Brianna Daniel is the first to point out that she is not a traditional student – she graduated from Whitney Young High School at the age of 16, studied at Alabama A&M on and off for 5 years without completing a degree, and was then away from the classroom for 12 years before she decided it was time to go back home to Chicago and go back to school.

When she decided to go back to school, she had been working in restaurants to support her two kids, aged 8 and 9. “I decided something had to change. I had to show my kids that education is important.”

She chose Kennedy-King College because it was affordable and because it was close to her home, and after a year and a half (thanks to transferring in some credits from Alabama A&M), Brianna received her Associate in Science in Accounting in Fall 2017. Always good with numbers and always organized, Brianna is confident a career in accounting is the right fit for her and will be starting classes at UIC in Fall 2018 to get her bachelor’s.

Brianna was involved on campus as the vice president of the Student Government Association, the coordinator for community service and membership for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and a student liaison for the pre-honors program. She also specifically mentions the invaluable help she received from Kenyon Douglass in the Transfer Center. “I used the Transfer Center faithfully; Ms. Douglass was like a second mom. I was worried I wouldn’t get in to UIC, but she didn’t let me give up.”

Dr. Daniel Davis, her African American Studies professor, was also influential during her time at KKC. “He pushed us to expand our minds and to work as hard as possible to reach whatever goals we set for ourselves. If we were having an issue, we could always sit down and talk to him, and he always gave us the uncut advice we needed to hear as students. He coached us to be an advocate for ourselves at the college and beyond.”

When asked about the advice she would give a student just starting out at CCC, Brianna said: “Whatever you put your mind to – stick with it. Don’t let anyone let you think that CCC is not as hard or as good as other schools. In many ways, it’s better: we have smaller classes and our professors are truly dedicated to us leaving here and being successful in whatever direction we want to go. And use anything you think you might benefit from – Transfer Center, math tutoring, Wellness – it’s all there for you to become a better student and a better person.”

Brianna was also chosen as the salutatorian for the Kennedy-King College class of 2018, which she says she never thought of as a possibility, but was thrilled at the news.

“The staff and faculty all take an interest in the students here. They help us along the way and push us to be successful. That’s what I love about KKC. I can’t wait until I can come back and show them my bachelor’s degree and thank them again!”

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