Student Profile: Joane Theodule
Student Profile: B-CU graduate Joane Theodule (‘09)
B-CU graduate Joane Theodule (‘09) was determined to go to graduate school. After she applied for a fellowship at Florida A&M University (FAMU), she got in her car and drove from Daytona Beach to Tallahassee to talk in person with the dean of graduate studies and research. She could not miss this opportunity.
Shortly thereafter, Theodule received a letter from the dean at FAMU that her persistence had paid off. Theodule was named the very first, and thus far only, James H. Ammons Fellow in their HBCU Graduate Research and Education Program.
“I am very persistent and if I see I want something, I go after it and I go after it hard,” said Theodule, describing her tenacity for success.
The application process included a personal recommendation letter written by B-CU President Trudie Kibbe Reed. Through the fellowship she will receive full tuition and fees, a graduate research assistantship, full health insurance, a travel stipend for professional conferences and a research materials stipend.
Theodule has always known the need for self-motivation. She has been on her own since she was 16 years old, bearing the responsibility of balancing of both work and school to support herself. For the first time since then, she will take a hiatus from full-time work to focus on her studiest to maintain the required 3.0 grade point average each semester.
Theodule is a Haitian native who came to the United States with her family when she was 10 years old. Eventually the family migrated from the northeast to Central Florida, where she graduated from Evans High School. Having spent a semester at a small Orlando college, she became restless with dreams of a more mainstream university experience. With 15 credit hours on her transcript she transferred to B-CU.
On campus, the energetic and enthusiastic Theodule set her sights on success from the very beginning. She plunged into many collegiate activities including mentoring, peer counseling, the Model UN, and leadership roles in campus organizations. She completed her studies in three years while working full-time at Walmart, mentoring and spending many hours at the campus switchboard.
Switchboard staff member Patricia Singleton developed a very close relationship with Theodule, taking her in as family while she worked hard towards graduation.
“She’s a very dependable, caring and loving child. I was so proud of her, I tell you,” said Singleton, recalling her reaction to the news of Theodule’s accomplishment. “I was just so excited for her. It was like having own my child graduate from college and go on to study for her master’s degree. She just has that get up and go, and she just wanted it.”
Theodule cites relationships with mentors such as Singleton and the family-focused campus environment at B-CU as what helped her really thrive in her studies.
“I love this school – everyone would say it is a caring community and they actually mean it,” she said, gushing with school pride. “I am so happy I chose Bethune-Cookman University to get my undergrad. I bleed maroon and gold.”
During her senior year, Theodule – who was then interning for Volusia County Judge Hubert L. Grimes – began exploring plans for the future. She always dreamed of becoming an immigration attorney, a passion she developed after she and her family struggled personally through their immigration process from Haiti. Remembering how difficult it was, she wants to help others like her.
“Certainly, the future is very bright for Joane as she is destined to make significant contributions to society,” said Dorcas McCoy, Ph.D., interim dean of B-CU’s school of social sciences, who worked closely with Theodule. “Notwithstanding her many personal hardships, she remains optimistic, ambitious and determined to succeed. “
Theodule’s plans for law school are still as clear as ever, only delayed slightly because of the opportunity at FAMU.
“I am hungry for knowledge and success. In four years, I will be an attorney – believe me,” stated Theodule, with that same determined spirit. “And one day my goal is to have a building named after me on [the B-CU] campus.”
About Bethune-Cookman University
Founded in 1904 by Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers baccalaureate degrees in 37 majors through six academic schools – Arts & Humanities; Business; Education; Nursing; Science, Engineering and Mathematics; and Social Sciences – and maintains intercollegiate athletic programs and instrumental and choral groups that have achieved national recognition. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of more than 3,400.