Student Highlights

Shilo Johnson

Ft. Myers, Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice graduate, Shilo Johnson, earned his associate’s degree in 2006 and is currently employed as a deputy sheriff by Lee County Sheriff’s Office. “I love what I’m doing,” Johnson said, “it’s the job of my dreams and the career I’ve always wanted.”

Originally from Texas, Johnson moved to Florida in 2002, and was looking into colleges when he received a flyer in the mail from Southwest Florida College. He chose to major in criminal justice because he always wanted to get involved with law enforcement.

Johnson enjoyed his time at SWFC, and credits the college with his success in his career. “The faculty was great and the instructors really taught me a lot of useful information,” he said.

While getting his degree, Johnson worked six days a week, was a full-time student, and took care of his daughter. “It was definitely a challenge, but in the end it was worth it.” He credits his family with offering support and encouragement while he was in school.

Johnson advises others that “no matter how hard it is, and how many obstacles you have to overcome, stick with it, and never give up. A degree will certainly help you get the job that you’ve always wanted.”

Christina Nunez

Port Charlotte, Medical Assisting

Christina Nunez recently became a resident of Florida. She moved here in June of 2008 with her family and three children from Wilmington, Massachusetts.

Nunez worked in an office setting for ten years, five of which were spent as an administrative assistant to the president of a labeling company. However, after the family settled in Florida, Nunez got a new job and was laid off nine months later. “I figured it was the perfect time to go back to school, do what I really wanted with my life, and start a new career,” she said.

While surfing the web she found SWFC, and it was exactly what she was looking for in a college. “I fell in love with the school and program right away. It was just what I needed; the hours, the location, the school were just perfect.”

What really cemented her decision to come to SWFC, was how professional everyone was and the small classroom setting. “I like how you get a more personal response from your instructors and you don’t get lost in the chaos as you would at a larger school. You get more interaction in your education,” she said.

Nunez is currently working on her associate’s degree in medical assisting. She chose a program in the medical field because she has always enjoyed helping people and making a difference in someone’s life.

Scheduled to graduate in December 2011, Nunez will be the first one in her family to graduate from college.

Kristin Sciarrino

Tampa, Digital Design

Kristin Sciarrino was living in New York as of September of 2009, when her family decided to move to Florida because of a great financial opportunity. Due to the move, she began researching schools from New York which she described as a horror show. “There were so many different schools, but my major was very hard to come by. Until I found Southwest Florida College,” she said.

Sciarrino found SWFC while searching on the Internet and was interested immediately. “They had a great program for my major, and I knew I could easily advance, so I felt they were a good choice.”

Passionate about art and design, Sciarrino is currently enrolled in the Digital Design program at SWFC. “I feel that the college has the program that can take me from amateur to advanced designer.” As a visual learner she loves that the classes at SWFC are hands-on, especially projects and assignments.

Currently a part of the work study program at SWFC, Sciarrino expects to complete her associate’s degree in June of 2011. “If you have a passion for something, whether it is pursuing a medical career of just putting your artwork to good use, nothing will happen unless you have the initiative to pursue your dream,” she advised to those interested in Southwest Florida College.

Cynthia DeSantis

Institute of Interior Design

Interior Design graduate, Cynthia DeSantis, began her education at Southwest Florida College before the program was moved off campus to the Institute of Interior Design. She graduated in 2008 with an associate’s degree in Interior Design & Decorating.

DeSantis got her first taste of interior design when she renovated an apartment she bought for her family in a run-down building. “The whole apartment was so damaged and filled with garbage; it was a perfect picture of an abandoned building. I just saw the apartment different in my mind,” she said.

When she decided to improve her skills by earning an education, DeSantis was “scared to death, but each of my instructors took time out of their busy schedules to offer any individual help I needed,” she said. “I went to SWFC to learn a career, and I graduated with a new self confidence.”

DeSantis credits Program Manager Linda Petersen and instructor Kathy Hedrich on the superior education offered to students. “They taught us what we needed in the workplace to be an interior designer.” When the program moved to the Miromar Design Center in Estero, it gave and continues to give, each student the opportunity to be in and around vendors and interior designs, which is a huge plus,” she said.

Southwest Florida College is an accredited private institution of higher learning centrally located in Fort Myers, Tampa, Port Charlotte, and includes the Institute of Interior Design located within the Miromar Design Center in Estero. The College has been providing post secondary education to Floridians since 1974 and offers programs in Allied Health, Business, Design, Education, Information Technology and Legal Studies. Its mission is to provide educational opportunities for individuals to acquire knowledge and skills that will help prepare them for rewarding careers in fields with high growth potential. For more information, call toll free 888-279-2342 or visit

Compass Reader Winter 2010

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