OUTSTANDING GRAD LILLIAN ROGERS REFLECTS ON PBA JOURNEY
For sure senior Lillian Rogers has been a force to reckon with academically during her four years at Palm Beach Atlantic University, which culminates Saturday when she’ll graduate cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.
During the May 5 spring 2018 Commencement festivities, Rogers also will be officially recognized as
the outstanding graduate in the School of Education and Behavioral Studies, one of several scholarly milestones she racked up at PBA.
Of note, the 22-year-old from Gibson Island, Maryland, who minored in the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program, has made the dean’s list for eight semesters. While at PBA she served as a President’s Ambassador and as service coordinator for the Education Honors Society Kappa Delta Epsilon. She traveled overseas as part of her studies, participating in a summer aboard semester in Oxford, England in 2017, and volunteered for the Peace Corps in Macedonia.
Just recently, Rogers returned to PBA from a 14-week stint teaching children at Rift Valley Academy, a Christian boarding school in central Kenya. That unique experience spent teaching Swahili to the Kenyan children and worrying about monkeys getting into her classroom, left an indelible mark, Rogers said in a phone interview this week.
“No matter where you go, people are just people," she said in reflecting on Kenya and how life there compared to the U.S. "I was overwhelmed by how welcomed we were. It seemed like we were wanted there.”
In looking back at her PBA journey, Rogers said: “It was an incredible experience particularly because of the professors. The professors really cared about your well-being.”
Roger's mother concurred.
"All the faculty in the Elementary Education department has been incredible and encouraging," said Beverly Rogers at a recent Honors Day ceremony on campus announcing the spring slate of outstanding graduates.
The proud parent thanked God for her daughter's academic gifts. "It's definitely a blessing from the Lord and I know his hand has been in all of it."
Lillian Rogers said she especially appreciated the assistance, guidance and mentoring received from several PBA faculty and staff members from the School of Education during the four years. She recalled key moments shared with Dean Chelly Templeton, advisor Dr. Cheryl Serrano, Dr. Timothy Ladd and school secretary Christine Fink, as being among the standout moments that helped to shape her academic journey.
“She has grace, she has an adventurous spirit and she’s the total package,” Dr. Templeton said of Rogers during the Honors Day ceremony.
For Rogers, participating in the University’s chapter of Delight, a national campus ministry where college woman connect weekly with each other in Bible study and other Christ-centered activities in a community of believers, was another signature experience.
“I started Delight in my freshman year and found it was a good introduction to PBA,” Rogers said. “It was a neat way to meet people and an overall good experience.”
Through Delight, she made several lasting friendships.
As a Supper Honors student, Rogers made her first trip to England last summer for a four-week study aboard program in Oxford.
“It was such a cool opportunity to take classes with professors at Oxford University,” Rogers recalled. “Oxford was definitely the highlight of my PBA experience.”
Other notable moments of the Oxford trip included visits to popular landmarks and monuments such as the Salisbury Cathedral (the biggest cathedral she'd ever seen), Stonehenge and the late author C.S. Lewis’ church and house, she said.
After graduation, Rogers plans to embark on another world adventure: teaching English in China. As the youngest of three siblings and the only girl, the idea of striking out on her own so far away from home does make her nervous, but the support and encouragement of her family has been comforting.
“It definitely does terrify me to go to China,” said Rogers, who has sought guidance from her brothers who have spent time in New Zealand and Macedonia.
Last summer she joined her brother Samuel, a 2015 PBA alumnus and Supper Honors student in Macedonia where he was serving in the Peace Corps.
Rogers said she choose China because it’s a popular place for Americans to go and teach English. And after countless hours of online research and assistance from a recruitment agency, she decided on a Montessori school on an island off China near Taiwan, which “seemed like a good fit.”
She expects to kick off her one-year teaching assignment in China sometime in July. The school offers free Chinese lessons, a bonus she plans to use to her advantage.
Beyond China, what’s her ultimate goal?
“I'd like to become a speech pathologist so I plan to pursue graduate school following my return to the U.S.,” Rogers said.