Meet Isa Adney—Rising Star
Dr. Coral Noonan-Terry and Isa Adney pose during Isa’s book signing after her keynote presentation at the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Convention.
NISOD first became acquainted with Isa Adney when her upcoming book about student success was forwarded to us. After reading the book—written by a community college graduate for community college students—NISOD was thrilled to write a testimonial, which is included in the book. Most recently, Isa Adney was the keynote speaker at the Faculty Advisors Luncheon at the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Convention in Nashville (TN). Read more about this rising star:
Isa Adney (Ee-suh Add-nee) is a national spokesperson for community college success, helping students avoid student loan debt and break cycles of poverty by choosing community college, and ensuring that choice is a wise investment in their future by connecting with people who can catapult them to wealth, success, and a job that they actually enjoy.
Isa has been featured in publications such as The White House blog, USA Today, U.S. News, The Lumina Foundation, FOX News Latino, and has been featured on television shows such as the ABC-affiliate CityLine, Urban Update, FOX 35 Good Day, and Orlando Matters. She also shares her success story and core strategies as a speaker to colleges and universities around the country, and shares free content to help students succeed and inspirational interviews with professionals (such as a New York Times journalist and an NBA Executive) on her blog www.communitycollegesuccess.com.
Isa Adney grew up in a lower-middle class family and was the first in her family to graduate from college. Her grandparents moved from Puerto Rico to New York City because there weren’t any jobs in Puerto Rico. They didn’t speak a word of English when they came to the United States; her grandfather worked as a janitor for most of his life and her grandmother as a maid. Her father went to community college but never made it to a university. It took time for Adney to realize that students from wealthier families had a head start in life; but she learned that even though the playing field wasn’t fair, it didn’t mean she couldn’t win.
Adney shares her personal story in her book Community College Success so historically underrepresented groups in higher education can learn how to build a community to help them achieve an education and a life far beyond their dreams and family histories.
Adney graduated from Seminole Community College (now called Seminole State College of Florida), in May 2007, where she was Chapter President of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and received a $110,000 Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. She transferred to Stetson University (FL) and received her B.A. in Communications in May 2009. She will graduate with an M.Ed. in Training and Development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in June 2012, and currently works as a Student Life Coordinator at Seminole State College. She has recently been hired as a full-time speaker and consultant with NISOD-Platinum partner, Pearson.
When asked about how important community college faculty and staff are to helping students succeed, Isa replied:
This book truly would not exist without the faculty and staff I met at my community college and university. It was a professor who wrote the dreaded "see me" on a pop quiz that redirected my entire life. I sat down with him, prepared for the worst, when he looked me in the eye and told me I should be in our College's honors program. He proceeded to tell me I could do anything with my life and that community college was a launching point for anywhere I wanted to go in my future. It was the first time someone set a bar higher than I had set for myself. He expected me to do big things with my life, and I wanted to rise to his expectation. That is what professors do for students every day. They expect them to be more and they encourage them that they have what it takes to rise above their current circumstances. The classroom is still an incredible place where connections are made, minds are expanded, and lives are transformed. The narrative of the student-teacher relationship is still one of the most powerful things we have, and I am so thankful for all the educators in my life. You may not always know it, but more than likely each day you truly transform the trajectory of a person's life. I owe so much to the professors and teachers in my life, and this book is just one small way I hope to pay it forward.
Dr. Coral Noonan-Terry, Interim Director of NISOD, wrote the following endorsement for Isa’s book entitled Community College Success:
Community College Success is a must-read book for high school students, returning students, and/or first-generation students searching for tips to navigate their educational journey successfully at a community college. By chronicling strategies and lessons learned through her own story, Isa Adney provides resources and practical advice for "rising above average." This groundbreaking book is written by a community college graduate specifically for community college students—mentoring them on how to succeed and complete their educational goals.
Faculty members are using Community College Success as a supplement to their college success courses. We hope you have enjoyed meeting this rising star!