Thursday, February 9, 2017


Miami Dade Honors College students attend inspiring and informative  
Criminal Justice/ Forensic Science 
October 26, 2016 

Hosted by 
 The Aspire to Inspire Program at Miami Dade College and Caribbean Bar Association

Featured Guest Speakers

Lt. Keith Martin
Recruitment Officer Diversity & Inclusion 
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue & Emergency Services Dept. 


 Paul Anthony Villaverde, Sergeant  
Miami-Dade Police Department

Homicide Bureau

Dr. Zulfikar Kalam
School of Justice Miami Dade College, North Campus 


Monday, December 12, 2016


FALL 2016 

Professor Edward Glenn, Showcase Organizer

MDC Welcomes the Ballet

Professor Marlene Cueto's
Honors College students attend

September 7, 2016


October 5th, 2016
Honors College north campus students attend 
 “Building Global Leaders International Speaker Series

 Africa and Israel’s Roots are Long-Standing and Ought to Bear Fruit for Both
Mr. Arthur Lenk
 Ambassador of Israel to South Africa, Lesotho, Mauritius and Swaziland

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Math Olympian Up a Tree by Dr. Michael J. Lenaghan

Maximo was a mathematical whiz kid in Cuba! Maximo had been a child prodigy among math geniuses in Cuba! Maximo had been a member of the Math Olympic champions in Cuba!
And Maximo had asked for a conversation before our Social Environment course would begin one Fall semester at our Hialeah Center. He had communicated through the Hialeah Center Director in a respectful manner, never telling the director exactly what he wanted to discuss. But our center director was very proud to have Maximo at his center and nowhere else in the college. And the staff seemed deferential to Maximo because he was sooo smart in mathematics.
At the outset of a semester, I was generally excited about new and renewed encounters with a broad range of scholars from a variety of disciplines. My area of principal focus was social sciences but I was also very supportive across disciplines, especially mathematics, calculus and physics because so many college students are fearful and I am not fearful about the beautiful and important subject of mathematics.
On the other hand, it occurred to me that perhaps I was being encouraged to in some way be deferential to Maximo’s strengths and not be overly demanding in my specialty area of social sciences. Maybe a genius in math was social science-phobic like others claim to be math-phobic. But my colleagues never were intrusive or imposing in such a matter. Maybe Maximo had language and linguistic problems since he had only recently arrived from Cuba. And losing a math genius did not reflect well on the totalitarian-authoritarian political regime there. Maybe there were security issues. Who knew? I would review my own competencies in the delicious Spanish language so as to be appropriately ready for my conversation with Maximo! (Maximo actually translated to mean MAXIMUM but could be interpreted to be awesome on a good day).
Maximo and I met early on the first day of class. I bought him a cup of “cafecito Cubano” (Cuban Coffee) and he proceeded to pick a large tree at the side of our building under which we would converse. The tree reminded me of one in a park near where I grew up in Chicagoland: many leaves, many branches, easy to climb and cool in the heat of the day when direct sunlight could be very stifling.
Maximo spoke of his love of mathematics and how mathematics when applied properly could help solve many problems of the social environment, natural environment and material environment. He appeared to be demonstrating his readiness for our class. I was impressed and somewhat thrilled that this exemplary human being was going to be in my Social Environment class.
We spoke about how each student has his or her own unique learning style and teaching style, absorbing and mastering content and then applying and demonstrating what was learned and how it impacted the human condition from aesthetics to zoology. As someone who was informed and inspired by Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory, I was fascinated with Maximo’s self -knowledge and how to make his unique learning needs and wants and capacities work for himself. And we both agreed that each scholar should create or contribute to the optimum learning context and dynamics in which he or she and learning peers could advance best.
Maximo truly seemed happy with our discussion. I was absolutely enthralled with his participation in our class. He excused himself and said he would “verle en la clase” (see you in class). Perfecto, I surmised.
I arrived in the third floor class on the North side of the air conditioned building to find the window open, providing a friendly breeze. The thirty plus class members were gathered at the window chatting with someone or something on a tree branch outside. I was amazed to discover that Maximo was situated in the tree outside, with his notebook and pen in hand and a textbook in a book bag. Trying not to be shocked nor surprised nor angry nor fearful of an accident, I walked over and greeted my new scholar: “Thanks for joining us in this novel way. Please come into the classroom so we can begin class.”
Maximo, looking disheartened and disappointed, responded: “I can learn best at this center when I am seated here in this tree. And we both agreed that each student had best ways of learning. Mine is here. You can close the door and save air conditioning during this class. And I will be very attentive when each person speaks, if each can speak a little louder than normal. And I will speak a little louder to accommodate my fellow students.”
This was a new experience for me. Since it was a sunny day, without major winds and no signs of a storm, I decided to proceed with the class, noting that the other scholars appeared curious, probably thinking this could have been a role play or a novel approach to getting focused on the first day. Social Environment. Why not? We had self-introductions, an introduction to course expectations – and no one questioned the non-traditional placement of Maximo in the tree.
After class terminated, I closed the window, Maximo descended and I sought some advice and guidance from the center director. We agreed to change the class to the second floor (reducing the hazard) since there was no classroom on the first floor. The director volunteered to get any background information that explained why Maximo preferred tree sitting to being in a classroom. His parents were not in the USA.
Maximo arrived for the second class with assignments prepared, reading done and very participatory. His peer learners were surprised to find how conscientious he was but still in the tree on the second floor. Upon doing some inquiries, we learned that Maximo’s parents and brothers died in a catastrophic fire in Cuba in a deficiently constructed and unprotected building. His preference to not immediately trust learning inside a building right now was understandable. We completed the semester with him up a tree or sometimes all of us in a garden, as Maximo maximized his new social environment for success and sensitized his new faculty and classmates.
                                    2015 © Michael J. Lenaghan

When Humanity has Faith by Nakki White

ENC 1101

As human beings we have the ability to find the faults in those around us. This ability makes it easy to pick apart the lives and dreams of others when we have no faith in our own. Why do people find solace by tearing down someone’s ideas? Why do we make it our mission to destroy the dreams of another? Basic human nature regulates that people discourage the dreams of their friends because they lack faith in their own dreams, don’t want to see their friends get hurt, and sometimes they just can’t understand the dreams of someone else other than their own.
Where does faith come from? Faith comes from the belief of there being a higher power beyond our own comprehension. When humanity has faith it gives them the strength to follow their dreams. However, people tend to discourage others because they have no faith in their dreams. When people don’t have any faith it means nothing can motivate them. In my sophomore year of high school I competed in a public speaking competition for Future Business Leaders of America. After continuously working for months to prepare a speech by myself, I was devastated to find out that I didn’t win. When the opportunity came to participate again in my junior year I didn’t have any faith that I would do better this time. The first time I worked so hard to do my best only to have it thrown back in my face and whenever I thought about trying again, I kept finding reasons to stop. For a while I didn’t believe in myself, but with time and shaky faith I competed again and this time I won. At that point in my life I lacked motivation in my own dreams so there was no way I could encourage my friends to go for what they wanted. Somehow I believed that since I couldn’t achieve my dreams then there was no way my friends could achieve theirs either. Not having faith indicates not believing in a greater power like God. Church teaches us to believe that God can symbolize destiny. Destiny meaning that everything happens for a reason.  This is why most people use God as a motivational tool to guide them in the right direction, while others deny the concept of faith altogether much like my aunt Ruth. Aunt Ruth tends to believe that she and only she controls her destiny. In her mind there are no coincidences or explanations and the only faith she has is in herself. She doesn’t realize that God affects our decisions more than we know. Having faith in something stronger than ourselves propels people forward, but with her it only seems to have made her clueless. She has all this faith in herself, yet has done nothing to accomplish her dreams. Not having faith in something stronger is much like aimlessly walking through life without a clear sense of direction. It’s hypothesized that these same feelings can lead to insecurities. Life’s about taking risks in order to try something new, but when people become insecure they become afraid to take those risks. A former friend of mine named Michelle never could figure out what she wanted to do for the rest of her life so she studied everything she possibly could. One time it was cooking, next business, then art, and finally writing. She studied almost everything, yet when opportunities came to turn them into careers she never took the chance. She always found reasons why she wasn’t good enough or why she wouldn’t be good at anything even though she studied everything. Nevertheless, insecurity mentally destroys people from the inside. It makes them afraid to take risks and even doubt the criticism from others. Whether or not people believe it criticism can do more harm than good in the mind of someone suffering do to their insecurities. Take my friend Jennifer for instance who is a fantastic artist, although every time her work is critiqued she loses all confidence in herself. Even if the critique’s minor she is ready to demolish her art work. She’s always been insecure about everything she does especially when it comes to her painting, even when it’s perfect she can’t help but feel like everyone hates it. Her insecurities keep her from accepting the opinions of others which could likely help her in the future. Everyone knows that the world isn’t a perfect place and some will have good or bad days more than another. When people start accepting that there’s nothing they can do to change their life they become cynical. My older brother Darrell is now in his thirties, but growing up the world reduced him to the stereotypical black male. Some of his teachers at one point thought that he would turn to drugs and gang violence like some of his classmates, yet he didn’t let their cynicism stop him. He wasn’t going to let society put a label on him so he worked his hardest and sacrificed some of his own happiness to take care of the family. Currently he’s working hard to finish school then own his own funeral home in Miami. Unlike him, my aunt Ruth has completely given up in everything she once believed in. In the past few years I’ve noticed that every time someone mentioned what they wanted out of life she would become cold and cynical. Even with me and the rest of the family she discourages our dreams because she’s slowly realized that she wasn’t able to accomplish any of hers. She accepted her failures which is similar to destroying her own goals. When someone does that they are left with nothing than what they started with.
Do we hurt each other on purpose or is it coincidental? Humanity argues that we hurt each other because there’s always a tiny hint of satisfaction at seeing someone else fail. Others disagree saying that it’s not about wanting someone to fail rather than wanting to protect them from outcomes that we perceive as difficult or dangerous. It’s simply human nature to want to shield our friends and peers from getting hurt. This is why people discourage their friends and peers from their dreams out of fear. Fear makes me people afraid to see their friends get hurt or in another case do better than them. I have two friends named Bianca and Chelsea. Both were amazing volleyball players back in high school, but Bianca was always a little better than her. Before our senior year both had the same dream of becoming volleyball captain for the varsity team. During their practices I began noticing that Chelsea would put down Bianca skills whenever she had the chance, knowing she was better. Chelsea was terrified of losing to one of her close friends so she put down Bianca’s dream so that she wouldn’t succeed. Being friends with someone means encouraging them but somewhere inside of ourselves lies the deep seeded fear that our friends just might be better than us. Sometimes they might even surpass us in accomplishments that one day we hoped to achieve. Another part of fear lies in competition; fear makes people afraid to lose especially to a friend. Win or lose people become competitive because everyone wants to do their absolute best, yet when someone loses against a friend it can be devastating on the person and the relationship. Take for instance, two of my friends Roger and Stephan who competed against each other in high school for a full ride scholarship. The winner had to write about four to six essays on different topics in order to win. Now Roger believed deeply that his writing was flawless and that there was no way he wouldn’t win, although when the winner was announced it was Stephan. Roger was so angry that he never spoke to Stephan again and still today the two haven’t spoken. Losing against a friend not only destroyed their relationship, but it also made Roger doubt his own writing skills. After fear then comes experiencing failure first hand. Some people can brush failure off easily, yet it can take a toll on others. A former friend of mine named Nora us to compete in Future Business Leaders of America with me, but her category was marketing. She was very smart and loved to work with numbers so she put her all into the competition and like my first time, she lost also. Unlike me, when she had the opportunity to compete again she didn’t want to. Since she didn’t win the first time she felt like trying again would be pointless because she was supposed to be great with numbers yet she lost. This one particular failure changed her, made her feel like she wasn’t smart enough in the one thing she loved. It is painful to feel hurt ourselves, but even worse to watch our friends experience it so we discourage them only to protect them. It only takes one failure to make people doubt themselves and everything they do. For a while after my first lost in public speaking I doubted my own abilities. When people would say that I was good, I would brush it off to them simply being nice or wanting to make me feel better. It took me months to get over the failure because losing does hurt, but it made me change and get better so that next time I competed I would win. While people change for the better sometimes it could be for the worst. My Aunt Ruth finally realized that she hadn’t accomplished any of the dreams that she once had which changed her. It’s like she’s completely given up on life because she no longer has any passion. I could honestly say that the only passion she has now is for making everyone else just as miserable as her. Now change is inevitable; it happens whether we want it to or not, yet the main reason we try to keep our friends from experiencing it is because of what could possibly happen to them. Change sometimes incorporates with losing a friend. Every so often with change comes whether or not we can handle the loss of a friend do to our emotions. A long time ago I lost one of my very first friend Marnie because we disagreed on different things. After years of living in the same neighborhood together, Marnie began to act like she was too good for the same people she had grown up with. She didn’t care about the community or the people in it and she just wanted to be rid of them. This is where we disagreed because even though bad things did happen, there were too many good memories to leave behind. We disagreed on that until it became the argument that ruined a friendship; we haven’t spoken in seven years. Everything that has happened didn’t stem from people wanting to hurt their friends rather than to protect them. We don’t try to hurt our friends on purpose; we try to keep them safe in an unsafe world.
Why do we let our own judgement cloud the reasoning’s of another person? Everyone is entitled to their own dreams just like they are entitled to their own opinions. People tend to discourage the dreams of their friends and peers because they can’t understand the dreams of another beyond their own. When someone first talks about their plans or dreams it can make someone else skeptical while others don’t believe at all. People simply do this out of confusion. When a person first hears an idea they don’t understand they immediately cut off what the other person is saying. They become confused and disbelieving because they didn’t listen enough to really understand what the person’s trying to say. One of my close friend Bo has a dream of being a fashion buyer in the future and for the life of me I can’t understand why she would want to waste her life doing that. She has told me many times that she has a passion for fashion yet I don’t believe she should do that. She’s too smart to waste her life doing that and because I’ve never taken the moment to really listen to her dreams then I can never understand why she wants that. People all have crazy unexplainable reasons for why they want to do certain things however, people cannot understand those reasons because they don’t put themselves in their friend’s shoes. Again with Bo as much as I love her I feel her dreams are a waste of true potential. I can’t understand why she wants certain things because I can’t put myself in her shoes. I can’t function my brain to think how she thinks because we are two different people. As her friend I can only watch as she tries to make her dreams come true, still I tend to discourage her in the hopes that she will do something greater beyond fashion. Whenever people don’t believe in someone’s dream they stop encouraging them altogether instead they start saying that their dreams are only dreams and that they should stay that way as doubt turns to disagreement. Disagreement arises from people thinking they know what’s best for someone rather than trusting that person’s opinion. During the summer my mother and I disagreed on what I should do about my plans for college. She wanted me to focus on only one thing while going to school, while I wanted to focus on several different things. I understand that she is my mother and has made most of my decisions for me during my life, but this one time I wanted to control what I did with my life. I will always respect her opinions, but I wish she would respect mine and let me decide what’s right. As soon as people hear something in their mind they have already formed an opinion as to why someone is possibly wrong. A former law teacher from high school once told me that no one ever listens because they’re too busy forming an opinion. Every piece of advice I’ve gotten from someone who thinks they know what I should do with my life, I honestly believe they haven’t listened to me well enough. They’re not focusing on what I want because they are too busy trying to convince me otherwise. There are so many people in the world judging one another that they end up discouraging someone else’s dreams. My same former high school law teacher automatically assumed that because I was good that law would be the perfect career for me in the future. I agreed with her on that, but that didn’t meant that I only wanted to focus on that for the rest of my life. I have other things that I wanted to study, plenty of other careers that I wanted to dabble in but she had made up her mind that law was perfect. I know that she didn’t mean any harm in what she said it’s just the fact she never took the moment to just let me explain my dreams. It’s that same kind of arrogance that make people discourage the dreams of someone else when they don’t understand. My entire life has been filled with friends, family and so many other people giving me advice. They all heard about what I wanted to do but they never listened. Listening and hearing are two different things that are missing in today’s society. Everyone’s too busy giving their own advice that they don’t realize their crushing another person’s dreams.
Being human makes it easy to find the faults in others. Human nature signifies that we presume to know everything. We break down the dreams of someone else because we think we know what the difference between right and wrong is. People make it their mission to destroy the dreams of another because as humans we believe that if we can control the destiny of another somehow it will make ours better.
*Copyright Nakki White, 11/25/2015