Alumni Spotlight- January 2017
School of Education and Workforce Development
ECC on behalf of The School of Education and Workforce Development is pleased to feature Ms Nakieta Roberts-Wilkins as our alumnus for January 2017.
1) In what year did you begin the Associate Degree in Social Work programme at Excelsior Community College?
I began the Associate Degree in Social Work programme in September 2014
2) Why did you choose Excelsior Community College as the institution for this study?
I chose Excelsior Community College because I heard the advertisements of the programmes frequently. Additionally, I depend on the Lord Jesus Christ solely for direction throughout my life and He directed me to Excelsior Community College for this life changing experience.
3) What challenges did you experience completing this programme?
One major challenge that I experienced while at Excelsior Community College is the ability to pay my tuition fees. The challenge was so severe that I was barred from writing my first semester examinations. I was distraught about the situation but determined not to make these circumstances define me. Consequently, I decided to start asking, a route I thought I would never take because I did not like to hear the word “no”; but the Lord reminded me that I should ask and seek and I will find.
How did you overcome this challenge?
Several strategies were used to overcome this particular challenge. In year one, family members pooled resources and were able to help me with a percentage of the school fee. Next, I got a $15,000 grant from one Member of Parliament and I was awarded a departmental scholarship from Excelsior Community College in my second year.
Additionally, I gained temporary employment in the summer which helped with the paying of my tuition fees. I was also in constant dialogue with the Vice Principal of Students Affairs at ECC about paying the tuition in small portions as the money became available. When the situation got worse I was directed to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security where I was given a grant after I did several months of voluntary service.
4) What is most memorable experience about the Associate Degree in Social Work programme?
The Associate Degree in Social Work programme is a life transforming experience. This programme was a therapy for me and opened my mind to the real world. It made me accept people for who they are and not judge them based on the problematic situations they may face. This programme has allowed me to understand myself and better enabled me to understand the reasons for my actions.
5) What are you currently doing career-wise?
Presently I am a student at the Jamaica Theological Seminary, pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Social Work.
6) How did the Associate Degree in Social Work programme help in advancing your career?
The Associate Degree in Social Work was what first allowed me to matriculate into the Bachelor’s programme. It has also assisted me in better managing the rigours associated with this advanced programme in terms of knowledge base, time management and discipline in completing assignments.
7) In what way, if any, would you like to see the programme change or grow?
I would love to see this programme grow and as such, I think that “Role Play” should be incorporated in the core/specialist courses. Having the knowledge is one thing, but knowing how to apply it is most important.
8) What advice would you give to current students in the Associate Degree in Social Work programme at Excelsior Community College?
My advice to the current students in the Social Work programme is to study hard. Utilize the various strategies for engaging people as well as the pockets of information provided through the lectures; doing so will help them to manage the challenges of the profession.
9) Any final thoughts?
My final words are: Don’t let your current situation define you... push on to fulfil your goal. There were many days at school I did not have anything to eat but I did not let that stop me, with the help of God and against all odds I am victorious today. So no matter what challenging circumstances you might face; with God there is always a way ....just trust in him.