Today, we’re celebrating our Charlotte Award Winners. These three individuals believed they could make more possible in their professional lives, but their paths were being blocked by various circumstances. According to them, the key to their success was utilizing their Strayer education as a tool to allow them to clear their hurdles and move on to brighter and better careers.
MELVIN K. BURNS MASTER OF EDUCATION, CLASS OF 2014
As a veteran of the United States Marines Corps with more than 25 years of security and law enforcement experience, Melvin was more than qualified to lead in his field. However, there was a moment when he realized that despite years of experience, he could only progress so far without a college degree. “I had applied multiple times for advancement, but was not selected,” he says. “But since earning my undergraduate degree in criminal justice and then my master’s degree, I have been promoted three times.” Today, Melvin is director of corporate security for Carolinas Healthcare System, providing enterprise-¬wide security operations at the Level I Hospital Trauma Center, overseeing multiple facility operations with a combined budget of 5.5 million, and managing a staff of more than 100 security officers.
CATHERINE BENCHEIKH MASTER OF BUSINESS, ADMINISTRATION CANDIDATE
Working alongside highly-educated colleagues inspired Catherine to supplement her work experience and become more competitive in the job market with an undergraduate and graduate degree from Strayer University. “I have been very technical in my career and wanted to learn more about the business side,” she says. “I now feel that I have more to offer my employer,” she says. “I am now more aware of the business implications that influence technological decisions.” Today, Mrs. Bencheikh will receive her Master of Business Administration degree, which she says will complement her Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. As a lead business analyst for Seibels Insurance Technology & Services, Mrs. Bencheikh is already seeing the benefits of her education.
TAMARA HELENA RODNEY BACHELOR OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION CANDIDATE
The road to higher education was not an easy one for Tamara Rodney. After starting her academic journey more than 10 years ago, she encountered several challenges, including returning to her home country, Dominica, to help with family circumstances, and battling personal illness, while working full time and volunteering in her community. “Through all of my challenges, I remained focused and never lost sight of my goal,” says Miss Rodney. “I am convinced of the importance of academic qualifications and that it is a goal worth fighting for.” Tamara graduated valedictorian from Strayer University with a 4.0 GPA and the honor of being the first in her family to obtain a college degree.