“At PCCC, the respect and dedication exhibited by the professors make a significant difference in one's educational journey."
May 13, 2024

She Refused to Let Go of Her College Dream

Stephlyn Buchanan, an adult student, will receive her degree in PCCC’s 51st Commencement, just two days after her younger daughter graduates from William Paterson University. “I made a promise to myself and to my youngest daughter that our paths to education would intertwine,” said Stephlyn.  “She believed in me when I needed it most; that fueled my determination to pursue my own college education as an adult.”

Attending college was a lifelong aspiration for Stephlyn. “While I did not have the opportunity to pursue higher education in my youth, I refused to let go of my dreams,” she said. Always interested in healthcare, Stephlyn attended a training school years ago to become a medical assistant and worked in that capacity for 13 years, eventually leaving the workforce to raise her family of two daughters and a son. Stephlyn decided that once her younger daughter was ready to enter college, that would also be her time to pursue her educational dream.

She enrolled at PCCC in Fall 2019 and, unlike most adult students, immersed herself in a full college experience, becoming involved in clubs and other extracurricular activities while also working hard on her academics and holding down part-time jobs on campus. “Managing college and family life has been a balancing act, but with my children now grown, my focus has shifted primarily to my education.”

A familiar and popular presence on campus, Stephlyn participates in the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program and the Student Support Services (SSS) TRiO  and SSS-STEM programs. She also served as Speaker of the Student Government Association (SGA). “Engaging in clubs and extracurricular activities not only enriches my college experience, but also allows me to grow personally and contribute more effectively to society,”

Stephlyn with other members of the Student Government Association (SGA).

When she received two PCCC scholarships, Stephlyn called it a “pivotal moment,” that beyond the financial assistance they provided, “symbolized recognition of my hard work and dedication.”

She thrived in the public speaking course of Professor Caffie Risher and the biology class of Dr. Irene Matjeko. “Not only does Professor Risher tell you how to be a great motivational speaker, she also encourages you to follow your dreams and to be the best you can be. Dr. Matjeko will go out of her way to make sure that her students gain a wealth of knowledge while in her class.”

On graduation day, Stephlyn will receive her Associate in Science Degree in Public Health a major she chose “because of my passion for the medical field and helping people, fostered through my experience as a medical assistant,” She will continue her education towards a bachelor’s degree at Montclair State University in order to prepare for her lofty career goal: “I want to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I can contribute to promoting health and preventing disease on a larger scale.”

To anyone, especially other adults, who may feel their desire to attend college is an impossible dream, Stephyn offers these words of encouragement:

“At PCCC, the respect and dedication exhibited by all professors make a significant difference in one’s educational journey. So, to anyone contemplating furthering their education, I encourage them not to hesitate in choosing PCCC as their pathway to personal and academic growth.”