Going Far: Alumna Chelsy Chandler’s journey is all about helping others
Her guiding principle of altruism has led her through an international move, her GED, bachelor’s degree and beyond.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Written by: Kimberly Allen
She’s soft-spoken and may seem a little shy, but Seminole State College of Florida alumna Chelsy Chandler has no problem communicating what she wants. When it comes to college and career, she just wants to help people. It’s that guiding principle that has led her on her academic journey from GED to bachelor’s degree.
Lending a Helping Hand
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Chandler moved with her family to Florida in 2014 before she finished high school. With encouragement from her family, she soon decided to continue her education in Seminole State’s GED® Prep program, earning her diploma in Fall 2016. It was there that she found support in Angela Aiken-McDonald, former professor of Adult Basic Education/GED, who Chandler says guided her to her next steps.
With her GED in hand and Aiken-McDonald’s guidance, Chandler started taking courses for her Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree at Seminole State. For Chandler, choosing Seminole State and staying there for her college courses was a no-brainer.
“When you stop, it’s harder to get back into that same mindset,” she said. “Everything was different compared to what I was used to back home, but everything was more manageable. Plus, I met a friend who was planning to pursue the same path as me, which made my journey easier.”
While Chandler exceled in her classes, frequently earning President’s and Deans’ List honors and being inducted into Seminole State’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, she stayed true to her goal of helping others. She returned to the GED program as a tutor, joined the Academic Advising and Counseling Department as a Work-Study student, and volunteered at schools to complete her observation hours for the A.A. degree pathway in early childhood education.
Changing Her Path to Stay True to Herself
Chandler earned her A.A. degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude in Spring 2019. During her time in Academic Advising and Counseling, she learned about DirectConnect to UCF® and transferred to the University of Central Florida with guaranteed admission through this nationally recognized program. With her A.A. degree focused on early childhood education, Chandler originally planned to become a teacher, but that all changed when she had a realization. “All my interests are about helping people,” Chandler said. “I wanted something different and out of my comfort zone. I want to help people, but I want to do something more.” So, she changed her major at UCF to communication sciences and disorders, earning her bachelor’s degree in Summer 2021.
Chandler’s academic journey isn’t done yet. She is still researching ways to help others and find a career that will allow her to do just that. With help from Seminole State’s Career Development Center, her interests turned to occupational therapy. She’s now enrolled at Keiser University pursuing an associate in science degree to become a certified occupational therapist assistant. “I decided I wanted to work in a clinical setting,” Chandler said. “It will help me make a difference in people’s lives.” And for Chandler, that’s what it’s all about.
Chandler’s Keys to Success
- Always have a support system.
- Take advantage of College resources such as Academic Advising and Counseling and the Career Development Center.
- Don’t give up; keep pushing. Difficult times are great teachers and often come with a silver lining.
Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit seminolestate.edu
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