Alumni Spotlight: Chandra Fleet
Name: Chandra Fleet
Major: Exceptional Student Education (ESE K-12)
Hometown: Temple Hills, MD
Profession: Licensed Special Educator
Company: Prince George’s County Public Schools
Graduation Year: 2010
Organizations Involved In: Orchesis Dance Ensemble, Model United Nations, National Council of Negro Women, Inc., Student Government Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, and Delta Psi Epsilon Christian Sorority, Inc.
I AM BETHUNE-COOKMAN UNIVERSITY
What attracted you to Bethune-Cookman University? The first thing that attracted me to Bethune-Cookman University was the weather and beach. However, after continuing to do my research about the university, that attraction to the location quickly transformed to an attraction for the history of the university. I have always been in awe that the university was founded by an African American woman, and that thought alone has always pushed me to the best I can be.
If you could describe Bethune-Cookman University and your experience in three words, what would they be and why? It is hard to limit a description and my experience at Bethune-Cookman University to three words. It is hard to choose three words because the university has impacted the lives of so many, including mine. Therefore, if I had to pen a word for the university and my experience, I would say transformative. Transformative because the university continues to strive to transform to sustain the legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and it helped me transform into who I am as a woman, educator, and leader.
What was one of your most memorable moments at B-CU, and why? While I had many memorable moments at B-CU, the most memorable was serving as the Student Government Association President. That experience along with other leadership roles helped groom me into the leader I am today.
Was there a staff or faculty member who had the most influence on your life while you were a student at B-CU, and if so, who and why? There were plenty of faculty and staff members who influenced my life while attending B-CU. First, I would say Dr. Herbert Thompson. He took me in my freshman year due to his daughter and I being roommates. He was one who treated me like his own daughter and exposed me to many experiences at B-CU that I would not have had a clue about if left up to figuring it out on my own. Next, I would have to say Ms. Cynthia Gray as she was by my side while I served as SGA President. She helped keep me on my toes and provided support so that I was successful in my role. Lastly, I would say Ms. Karen Duncan, Ms. Lawana Walden, and Dr. Leslie Sena in the School of Education. The three of them were instrumental in grooming me to be the best educator I could be regardless of where I served.
How did your time at Bethune-Cookman University prepare you for graduate school and/or shape your career path? I believe having professors who were invested in me as a person and my career desires is what prepared me for my path after B-CU. They all held me to a high standard and pushed me when I thought I could not do certain things. It is now that I see they had faith in my ability and were pushing me to always have the faith within myself for myself.
What do you enjoy most about your profession? As a licensed special educator, I have served in a variety of roles. In each of my roles, the thing I enjoy the most about my profession is the ability to share that students with disabilities are not incompetent, rather they learn differently. It is in these moments, I am able to build the capacity of colleagues around me to enhance their practices to address the differences displayed within the school environment.
What do you like to do for fun? I am very family and friend oriented. Therefore, I love spending as much time with family and friends creating memories. I also enjoy baking and traveling.
What advice/insight do you have for students or future students who are interested in your career field or advice on life and pursuing their dreams/passion? My advice to students whether interested in my career field or pursuing their dreams/passions, is “comparison kills.” Everyone is given their own race to run in life; therefore, you cannot become consumed by looking to your left or right to try to keep up with those around you. The race you have been given must be run at the pace you set for yourself to ensure you make the progress you desire. You control your own destiny; therefore, there is no time to compare yourself to others.
What would you tell parents thinking about enrolling their child at Bethune-Cookman University? I would tell parents considering enrollment for their children to not feed into the negativity about Bethune-Cookman University. I know that is easier said than done, but I feel it is necessary because feeding into the negative can cloud one’s thoughts about the university. When thoughts are clouded, there is an opportunity for individuals to miss out on understanding and respecting the rich history of the university. Nothing in life is perfect, but Bethune-Cookman University is a special place where children can grow and develop into their best selves. Further, it is a place where they will enter to learn and depart to serve.
Is there anything that you would like to say or add? I tell people all the time that I am grateful for my experience at B-CU. While I had a strong village before attending the university, my experiences at the university helped my village grow even more. B-CU will always have a special place in my heart because without it, I would not be a fraction of the woman I am today.