When Help Desk intern Daniel Draving assisted Admissions Counselor Carla Powers with a computer problem, she congratulated him on his upcoming graduation and added that his mom, PBA Card Coordinator Wendy Draving, must be proud.
His reply was something like, “Thanks, she’s graduating, too.” Wendy will cheer on Daniel as he graduates with his bachelor’s degree in computer science Saturday morning at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. In the afternoon, their roles will be reversed as Wendy graduates with an MBA and a concentration in project management. This year, the University has two commencement ceremonies in order to follow COVID-19 physical distancing protocols.
The day marks a big milestone for both mother and son. Wendy was working at PBA as a procurement associate when she began to contemplate opportunities for personal growth, inspired by PBA colleagues who were working toward MBAs or master’s degrees in leadership. Her husband, Gary, also has been instrumental in encouraging her, she said.
“I saw this opportunity and decided to pursue it,” said Wendy, who lives in West Palm Beach.
She especially enjoyed her project management classes, where she learned real-world applications and agile leadership from Dr. Lane Cohee, associate dean of the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. School of Business and associate professor of management.
“He has so much experience in the field and he brings it to the classroom,” Wendy said. “I really appreciate that about him.”
Her newly-acquired knowledge of how to organize and plan projects has been invaluable, she said. In the course of her degree program, she was promoted to her current position in the PBA Card Office, which requires more leadership, she said. Students, staff and faculty use their PBA cards for access to buildings, meal plans, printing services and financial aid for buying books.
Before the Draving family moved back to Florida from Michigan, Wendy dreamed of working at PBA, she said. She waited on God until she was hired and then her youngest son, Daniel, was accepted as a student. She started her degree so that they would finish at the same time.
“PBA has given us so much,” Wendy said. “I’ve just been in awe of how God has worked in our family’s life. It’s been a real gift.”
Daniel credits his computer science education with preparing him for a career developing apps or supporting computer systems — not to mention life in general.
“Going to college in general has really taught a lot of independence and responsibility,” Daniel said.
For example, every undergraduate student is expected to complete 45 hours of community service, called Workship, each academic year, and attend at least 24 chapel services. Daniel said he’s participated in too many neighborhood cleanups to count, as well as gleaning and volunteering at an animal shelter.
His internship at the Help Desk has taught him how to handle tension with tact; often, he’s the first person on the phone when a student has a problem in the University’s online course management system or a professor has locked himself out of his computer.
His philosophy: “Stay positive. Stay upbeat.” He credits Technical Support Specialist Ben Francois, a 2013 PBA alumnus, for molding how he relates to people.
After graduation, the younger Draving has tentative plans to move to Michigan where his three older siblings still live, and get a job in information technology, programming or app development, he said.