Beacon News: Waldrop builds ‘Bridges’

By Jocelyn Martinez
Contributing Writer

Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Student Success Center has always been in the business of building bridges.

Now, Professor Daniel Waldrop from the School of Communication works with the Student Success Center on a program that delivers just that: Bridges.

The program is voluntary and designed as a “bridge” from high school to college to help freshmen with their first year involvement in all three core categories: spiritually, socially and academically.

The Student Success Center has been known for its ongoing assistance in the lives of students. Its mission is to serve as a one-stop area to help those students who are struggling with their academics, first year advising, career development — since many students are unaware of what they want to do — and counseling.

“Whatever it is, come to Student Success and we’ll help you to be successful,” said Andrea Dyben, director of the Student Success Center.

Now, with the addition of Bridges, the center hopes to better serve freshmen that may need a little extra boost to get them through the first year.

Students in Bridges meet with a counselor twice a week, and also participate in three to four activities a month that help them develop tools to succeed in college.

Dr. Maryann Searle, vice president of Student Development, heard of a similar program, Keystone, at Union University and wanted to create something like it for PBA. Searle discussed the program with Waldrop, who then decided to switch departments to help establish and create it.

“I believe the Lord has placed me in the Bridges program,” Waldrop said. “I have a passion for helping students; it goes back to my youth pastor days.”

Although Bridges is only about a month old, it is hoped to continue to grow and be a huge success for the school.

“Bridges is very important to the community,” Waldrop said. “It is a passion Dr. Searle has. It’s her brain-child.”

For those kids who qualify, Bridges will seek to point them in the best direction.
“If you realize you could use a little extra coaching or mentoring to keep you on track, that is what Bridges is for,” Dyben said. “If high school wasn’t the easiest for you, we help steer you the right way.”

Bridges is capped at 50 students, and there are currently about 40 applicants.
If the students in the program meet the criteria set for them, they will have an achievement banquet, as well as receive a $1,000 scholarship to return their sophomore year.

Waldrop looks forward to returning to teaching in the spring.

“I love the School of Communication, but I know this is where the Lord has placed me,” Waldrop said.

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