Published On: Fri, Jun 26th, 2020

International student and aspiring nurse selected as student trustee

Three years ago, Gabrielle Louis came to Palm Beach State College from Port-au-Prince, Haiti to pursue an education and gain more experiences.

Not only is she accomplishing these goals, she has also been selected as the College’s student trustee for the 2020-21 academic year.

Louis, who graduated Summa Cum Laude this spring with an Associate in Arts degree, was chosen out of nine candidates who interviewed for the role via Zoom. She is the 20th student to serve in the role and will attend her first District Board of Trustees meeting Aug. 11.

As the new voice of Palm Beach State’s 49,000 students, Louis is especially hoping to connect with other international students who might be experiencing the challenges she first faced.

“When I started, I was exposed to a new language and new style of life which led me to suffer from cultural shock,” said Louis, who is now pursuing Associate in Science degrees in Human Services and Nursing.  “I went through struggles and pain with my classmates, and I scrutinized many areas of the school.”

However, Louis says the warm environment of Palm Beach State, the patience of its employees and its diversity led her to get out of her comfort zone to become an ambitious, overachieving student and confident person.

Louis also noticed the development of PBSC and is hoping in her new role to directly contribute to that growth, while also being the voice to students who are speechless like she was a few years ago.

“Being the student trustee will help me contribute directly to making Palm Beach State a comfortable house for students from different countries and show that background and language don’t have to be barriers to what someone can accomplish.”

During her time at PBSC, Louis has also been working in various capacities at the Boca Raton campus, including with Marc Fedderman, a learning specialist in the Student Learning Center.

“I have watched Gabrielle grow as a writer, reader and most significantly a critical thinker,” said Fedderman, who also serves as an adjunct instructor of English. “Since finishing my Advanced English class with distinction, she has expanded her presence at the College, working first as a supplemental instruction leader for Elements of Nutrition and then as a student worker in the Admissions Office. The same characteristics that have made her an exemplary student are apparent in her work at the College. She is always friendly, supportive, and a paragon of what Palm Beach State stands for.”

When Louis is finished with her education, she plans to invest her knowledge into helping improve the health care system of Haiti.

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