Thursday, April 21, 2011

Record number of students slated to graduate

The Class of 2011 already is making its legacy known at Daytona State.
College officials anticipate this year’s graduating class to be the largest in the institution’s history, outpacing last year’s May graduating class of 1,618 by 15 to 20 percent, according to Dr. Richard Pastor, associate vice president of enrollment and student development.
In order to better accommodate graduates and their guests, the college will have three commencement ceremonies this year – two for college credit programs and one for adult education.
 “In recent years, we’ve focused on making college more accessible to our students through accelerated seven-week semesters, more nighttime and weekend courses, and an increasing number of online and hybrid courses,” said Interim President Frank Lombardo, who also noted that college enrollments nationally tend to increase during hard economic times. He also pointed to other efforts Daytona State as implemented in recent years to attract and retain students – keeping tuition costs as low as possible, providing more student support services and streamlining the enrollment process. “There are many factors that have influenced our growth, resulting in increased numbers of graduates,” he said. “Our students have made commitments to seek better lives through education. They have prepared, and now they are progressing. We couldn’t be more proud of them, and we want to honor their commencement in a manner that shows the most consideration for them and their families.”
Dates, times and locations of each ceremony are:
Associate of Arts/University Transfer degree graduates – Monday, May 16, at 2 p.m. in the Daytona Beach Ocean Center.
Baccalaureate, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science and Certificate graduates – Monday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the Daytona Beach Ocean Center.
Adult High School and GED graduates – Tuesday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the L. Gale Lemerand Center on the college’s Daytona Beach Campus, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd.
Preparing and progressing: Notes from our students and graduates

Tinsley Nweze
Tinsley Nweze - A Network Services Technology major enrolled at Daytona State’s Advanced Technology College, Mr. Nweze has landed a city of Daytona Beach internship with the help of the college’s Office of Cooperative Education. He said that prior to attending Daytona State, he struggled with his academics because previous schools focused mainly on lectures and tests to deliver and measure student learning. After transferring to Daytona State and participating in the internship program, he has learned on the job from skilled and experienced network engineers, analysts and technicians. “I get first-hand experience on issues critical to Information Technology, such as trouble-shooting, network management and installation,” he said. “I now have more work experience than I could have ever imagined, from configuring Windows Server 2008 for departments at City Hall to installing surveillance cameras on the city's Boardwalk.”  Mr. Nweze will graduate during Summer 2011.

Glen Huckins
Glen Huckins - A Robotics and Simulation Technology major, Mr. Huckins was able to attend Daytona State through the National Science Foundation’s S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program. During his studies, he also did an internship with the city of Daytona Beach, which was followed by temporary employment at Halifax Medical Center.   He will graduate next month with his associate of science and associate of arts degree (high honors) and has secured his first permanent position as a military simulator support technician with Raydon Corp.   “This is a job that I never thought possible,” he said.  “It all has come to fruition with the assistance and backing of the Daytona State College Computer Science Department and their great staff.”
Jonathan Eric Braswell
Jonathan Eric Braswell - This father of three teenage daughters, whose wife is disabled, worked full-time at Fabco Metal Products while studying Architectural and Building Technology at Daytona State’s Advanced Technology College. In addition to working his regular job duties at Fabco, he also completed an internship with the company in a different department as part of his cooperative education work experience requirement. Mr. Braswell maintained a 3.87 GPA and graduates in May with high honors.
Elizabeth Odom  – Beth, as she likes to be called, is an Early College student at our DeLand Campus. This young lady is not only talented, but an exemplary student as well, and was recognized last month with an Outstanding Student Award.  In fact, one of her professors, Paulette “P.J.” Marek, suggested that Beth is, “Quite possibly the best student I’ve ever taught.”
Beth was a member of the English Club and participated in the college’s Shakespeare Festival last year. Throughout her Daytona State College experience, she has been an inspiration to all who know her. While she has severe health issues, she does not allow her life-threatening condition to interfere with her enthusiasm or her determination to be successful.
In May, she will earn her associate of arts degree, with a perfect 4.0 GPA, and plans to transfer to a university to earn a bachelor’s degree in English Studies.
Noemi Vazquez– Mrs. Vasquez is a 52-year-old Cuban-born immigrant who lives in Deltona .
Even as a teenager struggling to assimilate into American society, she always dreamed of getting an education; however, first came marriage, then three children and all the responsibilities that go along with raising them.  To make matters more difficult, her husband became disabled and she found herself in another role as family breadwinner, working full-time as a bookkeeper for a local company.
Once the children were grown, though, she decided it was her turn to go to school.  She began taking classes in Accounting Technology part-time while continuing to work full-time, that is, until she was laid off.  Undeterred, she decided to pursue her degree as a full-time student and received assistance with tuition and textbook costs through the Women’s Center New Directions program, as well as the TRIO Student Support Services program.
She has excelled in her accounting program and graduates next month with a 3.87 GPA.  But she’s not done yet. Mrs. Vasquez has been accepted into the BAS in Supervision and Management program, and will start during fall semester. She is a shining example of the “can do” attitude that many of our more mature, non-traditional students share.

Donald Grantonic

Donald Grantonic -  Mr. Grantonic began working as a draftsman in 1987, and for more than two years did manual board drafting before transitioning to computer-aided drafting and design. But he could not break the barriers that kept him from moving beyond entry level jobs because he did not have a degree. So, he started a lawn care business, but had to give it up for health reasons.  In spring 2008, he decided to resume his drafting career and enrolled in Daytona State’s associate of applied science degree in Drafting and Design Technology program.  Mr. Grantonic will graduate next month with a 3.94 GPA and has landed a full-time drafting job with Hawaiian Tropic.
Hoyt and Brandon Feister – The Feisters are a father and son duo who will graduate together next month. Hoyt came to Daytona State after losing his job as a truck driver. Now, he’s graduating with an associate of science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. He currently is seeking employment and plans to enroll in Daytona State’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology program this fall semester. Brandon has earned his associate of arts/university transfer degree and is now pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice as a junior at the University of Central Florida.
Quick facts from the schools of Computer Science and Work Force Careers
·        A total of 150 students have participated in an internship/coop within the College of  Engineering Technology and Occupational programs from summer 2010 to spring 2011.
·         90 employer placement sites since summer 2010
·         49 employer placement sites this spring
·         89 student interns in the School of Computer Science
·         61 student interns in the School of Work Force Careers
·         Placement sites include:
-          Flagler County Clerk of the Courts
-          Volusia Council of Governments
-          Florida Department of Transportation
-          International Speedway Corp.
-          Center for Business Excellence
-          Florida Hospital Flagler 
-          Florida Hospital Ormond
-          Halifax Medical Center
-          Southeast Volusia Chamber
-          City of New Smyrna Beach
-          Orthopedic Clinic of Daytona Beach
-          City of Daytona
-          Palm Coast Data
-          KVAR Energy Savings
-          Daytona Toyota
-          Hudson Technologies
-          Flo Met