Rajan McPhee ’11 never
contemplated leaving the
Bahamas, until she took
part in a high school Junior
where 750 students were
charged with coming up
with a product and a plan
to market it. McPhee was
one of the four winners and
got the chance to travel to
JWU’s North Miami
Campus for a weekend to check out the College of Business.
“I researched JWU and was blown away by the diversity on campus,”
she says. She was also drawn to the small class sizes, the level of
faculty engagement and the educational approach.
“I’m a practical person and was excited about the hands-on
approach that Professor [Mark] Neckes described,” says McPhee.
“He’s one of the reasons I chose to come.”
She flew back home to her grandmother and aunt with JWU on her
mind. But the cost to attend was more than her family could afford.
Her principal and guidance counselor connected her to a Miami-based
family who hired her as a live-in nanny, and McPhee enrolled at JWU,
paying her tuition from her salary. “Unfortunately the 2008 economic
crash affected them, and they couldn’t keep me on,” says McPhee.
She recalls breaking down in the office of campus vice president
and dean of academic affairs, Larry Rice, EdD, ’90. “We sat and
talked through all the alternatives,” she says. “I got a job in the
JWU Admissions office and became a resident hall assistant for the
Cultural Living-Learning Community. It worked out. Even today I
go to Dr. Rice, Ismare Monreal [dean of students] or Amanda Edun
[academic administrative coordinator] for guidance.”
These one-on-one connections have made the difference to
McPhee, who says her collegiate experience took off from that point.
She joined track and field and drama and traveled on a study abroad
to Costa Rica. She’s also involved in the international student community.
“We’re like a family … even graduates come back and stay
involved.” McPhee contrasts this to being a homesick freshman going
home every four weeks. “Since my sophomore year I’ve gone home
less. My family visits me and supports me in everything.”
McPhee graduated in May, having completed her degree in management
in three years. She is interning at Perry Ellis International
corporate headquarters in Miami, in their HR department. “I met
Fanny Hanono ’08 Hon. when she visited campus as a panelist. Her passion about HR inspired me.” McPhee wrote to the Perry Ellis
secretary and treasurer saying she was an international student looking
for an internship, and Hanono asked for her résumé.
As a freshman she represented JWU at the Nassau College Fair.
“Two of those students I talked to are now here,” she says. “I will
always be connected particularly to the North Miami Campus.”
At-a-Glance: North Miami Campus Student Body