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Strong Stories: Dr. Jermaine Whirl

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HometownCharleston, S.C. Degree Class of 2010
M.Ed. in Adult Education/Human Resource Development

Dr. Jermaine Whirl

Dean of the School of Business and the School of Art & Design, Gwinnett Technical College

What did you love most about Armstrong and why? 
Armstrong has a strong sense of community. My program area was like a second family to me. 
At many universities, programs get so large that you become disconnected from your peers and faculty members. Even post graduation, I’ve kept up with the majority of my classmates and all of the faculty members.

How did Armstrong help you succeed in your field? 
Through my education at Armstrong, I was immediately a front runner for the dean of adult education position at Savannah Technical College. This was not only because of the value of the degree itself, butalso the connection the adult education department had with Savannah Technical College. Networking and the quality of the degree accelerated my candidacy for administrative roles in higher education. 
Moreover, having come from a corporate background, the degree in adult education tremendously helped me become a better college professor in terms of facilitating knowledge to adult learners and creating academic assessments to better measure students’ learning.

Who was your favorite professor and why? 
Dr. Kathie Fabrikant. 
I had Dr. ‘Fab’ for several courses, and she was very thorough in her review of my class assignments. Dr. Fab was highly connected in the Savannah community through her relationships with an adult literacy non-profit organization. This not only expanded my knowledge base of the literacy needs of the Savannah region, but it also allowed me to connect with several of the major players who workedin this field. 
She also highly encouraged me to pursue my doctorate degree and wrote recommendation letters on my behalf for doctoral studies.  Throughout the program, she allowed me to polish my writing and research skills within her classes that ultimately carried over and helped me achieve a 4.0 GPA in my doctorate program.

Why did you decide to attend Armstrong? 
Armstrong had the right program for me at the right time in my career. 
The adult education focus was perfect for me, as I recently entered higher education as a business/economics faculty member. 
The concentration in human resource development was also attractive to me, as I knew I wanted to move into an administrative role one day. 
I didn’t want to do an online program, and the commute from Statesboro (where I resided at the time) wasn’t bad. 
The program was small and could be completed within a year. It was an easy choice!

What is your favorite memory of your time at Armstrong? 
Working on a class project at St. Mary’s Community Center. 
Our class developed a health fair for the senior citizens of the area. We had to budget, market and manage operations for the day. 
We had a great turnout with multiple community members involved. Not only did we educate the seniors and provide free health services to them, but I also got to see community leadership in action.

Did you do any extracurricular activities and/or internships that were particularly memorable? 
During my time at Armstrong I gained membership within Kappa Delta Pi (education honor society) and Phi Kappa Phi (honor society for academic excellence). 
I participated in fundraising events sponsored byKappa Delta Pi, but more importantly, I joined the Armstrong Alumni Board a year after graduation and served on the board for three years.

What is your best advice to current Armstrong students? 
Become a lifelong learner and develop your personal brand now. 
Completing a degree is not an end to one’s education. Even if you don’t pursue formal (graduate) education, continue to read and stay abreast of things occurring in our ever changing world. 
An ole’ African proverb states, “Learning should cease to end, only once we’re dead.” 
In terms of personal brand, students should be developing their brand while they’re in school. They should have a Linked-In page and attend business networking events to get their work, portfolios, and resumes in the market place. 
It’s much easier to build it while you’re in school then to wait until after graduation. This way employers will already know who you are and will be waiting for you upon graduation!

Why are you proud to be an Armstrong alum? 
I’ve graduated from five different institutions; all were different in size, scope and mission. 
What makes me most proud of Armstrong is the regional impact the institution has in terms of providing the workforce for healthcare services, K-12 teachers, criminal justice professionals and business menand women who serve the region superbly. 
Uniquely, the institution does this while holding true to its liberal arts core, which makes for a well rounded working professional and, more importantly, a well- rounded global citizen.