Monday, May 9, 2011

Daytona State’s BAS program reaches 500 graduates

Students earning Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management (BAS) degrees from Daytona State College will exceed 500 with May’s graduates – a milestone accomplished in five years.

“I am so proud of our graduates.  They are making a big difference in the community,” said Dr. Eileen Hamby, vice president of the College of Business Administration, who developed the program in 2006, starting with 12 students. Today almost 800 students are enrolled in the BAS program, with 90 percent of them working full time.
Many students enter the BAS program as managers looking for future promotions in the public and private sectors. Others see the degree as the springboard to graduate degrees.


For example, E5 Sgt. Stephanie Serrano from Daytona Beach was deployed to Iraq with the Army when she started working on her BAS degree. Two years later, she will receive her bachelor’s along with 258 others who are eligible to walk during commencement on May 16 at the Ocean Center.
“I am using the degree to open doors in the military that otherwise would not be open,” she said. With her 14 years of military service, Serrano hopes to be considered for officers training once she has the degree in hand. She is scheduled to be deployed again shortly after she graduates.
Serrano, 45, decided to stay with Daytona State for her bachelor’s degree, in part, because she was familiar with the college, having received a certificate and associate degree there. The Department of Defense covered the cost of her courses. “I took great advantage of that benefit,” she said.


Also graduating in May are Mark Swanson, 51, and Mark O’Keefe, 48, both captains for EVAC Ambulance. They went through the program together, looking to enhance their careers as supervisors. They needed a program that could accommodate a work schedule that could be 70 hours some weeks. And they wanted to continue to have time with their families.
“What we have learned applies to the job every day,” Swanson said. In some cases they were able to apply what they had learned the next day at work.
Peter Cerullo, 59, had already had a successful business career when he moved to Daytona Beach looking for a new lifestyle as a legally blind person.
“Daytona State College gave me that opportunity,” he said. Today, the Ormond by the Sea resident works as a night supervisor for the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the same center that helped train him to adjust to his blindness. He wants to continue his work as an advocate for the blind. But he also hopes he can serve as an example for new students entering the BAS program faced with extraordinary challenges or burdens.
Rebeca Cuellar, 37, from Palm Coast, was at a crossroads in her retail career in 2008 when the Linens  ’n Things store where she was employed closed. What she discovered was that even though she was a successful, experienced manager, she needed a bachelor’s degree to advance. “I felt like I was always stuck,” Cuellar said. A week after the store closed, she was hired to manage the Homegoods/Marshalls at the Pavilion in Port Orange.
She was looking for a degree program that was flexible enough to handle her new work schedule that at one point required 32 straight days of work.“I needed a program that had the ability to work with the way I work,” Cuellar said. She found that with the BAS program. Cuellar was able to take about 80 percent of the classes online, finishing in December 2010. Her next goal is to earn her Master’s in Business Administration from Florida International University in Miami, FL, and advance to the district manager level.
About 30 percent of the college’s BAS program graduates have gone on to such master’s-level programs at schools such as Stetson University, University of Central Florida and Bethune-Cookman University, to name a few.
Webb Shephard, 36, from DeLand, will graduate in May from Stetson University with a master’s degree in accounting. Taking the BAS courses at an accelerated pace helped prepare him for graduate school, he said.
The BAS degree is designed for students who already have an associate degree. The program is offered year round in six-week, seven-week and eight-week terms, depending on the semester.
Dr. Hamby hopes to see the program continue to grow.  “The Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management program provides opportunities for graduates to advance their careers,” she said.  “Our students learn applied skills that increase their value in the work place.”
The courses are offered 100 percent online or 50/50, meaning students may take on-site classes once a week, usually at night, and perform the rest of the work online. Some courses are also offered on weekends.
For more information, visit, or call 386-506-4227.