Friday, July 31, 2020

Sisters by Blood, Graduates by Determination – Meet Jenna and Denise Edeline

This story was originally published on our website found here.

Going back to college as a working adult can seem like a daunting task. One piece of advice given to new students is to find a support system whether it be a spouse, parent, cousin, friend, or sibling.
For Jenna and Denise Edeline, they found support and encouragement as sisters both chasing their educational goals at Peirce College together.

Jenna Edeline (left) and Denise Edeline (right)
Both Jenna and Denise didn’t originally start their degree journeys at Peirce College, though. They each started at different universities seeking different career paths. For Jenna, she originally went into a nursing program, but after her interests changed and she ran into some physical and mental health issues, she decided to take a step back from college. Denise, who began at a different school not long after Jenna, said after starting classes, she didn’t think she was made for college and decided to come back to Philly to enter the workforce.

It wasn’t long, though, before Jenna had a realization about her desire to finish her degree. “A little over a year after stopping college, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. Looking at him made me want to give him so much more than I could currently offer. After a few months, I started looking into where to finish my degree.”

Luckily, Jenna and Denise’s aunt knew someone who went to Peirce and got a tuition discount as a City of Philadelphia employee. This immediately sparked Jenna’s interest, especially since she is a City of Philadelphia employee. “One of my biggest fears about going back to school was not being able to afford it, but as a City employee, there was hope I could do it with the discount and support,” explained Jenna.

Jenna contacted Peirce in the Fall of 2016 and started classes in the Spring of 2017 enrolling in Peirce’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program.

Denise, on the other hand, had a different journey back to college. After initially feeling as though she couldn’t complete school, she put her energy into the workforce and found herself moving from the food industry into a law firm where her interest for education began to grow again. “I started to really like what I was doing at my new job and my interest in furthering my education began to grow,” said Denise. “Jenna told me about Peirce and how I could take just a class or two a session and I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. I was terrified at first, but Jenna convinced me I could do it.”

So, in the Fall of 2018, Denise was officially enrolled in Peirce’s Associate in Science in General Studies program eager to achieve this goal.

Luckily, both Jenna and Denise were able to transfer in credits from their previous college experience helping to save them both time and money pushing them further along to get to their end goal even sooner. And before they knew it, they were at their finish line, officially earning their degrees in the 2019-2020 academic year as proud members of the Class of 2020.

Jenna said, “While at Peirce College, in the Business Administration program, I gained a sense of self-worth. Knowing I could earn my bachelor’s degree as a full-time employee while also being a mom makes me wonder what else I can do. It gave me the confidence to know I am strong enough and can succeed no matter what hand I am served in life. After receiving my degree, I was offered to take on more responsibilities in my department for the City of Philadelphia. I am currently a Service Representative, but am incorporating Safety Officer duties now thanks to earning my degree.”

Denise said, “From the General Studies program, I gained higher self-esteem and more confidence. I was told I would never get this far and I did it! I finally succeeded in life and have something to show for it. I chose this program because I knew it would introduce me to more interests and what I could strive to achieve with a bachelor’s degree.”

As they reflect back on their time at Peirce, they both explain their most valued points and memories in different ways.

Jenna said, “The aspect of my Peirce education I value the most is the faculty. I had such a smooth transition coming into a new school, and that is typically not easy for me. I always felt comfortable asking questions and the professors always boosted my confidence. Dr. Charlene Glenn, in particular, always pushed me to do better and each time I had her I wanted to prove to her I could do even better than the last time I had her. She encouraged me to continue my education and look into a master’s degree!”

Denise said, “I loved the professors, the flexible scheduling, and the self-confidence the College gave me. The flexible scheduling allowed me to complete work when I was able and allowed me to take classes at my pace. The confidence I gained proved to me I can do anything I put my mind to, even if others say differently.”

Although Jenna and Denise found the support they needed at Peirce, they also explained it wouldn’t have been possible without each other. They were born less than a year apart, so growing up, they have always gone to school together. Going to Peirce together just felt right.

“Before Denise started at Peirce, she would help me study and help edit my papers. Then, when Denise started, I did the same for her,” explained Jenna. “There were a few times when Denise wanted to give up, but I told her I wasn’t going to graduate without her. Sometimes I was beyond exhausted after being up all night with a toddler, and Denise would motivate me to keep going. I think we are lucky to have each other.”

Now, as Class of 2020 graduates, both Jenna and Denise are considering their next degrees looking into Peirce’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management and the Bachelor of Science in Human Services Leadership, respectively.

As the sisters celebrate their recent accomplishments while preparing for what’s ahead, they both wanted to give a big thank you to their family for always being there and never giving up on them. They said, “A special thanks to our mom for always being our rock and for telling us if you have a dream or goal, never give up on it no matter how long it takes to get there.”

Congratulations to both Jenna and Denise! Peirce College hopes to see you both back soon.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Meet Robin Neary – the Class of 2020 Student Commencement Speaker

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

Robin Neary was able to work her way up the ladder in retail progressing from a sales person in the stores to an executive in corporate.

One day, she was having a conversation with a former boss, and that conversation ignited a whole new mindset.

“During one of my jobs, I was talking to my boss at the time and she told me how an applicant for a role wasn’t eligible for a promotion because they didn’t have their bachelor’s degree. My response was, ‘well I don’t have mine’ and my boss told me to keep that quiet and never tell anyone that. That felt like such a blow and made me really think about a lot of things in my life.”

A few years passed after this conversation, but Robin never forgot how it made her feel. When she was ready to transition out of retail into a new career, Robin realized that conversation had more truth to it than she could have ever imagined.

She said, “When I was attempting to move out of retail, it became obvious no one was looking at my resume. It wasn’t even making it through the algorithm into the first step because I didn’t have a bachelor’s degree.”

That is when Robin decided she was ready to enroll and change her future.

Robin partnered with Graduate! Philadelphia to find out more about adult education in the Philadelphia area. She met with Blake Scull, one of Peirce’s Enrollment Specialists, at a Graduate! Philadelphia event and the rest was history.

“I knew at the event, everyone was going to try and sell me their school, but I have been in sales a long time, so I knew what was authentic and what wasn’t. Blake was truly authentic and spoke to me like a person, listening to my story, providing his personal experience, and making me feel ready to tackle school,” explained Robin. “I had felt so competent in my career for so long, so to think of having to go back to school in my 40s felt crazy. Blake had all the right things to say, though, and the way he described Peirce made me feel like that was where I belonged.”

When it came time for Robin to select a program at Peirce, she was set on finding the one that would get her the degree as quickly as possible in the most affordable way. Luckily, Robin had earned a lot of college credits back in the 90s and was able to transfer those in to expedite her process.

Robin said, “When I first tried out college, I was an English Literature major, so I had tons of humanities credits. I knew I wanted to finish my degree as soon as possible, so Peirce worked with me to find the best path. I was able to transfer in over 60 credits and through the Organizational Leadership program, could finish in no time.”

Robin enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership program in the Fall of 2018 eager to tackle this goal. Her only hesitation was having to take a math class. She had a math phobia and feared it would, once again, hold her back from completing her degree. Fortunately, Robin discovered Peirce’s Walker Center for Academic Excellence and tackled this fear with confidence and ease.

“I no longer have a math phobia thanks to my professors and the Walker Center for Academic Excellence!” exclaimed Robin. “I spent my first year working with tutors in the Walker Center and my professors helped me every step of the way. I felt prepared and cared for the entire time. One professor in particular, Dr. Charlene Glenn, who taught at least five of my courses, was especially supportive and amazing throughout my journey. She helped me through a lot and even wrote me a scholarship recommendation letter.”

Robin added, “There is no one at Peirce College who feels as though they are above you. Everyone you meet is willing to help you succeed.”

After conquering math phobia, that wasn’t the only bump Robin ran into. During three of Robin’s sessions at Peirce, she got very sick, which caused her to run into some delays with her schoolwork. She said, “Every professor was always so accommodating and understanding at Peirce. If I needed an extension, extra help, or just some advice, they were always willing to do what they could to see me succeed. Even in my final session, when I was taking the last classes I needed to graduate, I had pneumonia and all my professors made sure I finished so I could graduate and accomplish my goal.”

And Robin did just that. She completed her bachelor’s degree in May 2020 and was eager to officially celebrate her graduation on June 23rd. Before she got to that celebration, though, she found out even more exciting news.

“I was encouraged to apply to be the Class of 2020 Student Commencement Speaker by Dr. Charlene Glenn. In previous jobs, I had to do a lot of public speaking, so I thought it would be a wonderful experience to represent my class and the school, so I applied. I knew how talented all of my classmates were, though, so I didn’t anticipate getting it. To my surprise, though, I was awarded this honor and was thrilled to speak on behalf of the Class of 2020. This honor was so impactful and meaningful for me. It made my whole journey come full circle.”

Now, as recent graduate, Robin is eager to take her accomplishments into the workplace and go into some sort of training and development role where she can combine her work experience with her new degree.

Congratulations to Robin on all of her accomplishments!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

From Hospitality to IT – Meet Jad Driggers

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

When Jad Driggers reached his late 30s, he came to the realization that many come to at some point in their career – he didn’t want to be in his industry anymore. With a background in culinary, restaurant and hospitality, Jad was ready to transition to a new career path that didn’t have quite the demanding schedule and hours.

Jad decided he would go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in an industry that would take him to the career path he always wanted.

As a father and husband, Jad knew he couldn’t just do the traditional educational route. He needed to find a program that fit his needs. After doing some research on schools who focus on non-traditional learners and working with his employer on their partner schools, Jad began his journey with Peirce College.

“I work for Select Health, a subsidiary of AmeriHealth Caritas and they originally encouraged me to look into non-traditional options. Peirce College was one of those options. I saw Peirce College had an Information Technology program and I could earn my degree through a competency-based format. After discovering Peirce College had a strong history in education and had the competency-based program established for a few years, I decided on Peirce.”

Jad enrolled at Peirce College in the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program in the Fall of 2017. Thanks to his unique career and educational history, Jad was able to transfer in some general studies courses and dive into the Competency-Based Education (CBE) program with credits completed and goals in mind.

During the program, Jad said he gained, “a deeper understanding of the IT industry. I learned a lot about information security and I was able to earn three different IT certifications while in the program.” Jad said this new degree and the certifications were sure to help him secure jobs in the future.

Jad wasn’t wrong. Originally working in the call center for Select Health, Jad recently was promoted to the position of Data Analyst thanks to his new education and experience. “I interviewed for a job in February and when I told them I was finishing up my degree, I got the promotion,” exclaimed Jad.

Originally, Jad was on track to finish his degree in December 2020, but thanks to the flexibility of the CBE program, Jad could earn as many credits as he wanted each term and that is exactly what he did. “In January, I looked at my schedule and saw it was mapped out until December. I decided I really wanted to get this done. So, I worked with my advisor, Christa Donato, who helped me revamp my schedule to get all my classes and credits done by March.”

In the remaking of his schedule, Christa directed Jad to Peirce’s partnership with where he was able to take three courses outside of his CBE program and transfer in the credits necessary to graduate. Jad said, “My experience with and Peirce College was great and extremely smooth. Thanks to my motivation, I was able to complete three courses. All I had to do once I was done was let Christa know and she worked on the backend to get my credits in no problem.”

Thanks to the flexible opportunities and the ability to earn credits through Peirce College’s alternative credit providers, Jad was able to complete twelve months’ worth of credits in three months saving him significant time and money.

As Jad reflects back on his time at Peirce, he said, “I wish I would have found this sooner. It was everything I was looking for and more. Also, Christa Donato was paramount in getting me to the finish line. She helped keep me on track, answered all my questions, understood when I needed a slower semester, and was supportive when I wanted to load up on classes. Christa helped me get here.”

Now, as a Class of 2020 graduate, Jad offers advice for all those other working adults who may be seeking a new career path, but are unsure where to start. He said, “It might seem like a lot to take on as an employee, parent, spouse, etc., but it can be done. You will be paired with a mentor and advisor who will work with you to come up with a schedule and plan that fits your life, but gets you to your end goal.”

Congratulations to Jad on all of his accomplishments!