Coral Springs Residents Take The Higher Education Journey Together

Antwan and Daniel McKenzie-Plez. Courtesy Daniel Smyth Photography.

By: Sharon Aron Baron

Coral Springs residents Antwan and Daniel McKenzie-Plez took the higher education journey together and graduated at a national commencement in Cincinnati.

The married couple graduated on October 6, from Union Institute & University, which specializes in higher education degrees for working adults through  hybrid learning, a combination of online and face-to-face learning. Antwan graduated with a master of arts majoring in clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) and alcohol and drug abuse counseling and Daniel with a bachelor of science in business administration. 

“Chasing our career dreams with each other added a layer of support I didn’t expect,” said Daniel. “Our mantra was ‘we can do this.’”

 Both chose Union to pursue career dreams.

“My grandaunt, Earlene Gilmore-Solomon, is an alumna of Union,” said Antwan. “She took over the role of grandmother to me. She taught special education for 40 years and inspired me to give of myself.”

Antwan credits his degree from Union for his career.

“I am pursuing my passion to work with developmentally disabled adults. The drug abuse in this group is overlooked because there has been little to no research in this area. I am working to influence policy to help these individuals. The CMHC major requires an internship and now I am employed full-time in a career where I can help people.” 

Daniel wants to climb the corporate ladder and become a CEO.

“My professors made me believe in myself. They were the first to point out how much I bring to the table,” said Daniel. “Because of them, I am in a new job and better pay scale.” 

Union specializes in higher education degrees for working adults through  hybrid learning, a combination of online learning and face-to-face learning.

Both Antwan and Daniel studied online, and at the Florida Academic Center located in Hollywood.

In Antwan’s master program, he was also required to be in Cincinnati for two residencies where all the students in the clinical mental health counseling degree program come together for additional learning and seminars. 

Said Antwan, “My employer is impressed with the skills I offer.” 

Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Coral Springs Talk. CST was created in 2012 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Coral Springs, Parkland and the rest of South Florida.