July 22, 2021

PBA Education Creates Opportunities for Bahamian Alumni

PBA News

Kalin Symonette ’16, Shanitra McKenzie ’18 and Kevin Sands ’00 pose for a photo at Lowe’s Wholesale Drug Agencies.

Three Bahamian Palm Beach Atlantic alumni have landed jobs at the country’s largest pharmaceutical wholesaler, and they credit the education, encouragement and opportunities they received at PBA for getting them there.

Shanitra McKenzie, a 2018 international business graduate, serves as Lowe’s Wholesale Drug Agencies’ recruitment officer. Kevin Sands, a 2000 computer information systems graduate, works as the company’s senior application support manager, and Kalin Symonette, a 2016 management graduate, joined the company several weeks ago as project manager in logistics, clearing pharmaceutical shipments through customs.

Although the alumni attended PBA at different times, they share a common perspective on the University: it allowed them to further their education while maintaining their Christian principles.

Symonette was impressed by how intentional his professors were about connecting with students. “With all that’s going in the world, young people need that kind of support from Christian influences,” he said.

“We need that direction from people who care, from people who want to see you succeed, and they’ll go the extra mile to help you succeed,” Symonette said. “That part about the school really is what stood out to me the most. The professors, I love them all. They always would encourage you or help you, anytime you needed it. After office hours, whenever. It was amazing.”

Added Symonette: “I wouldn’t be working here today if it wasn’t for going to school. I loved every minute of it. It’s an amazing opportunity, and you’re given so many opportunities because of it.”

McKenzie described herself as “somewhat shy” until she arrived at PBA. The Career Development staff and fellow students pushed her out of her comfort zone and into a world of opportunity. She worked in Admissions and joined the American Marketing Association, where president and fellow student Hunter Durham persuaded her to become the recruiting director. Durham worked for Microsoft and Facebook before going on to start his own businesses.

“When you’re constantly surrounded by people like that who genuinely have an interest in your success, you really have no reason to fail,” McKenzie said. “That’s something that I appreciate about PBA.”

Being well-acquainted with PBA, and its values helps when McKenzie is evaluating the resume of a PBA student or alumni who’s applied for a job at Lowe’s, she said.

“I can trust that when they come here, those same values of integrity, respect for all people, and a desire for community well-being will be on full display. I know that as a company, Lowe’s Wholesale, that’s very important to us,” McKenzie said.

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