Thursday, August 29, 2019

NFL Alumni and Peirce College Partner to Expand Access to Affordable and Flexible Degrees

Peirce College is collaborating with the NFL Alumni to provide retired NFL players, coaches, cheerleaders and their spouses expanded access to flexible, affordable undergraduate degree completion and graduate programs designed to prepare for transition to a new career after leaving the gridiron.

On Wednesday, NFL Alumni CEO Beasley Reece and President and CEO of Peirce College Dr. Mary Ellen Caro signed a partnership agreement that has created a pathway for new students, especially those who joined the league before completing their bachelor’s degree.

This partnership opens the door for members and employees of the NFL Alumni to affordable, flexible degree programs and certificates that are designed specifically for working adults. With Peirce’s personalized degree completion pathways that maximize transfer credits, professional and military training, and other college-level knowledge that has been acquired outside the classroom, NFL Alumni members are already on the path to degree completion.

This partnership will also provide access to Peirce’s career advancement training and returning to learning resources as members and employees plan to grow and expand their careers.

Peirce College is thrilled to partner with the NFL Alumni to offer more individuals a discounted approach to education, which can help to further their careers and their lives.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Four Peirce Degrees Later – Donna Adkins Is Full of Peirce Pride

You have heard of one-time Peirce graduates, two-time Peirce graduates, and even three-time Peirce graduates; but have you ever heard of a four-time Peirce graduate? Now you have! Donna Adkins, class of 1981, 2015, 2017 and, most recently, 2019, shares her story as the final feature of the Graduate Summer Blog Series.

Turning back the clock to 1978, Donna originally heard of Peirce College as she searched for a place to go following high school. After attending a lecture at Peirce, she immediately knew this was where she wanted to be. “I went to visit Peirce for an event and during my visit, I felt at home. I immediately loved the feeling I got from those surrounding me and knew this was my place,” said Donna.

After earning her Associate in Science in Liberal Arts in 1981, Donna moved into the workforce where she found herself immersed in the non-clinical health industry for over 34 years. During this time, Donna became a mother and gained valuable work experience. As her children got older and her career was more developed, she discovered a newfound interest in medical coding and her desire to learn and do more. That is when Donna decided it was time to keep her dream alive and head back to school.

“I always had in the back of mind that I wanted to return to school. It’s always been a goal of mine to earn my doctorate. In 2013, I finally decided it was time and as soon as I heard Peirce College had an associate, bachelor’s and master’s program in the non-clinical health programs industry, I knew just where I would go.”

At 53 years old, Donna pursued her dreams and decided to start at the beginning again with an associate program. She earned her Associate in Science in Health Information Technology in 2015. Not stopping there, she continued right along and earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration in 2017.

Now a three-time Peirce graduate, Donna had a lot of credentials to her name, but she still had goals and dreams. Donna was ready to earn her master’s degree.

“I have 17- and 20-year old grandchildren who I wanted to inspire by earning my fourth degree. I wanted to show them we can do anything we put our minds to despite life’s obstacles. If I could do it at my age, they could it at theirs.”

Diving into this next degree, Donna was immediately captivated by the professors, students, and knowledge she was gaining inside the classroom. Working hard each day, Donna earned her Master of Science in Healthcare Administration in June 2019 with her Peirce experience coming full circle.

“When I got to graduation for my master’s degree, I realized how fulfilling it was to see my progression. During my first two Peirce graduations, I was in the back with my associate degrees. Then I moved up to the middle with my bachelor’s degree. Now, I was in the front row ready to earn my fourth Peirce degree.”

Donna said all of her degrees, especially her master’s, has allowed her to excel in her career. She currently works with undocumented patients in a pre-natal department and through her experiences in the classroom, she has learned valuable leadership skills to better assist them with the different scenarios she sees every day.

Beyond just her career, Donna is also using her master’s degree to assist with her final academic goal – earning her doctorate degree. Donna said, “I am now preparing to enroll in a doctorate program and I am truly sad it won’t be at Peirce. Luckily, I know on this next adventure, I can still count on all the Peirce professors, especially Professor D. Rembert to support me and provide me with the help I need to complete my goals.”

As Donna prepares for her next journey, she has advice for anyone thinking of going back to earn their first, second, third, or maybe even fourth degree. She said, “If earning a degree is something you want to do, do it. There are so many obstacles that will try to get in your way, but do not let them stop you. It is all possible, especially with Peirce, where they focus on working adults and flexibility. This is a goal you can complete!”

Congratulations to Donna on all of her degrees and best wishes as she moves on to reach her top goal of earning her doctorate.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Mother of Five with a 4.0 – Meet Robyn Petersen

Back in June 2018, Peirce College introduced the community to a hardworking scholarship recipient, Robyn Petersen, who was chasing her dream of earning her Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies. Now, one year later, I am proud to re-introduce Robyn Petersen as a recent Peirce College Alumna, Class of 2019.

Like many Peirce College students, Robyn Petersen was in her 30’s when she decided it was time to take the leap and pursue a bachelor’s degree. She lived in Camden County, NJ and had an interest in the law, so it was natural that she chose to major in Paralegal Studies at Peirce College's partner school, Camden County College. The attention to detail when researching cases and the way that laws and regulations are applied to each case fascinated Robyn from the beginning of her studies, and by the time she graduated from Camden County in 2018, she knew she didn’t want to waste any time in finding a college where she could continue her studies.

Robyn first heard about Peirce College when one of her classmates at Camden County told her it was a good fit for her considering she worked full-time and needed a flexible schedule. Her mentor and program coordinator, Professor Sondi Lee, Esquire, agreed that this would be a good fit and encouraged Robyn to apply. Once she learned that Peirce was the only American Bar Association-approved Paralegal Studies bachelor’s degree program in the Philadelphia area, she was interested. After speaking with one of Peirce’s Enrollment Specialists, Blake Scull she learned that more than 60 of her credits would transfer, and from that moment on, she was ready to start.

“I had a wonderful experience getting enrolled at Peirce. Blake was such a big help – I felt informed and organized throughout the entire admissions process,” Robyn said.

Robyn was inducted into the Lambda Epilson Chi honor society for paralegal students and graduated this past June with her Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies with a 4.0 GPA. In addition to her academic commitments, she worked full time and raised her five children! With that kind of workload, you could understand if Robyn needed to complete most of her coursework online rather than on-campus. Despite her full plate, though, Robyn still preferred to come in for class, and attended her courses at the college.

“I’ve always been an in-class learner; that’s how I thrive. But it’s great to know that if one of my kids got sick, or if there was another life event, I could complete the week’s work online. The small class sizes, the individual attention, the help I could get at the Walker Center for Academic Excellence – everything made me feel like I had a lot of resources to make sure I was successful,” Robyn said.

When asked if she had any advice for adults that might be considering a return to college, she was quick to say, “It’s never too late. It doesn’t have to be full-time if you can’t do it; even if you take one class at a time, it will be worth it in the end when you graduate.”

Robyn is proud to have a great career and has recently been promoted to an HR Compliance Specialist. This role allows her to use her legal background to comply with employment laws, provide analysis, and review regulatory requirements. Though she stays very busy with her full-time job and big family, she says she loves to spend time at the beach with her husband and children, watch her kids play sports, and give back to the community by volunteering.

Peirce College commends Camden County College for providing Robyn with an excellent educational foundation, and wishes her the best of luck in her 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

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Three Degrees Later, Marlena Gordon Has No Regrets

Marlena Gordon’s journey at Peirce College originally started back in 2000 when she decided it was time to get the guilt of not going to college off her back and finally accomplish her dreams.

“I decided to earn my degree as an adult because I was ready to reverse my regret of not going to college right after high school. This was my chance to achieve my goals!”

After deciding it was time to return to school, Marlena started talking to coworkers and friends to find the best place for her. After research and many conversations, Marlena Gordon decided Peirce College was the right fit.

Marlena originally enrolled in Peirce’s Associate in Science in Business Administration program and conquered that step with ease graduating in 2003. She decided to keep her momentum going and enrolled in Peirce’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Management program.

During her bachelor’s program, though, Marlena ran into a bump in the road. “My mother passed away in 2012, just 3 days before I was about to begin my last semester in my bachelor’s program. I had to withdraw due to this hard time and began to justify my incomplete degree by saying, ‘I only have two classes left to finish my bachelor’s degree,’” explained Marlena. “After a while, though, this statement started to feel like an excuse for failing. I finally had enough with this excuse and returned to Peirce to finish what I started.”

Marlena came back better than ever and completed her bachelor’s degree in August of 2016. Though this accomplishment was not easy, she decided she still had determination in her to earn one more degree.

“After finishing my bachelor’s, I still did not feel complete and that’s because back in 2000 I told myself I would keep going until I had a master’s degree.”

And that is just what Marlena did. After attending a Peirce College Graduate Studies Open House, Marlena discovered her experience in the workplace and goals of obtaining a master’s degree aligned perfectly with Peirce’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management program.

Starting in Peirce’s MSOLM program in January 2017, Marlena worked hard and found herself a three-time Peirce graduate as of June 2019. Marlena said during her time at Peirce, for all three degrees, she valued the flexibility and quality of learning. “Peirce’s opportunity for students to select what suits us best as working adults (on-campus or online or both) made it easier to juggle life’s happenings,” said Marlena. “Additionally, the interactive learning from the Peirce professors, not only helped me understand and retain the information, but it assisted me in applying what I learned directly to my professional career.”

Currently, Marlena is an Administrator with the City of Philadelphia, Department of Public Health, Air Management Services Division where she has been advancing in management for the last seven years. With her new degree, she hopes to showcase her new skillset and continue to grow in her career.

Marlena said now that she has three degrees in-hand, she reflects back on her overall experience finding it challenging, but so rewarding. “Earning my degree as an adult was challenging because of life’s other responsibilities and circumstances, but also so rewarding for reasons such as setting an example for my children that I did not quit and we can do anything we set our minds to.”

Congratulations to Marlena Gordon on all three degrees!

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

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!