Student Spotlight: The Gift of Education

Gift of Education

Education can be a gift to people and communities by opening doors of opportunity to one’s own life or to help someone else.  Around the world, an education can benefit economies and communities by helping bring about new ideas, needed skills, or innovation.  As 2013 comes to a close and we encounter the season of giving, the Center for Public Service is focusing around giving through education. 

In December we are highlighting some of our Kaplan University graduates and students who gave themselves the gift of education and, thanks to their education, are giving something back to themselves, communities, or families. 

The list below is in no particular order and represents some of our College of Public Service graduates and students who are making a difference in their public service careers. Read through selected quotes to learn about the “gifts” these graduates and students gave to themselves or others, and how they are giving back to their communities.

Catie Behling

Kaplan University College of Public Service Graduate Catie Behling Knows Firsthand How Her Actions Make a Difference

As a behavior analyst, Catie works with families and children, helping them meet their needs and bringing a voice to children unable to speak or communicate. Read More

Phillip Collazo

School of Education Graduate, Phillip Collazo: Reducing the Barriers People With Disabilities Face Through Education

Master of Science in Higher Education graduate is a passionate advocate for helping children with disabilities, and has dedicated his life to creating a better world for them. Learn more about Phillip and his goal to teach teachers how to better serve their special needs students. Read More

CPS - Points of Light

Higher Education Student Goes the Extra Mile to Inspire Others to Reach for the Sky

According to Ron C. Thornton, his degree and pursuit of education helps him “inspire [his] students to reach for the sky. It represents what hard work can do for you.” He says, “this is what I need to do in life . . . You get to give back and help someone else succeed in life. Read More

CPS - Anetra McClain

Anetra McClain, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Child Development Graduate; Master of Science in Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis Student

“I am so happy to be in the field I love…I feel like I’m really making a difference in children’s lives!” Read More


Sedric Clark

Sedric Clark, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice Graduate

"Not only did I get my degree, but my daughter has really seen the example that I've set and it’s made a difference. And she knows that it takes hard work, but it's worth it and I'll feel good as a parent knowing that I did my best to set a good example for my child." To learn more about Sedric,click here.

CPS - Ocampo

Student Spotlight: Cheryl Ocampo

MS in Psychology student Cheryl Ocampo changed her career path so she could help children with behavioral disabilities. She also has a child with autism which led her to create a nonprofit focused on helping families become the best advocates they can be for their children. Read More

CPS - Whitini

Whitni Hodge, Master of Science in Psychology, Addictions Graduate

“I still pinch myself that I had the nerve to pick myself up and go back to school to develop a great career and be a great example to my sons. I tell anyone who listens that if I can do it they can too!” Read More


Nicholas Gulliver

Nicholas Gulliver, Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Graduate

“I have a degree now. I have a full-time job. I just bought a house. Kaplan [University] was a stepping stone to something bigger.”To learn more about Nicholas, click here.



Child Behavioral Therapist by Day, Marine Corps Servicewoman on Weekends

"The children I work with are so special. It is wonderful to see them grow and evolve under my care. Even the simplest tasks can seem so daunting to some of these kids. When they accomplish something, even just tying their shoes, their confidence soars and they can take on new tasks. It is very fulfilling and rewarding." Read More

LaToya Brownfield

LaToya Brownfield, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Corrections

“I enjoy assisting my offenders [to] live a crime-free life. Being able to help one person redirect their criminal thinking and become a law abiding citizen makes me know my job is worth keeping.” Read Day 27 of “30 Days of Inspiration”


Angela Cox

Angela Cox, Master of Science in Education, Teaching With Technology

"With all of the different knowledge and skills I earned at Kaplan [University] I was able to take all those ideas and apply them to my classroom . . . My students' performance in the classroom went way up." Click here to learn more about Angela.


CPS - Arnez

Student Spotlight: Arnez Cooper

Educating kids and empowering others to improve their lives, especially for the sake of their families, has always been a passion for human services graduate Arnez Cooper. She is responsible for the case management of 36 families through site visits, developing and overseeing parenting groups, providing ongoing support planning, and helping with everyday needs such as housing and food. Read More


Alissa Lee, Bachelor of Science in Human Services-Child and Family Welfare Graduate

In 2011, Alissa Lee was inspired to start a charity, Sweet Miracles 4 Kids (, which sells chocolates and candies. In 2011 alone, Alissa’s charity raised $8,000 to fund two mission trips to orphanages in the Philippines, bringing these orphanages much-needed supplies and joy to the children. Read Day 3 of “30 Days of Inspiration”

Maria Borges

Maria Borges, Bachelor of Science in Human Services- Child and Family Welfare Graduate

For those who may be hesitant about continuing their education, Maria Borges advises that “it’s never too late to get certified in the area you love.” Taking her own advice, Borges is able to use what she’s learned as a student at Kaplan University to her benefit when working with families every day. Read Day 24 of “30 Days of Inspiration”

CPS - Fielder

Alumni Answers Her Calling to Help At-risk Youth

“My experience at Kaplan University gave me a new confidence that I didn't have before. The portfolio classes made me realize that I really do have the credentials to be a human service professional,” she said. “I don't think I realized how much work experience I had gained. By analyzing this part of my career, I gained more self-esteem and confidence!” Read More

Melissa Harner

Melissa Harner, Master of Public Administration Graduate

Melissa Harner’s education not only “opened more doors of opportunity” but also “gave [her] an edge in my career with everyday tasks [at work].” Her position allows her to directly aid veterans who are seeking to claim benefits. Read Day 6 of “30 Days of Inspiration”

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