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.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

From the Dominican Republic to Peirce College – Meet Anabel Salce

At the young age of 19 years old, Anabel Salce traveled from the Dominican Republic to America with just her parents and a whole lot of dreams. Not knowing much English, she decided to set a goal of learning the language to make her parents (and herself!) proud. Not only did Anabel learn English fluently, she also has excelled academically and was awarded a top honor in the process.

Anabel started her journey in America by immediately entering the workforce. She spent her days working in a factory where she was given some of the toughest jobs. One day, she stopped and realized she had bigger dreams to accomplish and she was not living her best life. That night, she went home to her mother and said she had decided it was time to return to school.

As Anabel put it, “My factory job inspired me to make ‘I’ll go back to school later’ into ‘I’ll go back to school NOW.’”

Immediately following this new dream, she enrolled at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP). Anabel always knew she wanted to be in the medical field, but she wasn’t sure which path was for her just yet. After taking some classes, she discovered becoming a medical assistant was what she really wanted to do.

Anabel said, “I love helping people. Working with patients is so fulfilling. I get the chance to work with them and make a difference on a daily basis.”

After graduating from CCP in 2013, she wanted to keep going in order to continue learning and growing into her desired career. Thanks to a fellow colleague, Peirce College came into the conversation right away.

“[My colleague] told me about the flexibility, online classes and the working adult environment that Peirce had to offer. She was currently a student and loved her experience, so encouraged me to enroll,” explained Anabel. “[My colleague] was working two jobs while attending school, so I figured if she could do that, I could certainly balance one job with school.”

Next thing Anabel knew, she was a Peirce student pursuing her Associate in Science in Health Information Technology. Following this successful journey, she wasn’t quite done yet. Anabel wanted her Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration and, having had such a pleasant experience with the first degree, she knew it’d be a natural transition to keep right on going with earning her bachelor’s at Peirce.

“The flexibility of being able to choose each week whether to be in class or online – Peirce Fit® – has been extremely helpful,” explained Anabel on her Peirce experience. “Additionally, all the students in class have similar goals, motivation and priorities. I love the small college environment where you get to know everyone and you feel supported by tons of people.”

In addition to the benefits experienced at Peirce, Anabel also received benefits through her employer, Penn Medicine. As a corporate partner of Peirce College, all Penn Medicine employees, such as Anabel, receive an additional 25% off tuition on top of their generous company tuition benefit.

As Anabel continues chasing her dreams, Peirce College is not the only one recognizing Anabel for her perseverance, dedication and honorable goals. Recently, Anabel was a proud recipient of the prestigious 2018 Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia Paradigm Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship that is awarded annually to women in the workforce who are working toward an undergraduate degree.

Anabel said, “At first, I wasn’t even going to apply for the scholarship. I didn’t think much of it as I didn’t expect to win. Then, my Academic Advisor, Holly Tillery, continued to encourage me by sending me the application via email over and over again. Finally, I applied and I am so glad I did because it was truly an honor to win.”

At the official award ceremony, Anabel, along with the other scholarship recipients, were recognized by keynote speaker, Wendy Hamilton, General Manager, Sugar House Casino, as inspirational role models for all working women.

Anabel reflected on her recognition and said, “I want to be an example for other Hispanic people who come from another country. I want to inspire them and let them know that it is possible to readjust to the new culture, language, education system, etc. There are good jobs out there for us. You can do it!”

Anabel is currently a Clinical Medical Assistant in the Dermatology Oncology Surgery Department at Penn Medicine. She hopes to stay with the company and continue to grow in her division and field to reach her top potential.

Peirce College is honored to serve a student like Anabel who shows that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. We are so proud of Anabel and wish her nothing but success as she continues to chase her dreams!

Peirce College and Penn Medicine have been valued partners since 2014. Penn Medicine employees, spouses and dependents are eligible for a 25% tuition discount at Peirce College. To learn more about enrolling at Peirce, please visit peirce.edu/apply.

For a complete list of all corporate partners, please visit peirce.edu/corporate-partners. If your company is not listed and you would like to be considered for partnership, please contact Steve Bird, Program Manager, Institutional Partnerships, at swbird@peirce.edu or 215.670.9375.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Second Annual Peirce Voice Voting Is Open!

Voting is now open! Are you ready to help decide who will be the Second Annual Peirce Voice winner?

Two fantastic Peirce students brought their talent to the College this week and we are ready to share their voices with you. Voting is officially open, so it’s time to make your selection. Visit the voting portal now to access the survey where your say matters. Please be sure to listen to both auditions and pick the one you believe will best represent the Peirce student body at this year’s commencement ceremony on June 11.

2017 Peirce Voice Winner: Natasha Moore
Don’t forget – you can only see their names and hear their voices. No faces will be on the recordings as this was a BLIND audition! So close your eyes, enjoy the talent and make your decision.

Voting is open to the public, so share the voting portal with all your family and friends! We want to be sure everyone gets the chance to participate. Voting will close on Wednesday, April 25 and the winner will be announced on our blog and social media outlets on Monday, April 30. Be sure to check back to see if your choice for the Second Annual Peirce Voice Winner won the grand prize!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Think Job Fairs Are A Waste of Time? Here Is Why You Should Think Again

In Career Development Services, we sometimes hear excuses about why people are not planning to attend the annual job fair. Well, we are here to reassure you there is great value behind these career-focused events. Not totally convinced? Let us answer some of the top hesitations:

1. “You leave with nothing more than sore feet.”

Chances are that you have been to a job fair before. You could have wasted away 2 or 3 hours of your life getting jostled around by hundreds of other job seekers, only to leave with a stack of business cards for people you don’t remember and sore feet that you can’t seem to forget.

That’s because if you don’t strategize, job fairs can be a waste of time! If you show up without an updated resume, a memorable introduction, or even a big smile, you may have taken a step backward. Before arriving, research the companies who will be there, ask a friend to help you practice your professional introduction and have a list of “warm up” tables you’ll visit before introducing yourself to your dream company. Additionally, be sure to dress to impress! Get your suit dry-cleaned (or get a new interviewing outfit through Career Wardrobe – contact CDS for a referral).

2. “No one will offer me a job or even an interview.”

You wandered around from table to table, collecting promotional pens and waiting for someone to recognize your brilliance, like a diamond in the rough. It never happens.

Here’s the thing: most employers don’t do on-the-spot interviews or hiring. They’re not Oprah with a bag full of jobs to sprinkle on their adoring audience: they are there to generate interest in their positions so they can then select the best candidates (usually after a series of interviews). Job Fairs are hectic for both job seekers and recruiters, so they will want to schedule some one-on-one time after the job fair to properly vet these candidates.

Keep in mind that you are attending this job fair to make connections with people. If you wait until someone spots you, you will be waiting forever. So go introduce yourself, ask some questions, and find out about the next step in their hiring process. Ideally, you will be able to follow up directly with the person you met, so remember to ask for contact information (and take a moment before you move along to make notes about your interaction).

The next day when you reach out through email or LinkedIn, don’t hesitate to mention the memorable aspects of your discussion. Did you find out that you are both originally from North Carolina? Did she remark on the subtle polka dots in your tie? Remind the recruiters of those interactions to help personalize and humanize your job search strategies.

3. “No one is hiring for my exact position.”

After visiting each and every table at the job fair, you realize that no one is looking to fill the job you want. Therefore, nothing will ever come of this, right?

Wrong -- perhaps you are in a very niche field or seeking a specific position that does not have many openings. However, your objective at this job fair is to make connections with the recruiters and let them know how you fit in with their organization’s culture and core values. They might be there looking to fill positions for 20 front-line workers, but those front-line workers will need a manager. Tell them about your management qualifications and keep in touch so that when they do have that a managerial opening, they remember you!

Think outside the box! A law enforcement agency might have IT openings, a social services organization might be looking for managers, and a hospital might be recruiting for their human resources and accounting departments. If you are creative in your job searching pursuits, you will open yourself up to a world of opportunities.

Ultimately, job fairs can be a waste of time. Peirce’s unique job fair strategy ensures that you will not spend time meeting recruiters who aren’t seriously recruiting. Each one of our employers is vetted to ensure they are recruiting for actual open positions. No services or sales pitches here! Our employers know about the majors offered here at Peirce and are specifically looking to recruit candidates to fill positions in the legal, healthcare administration, IT, or management fields.

To get the most of out of this (and any) job fair:
  1. Prepare a quick introduction and a few questions you can ask recruiters.
  2. Refocus your job fair goals to make connections that will pay off in the future.
  3. Dress for success. Demonstrate your ability to exceed expectations by wearing a business-appropriate outfit or suit. Contact Career Development Services now for a referral to get a free interview suit!
  4. Come prepared: 
    1. Yes, bring several copies of your resume, but don’t be surprised if you are redirected to the company website (sometimes it’s just company protocol!). 
    2. A folder or portfolio: bring a place to stow marketing material and business cards (a folder with pockets works great). 
    3. A way to take notes to remember specifics on who you talked to so you can write a memorable follow-up email or LinkedIn request. A notepad works, and so does the memo app on your phone.
  5. Keep a positive attitude throughout, even when you are in the hallway, elevator, or restroom. You never know who is listening in!
  6. Follow up immediately to solidify these connections and stand out from the competition.
Register now for the upcoming Peirce College Job Fair on Thursday, April 26 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. on campus: peirce.edu/jobfair

For assistance with job searching, contact Career Development Services at 215.670.9202, cds@peirce.edu, or visit the office in Suite 67, College Hall.

Monday, April 2, 2018

A Night Filled With Encouragement, Diversity and Conversation

Last week, we were honored to be joined by some of Philadelphia’s top executive women who led the conversation on Advancing the Work of Inclusion and Equity at Peirce College’s 8th Annual Women in Leadership. In addition to these fine leaders, we were joined by approximately 100 community members who were actively engaged in the evening filled with candid and courageous conversations.

Our diverse and knowledgeable panelists included:

- Folasade "Sade" Olanipekun-Lewis, Regional Director for Government and Airport Affairs with American Airlines
- Rochelle “Chellie” Cameron, Chief Executive Officer for the Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport
- Romona Riscoe Benson, Director of PECO Corporate Relations
- Dr. Monique Howard, Executive Director of Women Organized Against Rape

Additionally, we had our special guest moderator, Carol Wilson Pandza, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, AmeriHealth Caritas.

Combined, these women brought their unique expertise to the discussion. The conversation began by looking at encouragement and mentorship from women for women. Chellie Cameron was one of the first to speak on this by reiterating how leaders who have the ability to inspire and promote women need to do so because, as she put it, “Trust me, there are women out there who are ready.”

In addition, Dr. Monique Howard continued the discussion by encouraging the audiences’ hearts when she said, “Sometimes you are not invited to the table, but you know the table is for you. Take YOUR seat!” The panelists challenged the audience to not only push themselves to find growth and opportunity in the workforce, but to bring other women and other minority groups who may not have found this door for advancement yet with them.

While on the topic of minority groups, the elite panel opened up about the importance of seeking diversity in the workforce through experience, background, race, gender, etc. Chellie Cameron and Sade Olanipekun-Lewis spoke directly to a work experience where Chellie developed a diverse leadership team, which Sade took part in, where she was able to bring together ideas and contributions from some of the most diverse workers. This dream team was not easy to form, but the results were tremendous and changed the organization for the better.

The panel then took us through a discussion on perseverance and the importance of moving forward with dignity and charisma no matter how each scenario works out. As Romona Riscoe Benson put it, “We must celebrate our accomplishments. And at the same time, we have to keep pushing.” Romona encouraged the audience to be proud of every milestone, but never to lose sight of the goal. Carol Wilson Pandza joined in on this segment explaining the importance of accomplishment, but also failure, “Go for it. And if you don’t get it, handle it well. People will watch how you handle what you don’t get more closely than what you do get.”

On the topic of moving forward, Dr. Howard referenced the “Me Too” movement and how in order for all of us to finally see and experience real change, we need to continue keep pushing forward. Our efforts as a unifying group will allow for real change.

As a closing point, Sade Olanipekun-Lewis brought everything together when she emphasized, “Our collective job is to help all of us achieve our higher purpose.” This idea tied everything discussed together showing how we won’t make progress without one another; we won’t see results without coming together as a team. The entire panel brought this form of togetherness to the room on Thursday, March 29 and we hope despite the event concluding, the conversation does not end.

Thank you to all of our panelists, our special guest moderator and all of our community members who joined in on this timely and necessary conversation! Be sure to stay tuned for more Peirce events coming up where we continue the discussion on advancement with inclusion and equity.