Friday, June 12, 2020

Reflecting Back on His Time at Peirce – Hear from DeVonte Douglass

This story was originally published on Peirce College's website found here.

Back in August 2019, Professor Mike Agnello introduced a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice student, DeVonte Douglass. At that point, DeVonte was engrossed in his studies and tackling different internships gaining both knowledge in and out of the classroom.

Now, I am thrilled to re-introduce DeVonte as a Class of 2020 graduate who finished his degree this past May.

Originally earning his Associate in Science in Criminal Justice from Peirce College in 2018, DeVonte moved right into his bachelor’s degree eager to continue his studies in the field where he found his calling.

“I chose the criminal justice program because I have family members who were done wrongfully by the criminal justice system. I want to be the change inside of our criminal justice system,” explained DeVonte. “I want to be able to get the victim or the State of Pennsylvania, the justice they deserve by restoring trust in our criminal justice system for both the victims and defendants who enter those courtrooms.”

With this burning passion, DeVonte plans to take his bachelor’s degree and move onto law school. He said, “I plan on using my degree in Criminal Justice to go back to school and become a criminal attorney either as a prosecutor or criminal defense attorney.”

DeVonte feels equipped to take this next step thanks to all his studies at Peirce College, but feels especially prepared thanks to one professor in particular. “I have gained knowledge from each and every one of my professors, including Associate Professor and Faculty Chair of Legal Studies, Michael Agnello who encouraged me to push forward to become a criminal attorney. He has continued to help put me on the right path with assisting with all of my questions and being there regarding the criminal justice program.”

Reflecting back on his time at Peirce, DeVonte shared, “My overall Peirce experience was a rewarding one. It came with challenges, which is expected when you are trying to better yourself.”

DeVonte elaborated on his challenges, explaining, “The challenges I faced were personal and financial both which could have stopped me from pursuing my degree. I thought about the people I would be disappointing when I felt like I did not want to pursue my degree any longer and it inspired me to keep going. The professors also always encouraged me to keep going no matter what. The professors were more accommodating than they needed to be, but it makes a difference when you have professors who care about you. Also, being a scholarship recipient two years in a row helped significantly with the financial struggle that I was going through.”

Through his challenges, DeVonte learned a lot and is eager to share his knowledge with others. He said, “You should not hesitate about returning to college, but you should know it comes with challenges. Everything in life comes with challenges. You will find, though, that going back to college is a rewarding experience. It betters your life and the people around you. I have set a good example for the little ones that look up to me and even the people in my neighborhood.”

Finally, as DeVonte prepares for his upcoming commencement, he explained who this new degree was really for. He said, “I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me throughout my college career. This degree is dedicated to my Grandmother (Carol Douglass Smith), who lost her battle to cancer in August 2019.”

Congratulations to DeVonte on all his successes! Peirce College looks forward to supporting DeVonte as a new alumnus and cheering him on at the virtual commencement on June 23rd.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Mother, Grandmother, Author, and Graduate – Meet Tamara Hawkins

This story was originally published on Peirce College's website found here.

In 2012, Tamara Hawkins decided to take her supervisor’s advice on earning her bachelor’s degree and started to look into programs in the Philadelphia area. She discovered a college she once knew as a two-year business college had evolved over time and had just what she was looking for.

That is when Tamara found Peirce College.

“I stumbled across Peirce’s bachelor’s programs and saw the evolution of Peirce over the years. I remember Peirce when it was just a two-year school. To see it grow so much really stood out to me,” explained Tamara. “So, I decided to visit campus and talk to an admissions representative.”

Her visit to campus was eye-opening and allowed for her to understand just how long it would take to earn her degree and how much it would cost.

“When I met with my admissions representative, she told me Peirce would take all of my credits from the Community College of Philadelphia. Having an associate degree from CCP allowed me to save time and money at Peirce because it would take less than 2 years to complete my bachelor’s degree,” said Tamara. “Additionally, Peirce College was the only school that would clearly identify what classes I needed to take and map out my exact route to graduation. After seeing all of that, I said, ‘let’s do it!’”

Tamara enrolled in Peirce’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program and found herself graduating in no time. In 2014, Tamara completed her goal and turned her focus back to her career.

Working in health care for over 20 years inspired Tamara to stay in contact with Peirce and take a few Medical Coding classes here and there to continue expanding her knowledge to bring back to her line of work.

In 2016, though, Tamara heard that Peirce College had developed a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration program and this caught her attention. “After my bachelor’s degree was complete, I swore I was done with degrees. Then I heard about Peirce’s MSHCA program and it aligned with my career and interests, so I reached out once again to learn more.”

After gaining a better understanding of the classes she would be taking this second time around, Tamara enrolled and found herself immersed in the content more than she ever thought possible. “In the MSHCA program, my eyes were opened to so many things I never knew before. I gained a deeper understanding of insurance, health care, technology, HIPAA, and more. This program aligned with my interests and career path perfectly.”

In 2018, during her time in the program, Tamara landed a new position within the health care field. “I originally wanted to be a nurse, but when I decided against that career path, I always knew I wanted to be in the health care field. During my master’s program, I started as a Senior Biller at the Temple Dental School. My master’s has helped me significantly in this position because it has taught me the lingo you really can’t learn anywhere else.”

In December 2019, Tamara finished her master’s degree and is now a proud member of the Class of 2020. As Tamara reflected back on her time at Peirce, she said, “My Peirce College experience was phenomenal. I love learning and being challenged and I got all that and more from Peirce. I made so many friends who have now become family. Also, I was able to do so much even as an adult learner. There were workshops, events, trips, etc. for me to take part in as a student, which made my experience that much better. Peirce just offers so much, which made me want to stay as long as possible.”

Tamara is the proud mother of two and grandmother of three. She said, “School can be overwhelming at times as a parent, grandparent, employee, churchgoer, and student. My advice is to try and find balance, which includes time for yourself. I found time for schoolwork, my family, my church, while also scheduling a little downtime here and there to give myself a break. If you stay organized, you’ll be able to achieve this balance and accomplish your goals.”

In addition to all that Tamara has already accomplished, she has also written and self-published two books, within the past year, with a third one coming out soon for children. She said, “Peirce College and all my professors have given me the motivation to believe I can do whatever I put my mind to do, and then go do it successfully!”

Congratulations to Tamara on all her successes! We look forward to applauding her at Peirce’s Virtual Commencement Ceremony on June 23rd.