Alumni Spotlight

Reed-Daly’s Winding Journey Shows Success Delayed is Still Success

| Alumni Spotlight
Heather Daily

As a child growing up in suburban Philadelphia, Heather Reed-Daly worked hard to fend off failure in school. Though wrestling with dyslexia and other learning issues, she managed to graduate from high school, took a job at a car dealership and thought she’d put formal schooling behind her. Then came Beacon College.

Her mother, a registered nurse, was on a professional trip to Florida in 2010 when she discovered Leesburg-based Beacon — the country’s first accredited undergraduate school for students with learning disabilities. One thing led to another and in the spring of 2011, Reed-Daly began her freshman year.

Today, she is Beacon’s assistant director of admissions, a position she has held since September 2019.

Alumna Turned Educator Pays Forward Beacon Care and Compassion in her Classroom

| Alumni Spotlight

By Richard Burnett Each day, Emily Abramson stands at the side of preschool children with learning issues whose emotions run the gamut from sadness to gladness. As an early childhood education professional, her task is to help them crack the code of their challenges and reach their potential. Part-tutor, part-counselor and part-teacher, Abramson knows the […]

For Myers, Early Silence Transformed Into Golden Words of Thanks in New Memoir

| Alumni Spotlight
Antonio Myers

He spent the first years of his childhood in silence, as doctors and his parents began to think he might never speak. But at age four, Antonio Myers defied the odds by saying his first words. Since then, the words have flowed without ceasing.

And what a story he has to tell.

Today, Myers, 28, shares the saga of overcoming childhood sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that permeated his early years after being diagnosed with autism. As a disability rights advocate, he tells his story through community speeches, podcasts, livestreams, and other available channels.

Alumnus Brown Takes Unconventional Trek From Rural Hills To High-Tech Hub

| Alumni Spotlight
Xander Brown - Dell Technologies

From a small country house in the North Carolina hills to a high-rise in one of America’s technology hubs, Xander Brown’s trek in life has been anything but conventional. In 2015, then as Sarah Brown, he was a quiet, anxious newcomer to Beacon College — 700 miles from his rural home. Fast forward to last year, Brown came out as a transgender male while working for Dell Technologies in suburban Austin, Texas. It was the culmination of a lifelong pursuit to express his true gender identity. Along the way, he overcame a bundle of learning difficulties, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD — thanks in a large part to Beacon, Brown said.

Beacon Student Turned Sales Dynamo Earns Her Props In The Work World

| Alumni Spotlight, People
Nina Apple

That legendary snack food — its peanuts, popcorn, and caramel coating immortalized in the baseball anthem, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” — touts a trademarked slogan that affirms that “when you’re really good they call you crackerjack.”

Sure, that’s one way to know you have achieved a certain level of excellence. Or you could be like Beacon student Nina Apple and snag a job promotion.

In a tweet announcing the upgrade, Vector Marketing wrote: “Fantastic work! @beacon_college student Nina Apple from our Lake County, FL office moved from Trainee to Sales Rep! Congrats on your first promotion, Nina!”

Beacon Graduate Energized By Work At Walter Reed Hospital

| Alumni Spotlight

Christine White’s career voyage took many turns before she reached a harbor. She worked as a nanny, lifeguard, preschool teacher, and medical records assistant, among other jobs. At each step along the way, she learned something that would ready her for the next step.

Beacon Alum Kick-starts A Career As ‘First Responder’ To Computer Ills

| Alumni Spotlight
Spencer Stevens

In his search for himself, Spencer Stevens found it in the most unlikely of places: a closet of castoff computers in Beacon College’s information systems lab. One day, as he eyed the apparent graveyard of electronics, an idea seized him: Fix them and put them back into play.

With his instructor’s blessing, Stevens tackled the daunting task with fervor. Within weeks, he converted the nearly 50 inoperative computers into 20 fully revived units — giving the classroom a badly-needed infusion of equipment for instruction. For Stevens, it was a kickstart to an eventual career.

“I really found my lane and I went for it,” said Stevens, a 2019 graduate and now a PC tech assistant at UFHealth Leesburg Hospital. “For years in middle school and high school, it was so tough, I had to work hard just to stay afloat. I went from that to acing my courses at Beacon because I was so motivated. I really wanted to learn.”

Chavez: Tenacity To Overcome Adversity And Help Others

| Alumni Spotlight
Samantha Chavez work photo

From the homeless to the jobless, Samantha Chavez reaches out daily to people in need — often families in poverty and their children in need of everything from basic nutrition to education support.

Their stories resonate with Chavez, a family advocate for Episcopal Children’s Services Inc.’s location in The Villages, Fla. Long ago, she struggled with her own learning challenges and emotional uncertainty about her future.

Today, after a dramatic personal turnaround fueled by her Beacon College years, Chavez, 24, plays a key role in helping people who’ve been dealt a tough hand in life.

Human Services Grad Uses Gift To Help Others In Need

| Alumni Spotlight
Katie McNamara

Katie McNamara has always had the gift of lighting up a room. Since childhood, she’d talk to anyone she met, from her friends and family to the strangers in the doctor’s office. She’s always loved getting to know people and has a way with making them feel comfortable enough to open up. And now she’s using that gift to help others in need.

As a resident assistant at a homeless shelter in Virginia, McNamara, 32, does more than just run the facility’s operations. When she’s not restocking supplies, writing shift reports, making sure everyone is physically distancing and wearing masks, administering medication, and handling conflicts that arise among the residents, she makes time to talk to anyone who needs help. That’s her favorite part of the job.