:00 – Pre-Commencement Slideshow
1:04:17 – Processional
1:15:36 – Opening, Dr. Rita Toliver-Roberts, Vice President, Academic Advancement
1:17:10 – National Anthem, sung by Peirce Idol 2016 winner, Stephanie Bouloute
1:27:40 – Salute, James J. Mergiotti, President & CEO
1:41:34– Class of 2016 Student Address, Diana D. Kirkland ‘16
1:46:55 – Introduction of Keynote Speaker, Monica Denise VanWright ‘16
1:48:59 – Address to the Graduates, Tamron Hall, Keynote Speaker
1:58:00 – Conferring of Honorary Degree, Barbara A. Prutzman, Chair, Board of Trustees
2:03:43 – Presentation of the 2016 Hamilton Award
2:01:09 – Student Award Presentations
2:13:55 – Master’s of Science, Organizational Leadership & Management
2:17:20 – Accounting
2:20:04 – Business Administration
2:27:45 – Human Resources Management
2:28:43 – Integrated Leadership
2:32:01 – Healthcare Administration
2:34:11– Health Information Technology
2:36:04– Information Technology
2:39:15 – Technology Management   
2:40:25 – General Studies 
2:41:30 – Paralegal Studies
2:45:57 – Legal Studies in Business
2:46:50 – Criminal Justice Studies
2:49:17 – Recognition of 151st Class, Peirce President & CEO James J. Mergiotti
2:52:32 – Introduction to Alumni Association, Reginald S. Waller, President, Peirce Alumni Association Board of Directors
2:53:47 – Congratulations & Recessional, Dr. Rita Toliver-Roberts, Vice President, Academic Advancement

Finally, we want to congratulate all of our 2016 graduates once again. You should be very proud of your accomplishments and know that everyone at Peirce is extremely proud of you! Cheers to the rest of your lifelong learning journey!

If it’s time for you to start your journey to graduation, click here

Monday, June 13, 2016

Peirce Fits Your Family: Family Graduation Stories Highlight Support, Persistence, and Encouragement at Peirce College

Emma Leigh Morando-Young and her husband, Anthony Young. 
Today marks Peirce College’s 151st commencement ceremony.  In just a few hours, we’ll celebrate the class of 2016, and recognize them for the hard work, dedication and focus that it took for them to reach this milestone.  For some Peirce graduates, this moment of recognition and celebration will truly be a family affair.  

A few weeks ago, we told you about the Morando-Young family, and introduced you to power couple Emma Morando-Young and Anthony Young, who will both walk the stage today at commencement.  What makes their moment even more special is that their daughter, Peirce graduate Bene’t Morando-Young, will be cheering her parents on from the audience.

Mariya and Stefan Georgiev with their son, George. 
We’re also excited to introduce you to Mariya and Stefan Georgiev, another husband and wife team who will be graduating today.  What makes Stefan and Mariya’s graduation journey so unique is that they also became first time parents to their son George while pursuing their degrees.

We're pleased to announce that these deserving graduates were featured today in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and on To learn more about what it took for these families to achieve their goal of graduation, and how Peirce College was able to support them, click here.

Congratulations to the Morando-Young and Georgiev families, and to all of our Peirce graduates that will walk across the stage at the Kimmel Center today!

If it’s time for you to earn the degree you need for the career you deserve, click here

Friday, June 10, 2016

Featured Learner: Theresa Holland

Let’s face it; parents face unique challenges when they decide to earn their degree.  They not only have to deal with the demands of caring for children and supporting their family, they also have to stay on top of their studies and juggle attending classes and completing school work.  Theresa A. Holland was one of the many parents that attended Peirce College, and she felt compelled to share her story with others.

“…I had to share my story because my experience at Peirce taught me so many things about myself and helped me [become] the woman I am today,” Theresa said. “It gave me hope and made me broaden my horizons.”
Getting Started
Theresa first attended Peirce during its junior college days in the fall of 1991.  When she enrolled she was married with a two year old daughter and had her G.E.D.  She had her second daughter in 1992, and made the decision to stop attending school.    By the time the end of 1993 rolled around, Theresa welcomed another child into the world and was a full-fledged stay at home wife and mother.  After spending time enjoying raising her children and caring for her family, Theresa made the decision to go back to school.

“My youngest daughter was about to enter kindergarten so I decided to go back to school,” Theresa explained.  “I went back to Peirce in the fall of 1997 to finish my degree. Peirce had so many activities and functions at that time, it was a ‘real college’ atmosphere. I met so many people and gained long lasting friendships.  It was a really fun time at Peirce…The faculty, staff, and students were family.

She graduated in 1999 and had twin sons in 2001.  Theresa was a busy mother, and spent much of her time looking after her growing family.  Not long after welcoming her sons into the world, she ran into some hardships.

Facing Challenges
“I divorced in 2004 and moved on once again. I went bankrupt.  I was in an abusive relationship for 5 years which [caused] my partner to be convicted of a felony for assaulting me.  I had no job, no car, no money, or family besides my children. I moved into a shelter, [and] sent my kids to New York with my family.”

Theresa had to do what was best for her children, and did whatever she could to support her family.  Luckily for her, she met some compassionate and helpful people when she started to work for the Philadelphia Water Department in 2008.  She received the help she needed, but still faced some challenges.

“With the help of my coworkers and agencies I was able to get a place to live. [My] kids came back and I was raising twin sons alone. My daughters were pretty much grown and getting ready for high school graduation and college. I struggled financially for so many years as well as emotionally trying to put the pieces together.”

Going back and Moving Forward
Slowly but surely, circumstances started to improve, and Theresa’s thoughts started to turn to advancing her education.  She was ready to go back to school, but was concerned about money.  Luckily she found a school that was willing to work with her.

“Throughout all this I always thought about going back to Peirce and finishing what I started. I owed money to Peirce,” Theresa stated.  “I attempted to pay it a few times and make arrangements, but to no avail. Finally I got myself somewhat together and figured ‘let me try this again.’ I called Peirce and made arrangements to pay my debt and see what I needed to finish my degree.”

By spring 2014 Theresa became a college student, and she finished her degree requirements in fall 2016.  Completing her degree wasn’t easy.  She had to change shifts at work, and took a mix of online and traditional classes to keep her schedule flexible.  Theresa spent all of her free time writing papers and doing homework, but her hard work and determination paid off.

“I had so many obstacles, struggles, and let downs over these years. But I knew that finishing school, finishing what I started 25 years ago, would be an accomplishment that I couldn’t even begin to explain,” Theresa said.  “I finally did something right for me. Not only do I have a college degree, I [learned] a valuable lesson: never give up. I know now for certain there is nothing I can’t do. When I realized I was actually going to graduate, my dream became a reality.”

Congratulations on your graduation, Theresa!

For more information on how you can earn your degree at Peirce, click here.  

For more information on how Peirce can help you afford to reach your goal, and to learn how you can pay for the degree you need to get the career you want, click here.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Featured Learner: Hilda Rivera

In less than a week, Hilda Rivera will celebrate earning her bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration at Commencement 2016.  For Hilda, the break after graduation will be short! She’s the first student to enroll in Peirce College’s new Master of Science in Healthcare Administration degree.   We caught up with Hilda to talk about the excitement of graduation and the new endeavor of earning her master’s degree.

What made you choose Peirce College?
I chose Peirce primarily because of their commitment to working adults.  One way that really stood out to me was with Peirce Fitรค, a course format offered by Peirce that allows you to choose online or on campus attendance week to week.  The ability to switch back and forth makes all the difference if you are an adult student juggling different priorities.  If I have to stay at work late and I’m not able to make it to class on campus, I have peace of mind  knowing that I won’t fall behind, my grades won’t be affected, and I can still get the work done.  I just log into the course at home and complete my assignments for the week online.

 Now that you’ve completed your Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration, why did you choose Peirce for your master’s degree in Healthcare Administration?
I decided to continue my education at Peirce because I was familiar with the college, it was convenient, affordable and more importantly the professors are always available to assist the students.  Plus, all graduate studies classes are offered in the Peirce Fit format, so I knew I could count on that flexibility.

Also, healthcare is my passion, and I realized that if I wanted to grow and move up within my organization, having a master’s degree would give me access to more of those opportunities. 

As an employee of one of Peirce’s corporate partners, did you find the 25% tuition discount helpful?
Yes, in fact the discount was a huge motivator to go back to school for my bachelor’s degree, and to continue for my master’s.  It made it affordable for me to go back to school and continue my education.  I am proud to say that I completed my bachelor’s degree debt free.

If you could speak to your colleagues at work or your healthcare classmates and fellow graduates, what would you say to express why they should enroll in Peirce’s MSHCA program?
I would highly recommend Peirce’s MSHCA program to my colleagues and classmates.  Peirce has a lot to offer and works well to accommodate the needs of adult learning students.  The curriculum is outstanding, the professors are awesome and the flexibility is great.  I would tell them to follow their dream, and let Peirce help.

For more information on how you can earn your master’s degree in Healthcare Administration at Peirce College, click here.

To find out if your employer is a Peirce College corporate partner, click here

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Introducing your Commencement 2016 Student Commencement Speaker: Diana Kirkland

Some people are naturally upbeat and spread their positive energy to those around them. Diana Kirkland – proud mother of six, grandmother of five, military veteran, Peirce graduate and our student commencement speaker -- is one of them.   Diana’s Peirce story spans decades, and includes a few false starts; but what makes it so inspiring is her ability to get back on track, and finish strongly and with grace.

Diana first learned about Peirce in the late 1980s when a family member attended the College. Although she was interested in a college degree, she decided to enlist in the United States Navy instead. She served on active duty from 1988 to 1991 and in the reserves from 1991 to 1994.
While living in and raising her children in Philadelphia, life became a struggle for Diana as she battled an addiction to drugs and alcohol. College was still on her mind, and she began an educational program to earn a paralegal certification at Berean Institute. Unfortunately, her continued struggle with addiction didn’t allow her to complete the program.

2010 opened a new door for Diana. She got sober and her youngest children didn’t need as much care at home, setting her on the path to earning her college degree. Diana attended the TRIO Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) Program at the University of Pennsylvania, a preparatory course for veterans who want to go to college. The program prepares veterans in areas that include math, computers, science, literature, and reading so they’re able to pass college entrance exams.

After a year in the VUB program, Diana’s instructors thought she had progressed enough and was ready for college. Around that time, the program took its students on a field trip to Peirce, and Diana got to know the College’s faculty and staff firsthand through the day’s events.

“I was just really impressed with how the staff interacted with the students.  You could feel that they were genuine in wanting the students to succeed,” says Diana. “They all said that they had open door policies and that they would bend over backwards to help us with whatever we needed. They had a bunch of resources available for us to reach out if we needed help, and at that point, I decided that this was the college for me. To me, it’s more like a family rather than a college.”

Jim Mergiotti, Peirce’s President & CEO, specifically stood out to Diana. “The main person who stuck out to me at first was President Mergiotti because he said he has an open door policy and if you need anything, you can always drop by his office. Upon meeting me for the first time, he remembered my name,” Diana continues. “[At other colleges she attended] you never saw the president. They were so big and there were so many people, you couldn’t really get to know the faculty and staff besides your professors." 

Diana was also impressed with Peirce's dedication to adult learners. "Upon arriving at Peirce, I found that it was very supportive and has students who are in the workforce and want to earn their degrees. That struck me because I had other things that I was doing at the time and it just seemed like it would really fit into my life. I felt like I belonged here.”

Diana enrolled at Peirce in 2012. In 2014, she graduated with her associate degree in Paralegal Studies.  And now, she’s preparing to walk across the stage at Commencement 2016 with her bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies, Magna Cum Laude.  Throughout her tenure at Peirce, Diana has also been involved in the Peirce Leadership program, as a Work-Study student in the Walker Center, and has served as a Peirce Ambassador.  She also made the Dean’s List and President’s List multiple times.

Diana’s passion for Paralegal Studies has been her driving force since day 1 at Peirce College.  “I enjoy learning about the law and how it applies to people in our country,” she says. “I’ve always been excited about that. As for my program, I enjoy the faculty and staff because they reach out and they are very supportive. It’s not an easy program and I didn’t expect it to be, but they make it so I can understand it and I can relate it to life.”

Diana has found that the professors at Peirce are willing to go above and beyond for their students; she has even been given help on an assignment over the weekend. “I remember one of my first Paralegal Studies classes, where I was having a little trouble she says.  Professor Ivy Kempf went above and beyond for me,” she says. “I was having a problem with an assignment and I wasn’t really sure of how to handle it, so I called her. I left her a message and she called me back.  Because it was the weekend, I wasn’t sure she would call me back, but she did. I was thrilled because it allowed me to get the assignment done.”

Diana also felt especially encouraged as a military member at Peirce. “Sometimes it’s hard for a person to be in the military and then come out and transition back into civilian life,” Diana said. “It’s really hard for military members to do that. But don’t forget that there are a lot of programs and incentives out here for military members to go back to school and to achieve something new. Peirce has lots of information available on its website about the types of support military members can find.”

With almost six years of sobriety under her belt and getting ready to celebrate her graduation, Diana has overcome quite a few obstacles on her path to earning a college degree.   She's excited to use her role as student commencement speaker to share the wisdom that she’s learned during her journey to earn her degree.  Diana says, “In the words of Maya Angelou, I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. I will never forget how Peirce College made feel like I am somebody.”

Through it all, Diana has stayed true to her motto; be better than average. “What’s the point in coming to college if you want to just be an average student? I want to be the best I can be!”

Lucky for Diana, she’s much more than average, and a true inspiration to anyone who thinks earning a college degree is beyond their reach.  Congratulations on your graduation, Diana!

To learn more about how you can earn your bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies at Peirce College, click here.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Q&A with our 2016 Commencement Speaker Tamron Hall

With Commencement 2016 right around the corner, students are getting excited to walk across the stage and into their prosperous futures! One of the most exciting parts of the night is when the Commencement Speaker takes the podium to share advice, hope, and wisdom with our graduates. 

This year, we are excited to welcome award-winning journalist Tamron Hall! Ms. Hall is co-host of NBC News' TODAY and anchor of MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Hall about what she’ll be speaking about at Commencement, her thoughts on adult education, and more. See her thoughts below: 

What were your initial thoughts on being chosen as Peirce’s 2016 commencement speaker?
I lived in Philly for many years so naturally it was a huge honor to share in the joy of completing this journey with the students at Peirce. 

You’ve served as a commencement speaker at other colleges before; what do you enjoy most about being part of the big day? 
 Seeing the families and friends who prayed and rooted for the graduate beam with joy! It's incredible to witness.

Can you give us a taste of the themes you’ll be speaking about at Commencement? 
It's not over until it's over.  And by the way it's never over because you will find new goals and new dreams to pursue.

Since graduating from college in Philadelphia, are you able to visit often? How will it feel to be back?
I'm on the board of trustees at Temple University so I am there often. I also have friends who I am very close to who live in North Philly.

What do you remember the most from your own college graduation? 
I remember being afraid and excited at the same time. It was very emotional.

What are your thoughts on education and its importance, particularly for the adult student?
My mother had to leave college when she became pregnant with me. She didn't get her degree until years later. It’s so important that we focus on childhood education, but I believe it's also our responsibility to encourage the adults who also want to pursue their goals. Why does learning or the opportunity to learn need to stop at the door of the youth?

In over twenty years in broadcasting, you’ve covered a range of topics across different platforms—from local news, to Deadline, to the Today Show.  Did you always know that you wanted to be a reporter?  
Yes, it has always been dream. I majored in broadcast journalism. I wasn't sure how it would turn out for me. I knew the passion was there and I was ready to commit to this profession.

What advice do you have to our upcoming graduates about following their dreams?  
How do you give advice to people you want advice from? What they've accomplished inspires me. I am sure there were many nights of juggling work and family and yet they did it!

Any tips for our graduates as they approach the big day? 
Enjoy the moment. Soak up your success!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Featured Learner: Janice Soulas

For Janice Soulas, her Peirce journey began in 1987, when her employer encouraged her to go back to school for her associate’s degree in paralegal studies, and offered to pay for it. 

“I didn’t know where to start looking,” she says.  “My dad suggested that I look into Peirce, [a junior college at the time] because he had taken a certificate course there and had a good experience.”

Janice followed her father’s advice, and enrolled in some initial courses at Peirce.  Although she enjoyed what she was learning, life got in the way.  

“I felt like I needed to spread my wings.  I was more interested in learning from the college of life,” she explains, “so I chose to move from Pennsylvania to California, which was really exciting.”

Some years went by, and when Janice returned to Pennsylvania to be closer to family, her employer again encouraged her to finish her degree.  But, just as she was completing another course, life through her for another loop.  Janice found out she was expecting, so she put school on hold once again to focus on raising her children.

11 years later, when Janice’s employer brought up finishing her degree, Janice was determined to complete what she started. “I’m starting to think my employers know something!” she laughs, reflecting on the encouragement she received.

Now, five years later, and almost 30 years after she first stepped through Peirce College’s “arch of opportunity” at 1420 Pine Street,  Janice is preparing to walk across the stage at Commencement 2016.  

As Janice reflects on this tremendous accomplishment, she is grateful to all the people who supported her along the way; especially her family, who always believed in her, all of the employers who encouraged her, and her professors and support team at Peirce College for helping her make it happen.

“Thanks to my support system and Peirce College, I am so proud to FINALLY be a college graduate!”  

If you began your studies at Peirce College, but life got in the way, that’s ok! We’re here to help you get back on track.  Click here to take the first step. 

If your employer is encouraging you to earn your degree, you might be eligible for a 25% corporate partner tuition discount. Learn more here. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Featured Learners: Emma Morando-Young & Anthony Young

A mother's dream 
Is there anything more inspiring than a family putting their education first?  While many parents strive to teach their children the importance of earning a degree, it takes a special kind of family to walk the talk.  The Morando-Young family has clearly placed an importance on learning, and it all started with one determined mom.

Emma Leigh Morando-Young is military wife, mother, and soon to be Peirce graduate.   She had to stop her formal education at a young age, but she never lost the desire to go to school.
“After becoming a military wife at age 16, my education was put on the shelf,” Emma stated. “But, it was never out of my mind.”

Emma was busy raising her children and caring for her family, but it’s clear that education was still a priority for her.  She had a desire to learn and excel, so she eventually went back to school.  Emma was able to get her GED at the age of 26, but that was only the beginning of her educational achievements.   When she was 32 she received her associate’s degree in paralegal studies at Peirce.  She wanted to earn another degree, but she would be doing things differently this time around.  Emma went from studying solo to making school a family affair.

“In 2013 I began another education journey at Peirce, but this time I wasn't alone,” Emma explained.  “This time I would be joined by my husband Anthony and daughter Bene’t. We decided to take on our education as a family.”

The family that studies together, graduates together
The timing was perfect.  Her husband Anthony decided to take advantage of his GI Bill and he began to pursue a degree in criminal justice.  Her daughter Bene’t was one of the first graduates of Peirce’s Year Up program, and was eager to continue her education.  Bene’t had a love of technology, so she chose to study computer programming.

The family’s hard work has paid off immensely.  Anthony and Emma will both be walking during our June 2016 commencement.  Anthony will earn his associate's degree and is finishing Magna Cum Laude, and has affectionately been given the nickname of “Egghead” from his 15 year old son Kyron. Anthony and Bene’t are both working to finish their bachelor’s degrees and are set to graduate together next year.  Some people couldn’t imagine having their entire family enrolled in school, but Emma and Anthony found a way to make it work. 

“During our journey we have had many ups and downs.  We have grown into a strong support system for each other. We also had great support from friends and family.  We made sure that we made time for family in between work, studying, and school.”

Reflecting on the unique experience her family has had of going to college together, Emma has a lot of positive takeaways.  She’s been shown the true power family can have when they encourage and support each other to accomplish a shared goal, and hopes that she’ll continue to inspire her family. 

“My husband and I are marking this down on a list of our marriage achievements.  I want this achievement to show my children that it is never too late to reach your goals.  And with family support anything can be achieved.  I am truly blessed to share this with them.”

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