Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

COLLEGE SPOTLIGHT: PDCCC graduate wants to inspire others to make a difference

Submitted by Wendy Harrison, Paul D. Camp Community College

Astronomer Carl Sagan once noted, “We’re made of star stuff…We long to return,” And while realizing our aspirations can be much like reaching for the stars, 2014 PDCCC graduate Kenya Smith advises, “Do not give up on your dreams. Have faith and stay focused on what you need to do.”  

Smith came to PDCCC after graduating with honors from Lakeland High School in 2012. After discovering that community college was a more affordable way to continue her education, she enrolled. 

“I heard that PDCCC had transfer programs and it would be cheaper for me to attend PDCCC first and then go to Regent University as a junior,” she said.  

While at PDCCC, she served as a work-study student in the library and the Career Development Center. After leaving PDCCC as a Phi Theta Kappa honor student with an associate degree in general studies and a certificate in general education in 2014, nearly all of her credits transferred to the four-year university.  

Dr. Hyler Scott, PDCCC counselor with Student Support Services (SSS) on the Hobbs Suffolk Campus, introduced Smith to other four-year colleges during her time at PDCCC and helped with her transfer to Regent.  

“My advisor said I could have finished in winter 2015 if I wanted, but I loved Regent so much that I decided to finish later in May 2016,” she said. Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications with a minor in history.  

“Kenya was able to graduate on time with her other high-school classmates who went directly from high school to a senior university,” said Scott. “The great thing is that she did not have any loan debt while at PDCCC.”  

Smith attributes much of her success to the influence of her mother, who also graduated from PDCCC in 2002.   “She has been the biggest supporter of me completing school,” Smith said. “She wanted me to have a better life for myself and if it wasn’t for her, I don’t know where I would be now.”

Smith’s short-term goal is to work for a while, saving money in order to return to Regent to complete a master’s degree in screenwriting.  

“The ultimate career I want is in screenwriting and anything else that may be related to media, film and television,” she said.  

She completed an internship with the City of Suffolk’s media and community relations department at the end of last September, where she learned to edit videos, take pictures, operate video cameras and write voiceovers for PSAs, she said. In addition she has been writing columns and articles for Suffolk News-Herald and has had 14 published so far.  

“I want my career to bring awareness to what’s happening in the world, and to encourage people to step up and take action,” she said.'

Laura Osberger

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