Featured Learner - Sameerah Bell
Sameerah Bell graduated from William Penn High School in Philadelphia and entered the Army, initially serving in the Reserves and then on active duty at Fort Hood, Texas. After this "first career," Sameerah set her sights on the field of law, working at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford. It was there that she first decided to pursue her goal of becoming a criminal defense attorney.
Sameerah's path toward that goal is to complete her associate degree in Paralegal Studies, continue on to receive her bachelor's degree, and then eventually attend law school. In January 2005, Sameerah enrolled at Peirce as a part-time student in the Paralegal Studies program. "After attending several classes online and on campus, I decided that this was the field for me," she says. A few months later she was hospitalized for a number of weeks but thanks to her characteristic determination, she was able not only to keep up with her classes, but also to maintain her 3.45 GPA. Other personal hurdles have come her way, but Sameerah has stayed focused on her goals, faced each and every challenge and kept moving ahead. In fact, her determination even inspired her advisor. "Sameerah overcame significant personal obstacles, yet she persevered in her studies and maintained her GPA," says Patti Blacker, her advisor. "She is an example of grace under pressure, and she managed to stay focused even when circumstances were very difficult. Sameerah meets personal challenges head-on and doesn't give up."
Sameerah credits Peirce advisors Patti Blacker and Shannon Begley for contributing to her success. "They were there for me'they went beyond the call of duty," she says. "Plus, Professors Ed Miller and Brian Halsey were very supportive of my needs. I would not have made it this far if it wasn't for all of them, together with the support of my family and friends."
For Sameerah, success is about focusing on her goals, and not letting anything get in her way. While many Peirce students enjoy the flexibility of taking classes online, Sameerah prefers to attend classes on campus. She says that enables her to really focus on a course. With her determination and solid work ethic, there is little doubt that Sameerah will reach her personal and professional goal to become a criminal defense attorney in her own law firm.