Rebecca Desir’s Stempel Success Story


Less then three months after her graduation from the FlU Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, Rebecca Desir is starting her dream job with the American Lung Association. According to the Ft. Lauderdale native, “My professors at Stempel provided the support I needed in order to succeed.”

Her parents, Haitian immigrants Estangel and Manita Desir, recognized the value of higher education and strongly encouraged their daughter to go to university. But as a first-generation college student, Desir faced some stumbling blocks in the beginning—from understanding the college application process to navigating the educational journey to identifying valuable experience opportunities.

Fortunately, Desir says that Stempel faculty was there to help. “Faculty members were able to guide me in a way that my parents just couldn’t. Professors Rashida Biggs and Melissa Howard were there to answer my questions, whether they were educational, professional or personal.” She adds, “They really went above and beyond to help me stay on track. That set my parents’ minds at ease, knowing that I had professors that I could look to for advice.”

For others considering Stempel for their degree, Desir says, “Go for it! Stempel is a great place to learn from professionals with practical experience in the field. Plus, it’s a great place to network.”

After internships at the Behavioral Science Research Institute and the Alliance for Aging Research, this 2015 graduate is ready to start helping others in her new job as health promotions manager with the American Lung Association in Orlando.

“I couldn’t have been prepared for this opportunity without the skills and education I’ve acquired at Stempel,” adding, “I’m excited to begin my career as a public health professional!”

Author: William-Jose Velez

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