I recently received an email from a student whose experience puts into perspective the College’s efforts to serve our students and community. PCC student Brendan Lyons attended the National Collegiate Leadership Conference at the University of Arizona Feb. 12-14. The NCLC is a student-run annual conference that serves as the cornerstone of the leadership experience and training for hundreds of college students across the nation.
More than 600 students attended the conference. I am pleased to say Brendan received the 2016 Excellence in Student Leadership Award.
Brendan’s story of career and personal transformation is remarkable. He graduated from PCC with a degree in Fire Science in 2007. In pursuing his dream of becoming a firefighter, he took up cycling to improve his fitness. What started as a hobby quickly became a passion that offered him a way to give back to the community: In 2009, he participated is his first El Tour de Tucson bike race, riding in support of a young boy with cancer. Also in 2009, he was hired by a local fire department.
In 2011, Brendan was hospitalized after he was struck by a car while on a ride. The experience energized him to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving through a nationwide advocacy group, Look! Save a Life. In 2013, he again was hit by a motor vehicle. The injuries put Brendan’s firefighting career on hold, so he went back to PCC to retool his career, this time aiming for work in government affairs. He is on course to graduate with an associate degree in Liberal Arts, and intends to transfer to NAU through our 90-30 program to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, followed by a master’s degree.
“I’m grateful for each and every opportunity I’ve been given at Pima Community College,” Brendan wrote in informing me about the conference. “As I get ready to move forward with my journey, it pains me to prepare to say goodbye to all of my instructors, mentors and staff who have made my experience worthwhile. Thank you for continuing to bring tremendous strength for an incredible and most deserving institution.”
As you know, PCC is thinking big, with major initiatives under way in many areas – developmental education, workforce development, online, global education. These efforts are being made so that individuals can achieve their education and career goals. Stories such as Brendan’s should assure everyone that, by placing student first, we are on the path to success as an institution.