Rosalyn Johnson, Class of 2009, not only has a busy schedule with academic and professional obligations, she has also been committed to strengthening alumni relations with the College. Rosalyn believes it is important that alumni continue to act as faces and voices for Beacon, shattering misconceptions and showing the community that students with learning disabilities can excel academically and professionally. This commitment has been noticed even by other alums, as is evidenced by the fact that Rosalyn was nominated by a fellow alum to become a member of the first Alumni Council. Elected Secretary, Rosalyn will have a major role in establishing the Council and laying the foundation for alumni relations for years to come.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Rosalyn enrolled at Beacon as a freshman and chose Human Services as her major because of a desire to embark on a career in counseling. The idea of working with children and families appealed to her, and that is the area she has since specialized in, having worked at LifeStream in Leesburg as the Children’s Clinical On-Site Therapist since 2011.
As a student at Beacon, Rosalyn was involved with Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society, president of the campus sorority, a member of Psi Tau Omega, and a participant in the African American Cultural Club, which sponsored a popular annual gala at Venetian Gardens as well as Black History Month activities. She has fond memories of visiting Orlando frequently as a student, going to the clubs and theme parks with friends and participating in the College trips. She calls Beacon a “special place” with a good community feel.
Dr. Shelly Chandler, Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs, was Human Services Department Chair during Rosalyn’s academic tenure at Beacon and a favorite professor of hers. Dr. Chandler remarks, “Rosalyn was one of those exceptional students who was highly motivated since her early days at Beacon College to accomplish her goals. I predict that she will continually challenge herself in professional roles with increasing responsibility as she adds to the field of learning disabilities within African-American families.”
After graduating from Beacon, Rosalyn attended Nova Southeastern University, where she earned her master’s degree. This month she officially completed doctoral requirements for a Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University in Sarasota. She successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, which was focused on African American adolescents with learning disabilities. Her original research involved interviewing college students and their parents to find out about their academic experiences and how they coped with them and their learning differences. Her own personal experience initially led to her interest in this subject, and Rosalyn uncovered some interesting findings for potential additional research. She learned, for instance, that students were not skilled at self-advocating and were still largely dependent on their parents in this area. This is the one key piece of advice she has for students at Beacon and for anyone living with a learning disability- it is critical to advocate for oneself. This is one of the most important skills that Rosalyn learned at Beacon and that she has taken with her as she has progressed in her academic and professional lives.
With her Ed.D. now complete and a wealth of experience in the field of counseling, Dr. Rosalyn Johnson is looking to accomplish her next career milestone. We look forward to hearing about her accomplishments.
Three Questions with Rosalyn:
1) What is your favorite Beacon memory?
Developing friendships and connections with people who are now alums, and sharing the common experience of having a learning disability.
2) What advice would you give to current Beacon students?
Don’t be ashamed about your learning disability. Get comfortable self-advocating, and speak up for things that you need.
3) What goals do you have for the Alumni Council?
I’m hoping to build more communities amongst alumni and to get more people interested in seeing how Beacon has changed and learning about the direction it’s going in. Alumni should facilitate events and get their faces out there for Beacon, being advocates for the College and showing how they succeeded as alumni. It’s also important that alumni be involved in helping to change the perception of the College in the local community.
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