When Berenis Revelo started her higher education journey as a dual enrollment student in high school, she didn’t know just how far it would take her. As the first generation in her family to attend college, Revelo navigated the unfamiliar landscape of higher education and found support at Polk State College to build her skills and confidence.
After receiving her Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management at Polk State, Revelo enrolled in the Master’s in International Business Management Program at Lynn University.
“Polk State gave me the confidence to go and pursue my master’s degree,” she said. “It also helped me decide what I wanted to do in my career.”
As a student at Lake Wales High School, Revelo was introduced to the opportunity of dual enrollment, which she took advantage of to acclimate herself to college.
“I chose dual enrollment initially because I didn’t know how I would feel transitioning from high school to college, so I wanted to gain that experience while I was in high school,” Revelo said. “After I graduated from high school, I continued here at Polk State. I chose Polk State because it was affordable for me and close to home.”
“At first, I was kind of nervous,” she admitted. “I didn’t know where to go or how to go about registering for my classes.”
But she quickly connected with her advisor and professors. Revelo first wanted to go into forensics, but then took accounting as an elective. She fell in love with the field through both her knack for mathematics as well as the way her professor taught the course, she said.
“Polk State gave me the confidence to go and pursue my master’s degree. It also helped me decide what I wanted to do in my career.”
“I started branching out and speaking to others and they would give me advice on what classes to take to pursue what I wanted to do with my career,” she said. “That’s when I realized I wanted to pursue a higher education.”
Revelo became involved in student life including the Únete Club, which she served as Vice President and traveled with to the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU) Conference. Through this opportunity, Revelo was connected to a finance management internship with a pharmaceutical company.
Following her graduation from Polk State, she enrolled at Lynn University and soon found out that she was pregnant.
“I was able to manage working, taking care of my son, and going to school,” she said. “All of the events and people I was able to talk to here [at Polk State] gave me the confidence to go and pursue my master’s degree.”
Revelo recently graduated from Lynn University. She explained that the pride her parents exhibited for her accomplishment reaffirmed the value of her higher education.
Diagnosed with a rare disease, Revelo’s father had been unable to walk. It was at his daughter’s graduation that he took his very first steps since his diagnosis.
“Seeing them come to my graduation, it felt amazing because I was able to see my dad walk and he saw me walk across the stage,” she reflected.
Revelo now serves as a staff accountant for Currency Exchange International in Orlando. She aspires to one day own her own accounting firm.
“All of the events and people I was able to talk to here [at Polk State] gave me the confidence to go and pursue my master’s degree.”
She recommends Polk State to others, including those who aspire to earn degrees beyond those offered at the College. Revelo explained that Polk State provides an affordable, local option for higher education and workforce training that does not sacrifice quality.
Through small class sizes, flexible course offerings, and tuition that is one-third the cost of universities, Polk State is a viable option for students as they pursue their general education coursework as well as baccalaureate degrees in Supervision and Management, Aerospace Sciences, Criminal Justice, Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, or Nursing.
Graduates go on to successful careers as well as master’s and doctoral programs that position them for upward mobility in their organizations.
“Being at a university can be overwhelming, especially with big classrooms and big campuses,” Revelo said. “Getting the feeling here at Polk State made me feel comfortable and it built up my confidence.”
“It doesn’t matter whether you have hardships — that didn’t stop me,” she shared as inspiration to students. “You can do it. It’s worth it.”