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Alumni Spotlights

At UWF Emerald Coast, we pride ourselves on providing opportunities for our students to finish their degrees. Below are several successful alumni that have completed their degrees at UWF Emerald Coast and moved on to promising careers.

Andrea Archer

Andrea Archer, ‘12

Financial Manager, B.S.B.A
Financial Manager | United States Air Force

In the search for one of the highest accredited business programs in the country, Andrea Archer found UWF. After serving four years active duty in the US Air Force, and balancing being a mother of three with one on the way, Archer knew she needed a program that was not only outstanding, but one that tapered to her and her family’s need.

After earning an associate’s degree from a community college, Archer started towards a bachelor’s degree. While at UWF, Archer served as a senator of the UWF Emerald Coast Student Government Association, where she had many leadership and networking opportunities.

As a first-generation college student, Archer felt a great sense of accomplishment when she obtained her bachelor’s degree. Currently, Archer is a financial manager for the US Air Force and is pursuing her master’s degree in acquisitions management at UWF. Archer credits the skills she learned while attending UWF for where she is today.

JP Roberts

JP Roberts, ‘08

Hospitality, Recreation & Resort Management, B.S.
Assistant General Manager | Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village

Known for some of the world’s best beaches and thriving hospitality industry, Northwest  Florida continuously draws many to the area, including UWF alumni JP Roberts.

Roberts began his education at a community college in Missouri, but made the decision to move to Florida to pursue his education and career in the hospitality industry. Roberts chose UWF due to the flexibility in the course schedule, allowing him to work and attend school full-time.

According to Roberts, one great aspect about UWF Emerald Coast is the relationships the University faculty and staff have with the community and the opportunities available to students as a result of those partnerships.

“My professors taught relevant examples from real-world experience,“ said Roberts. “Not everything can be taught out of a textbook.”

Currently, Roberts serves as the assistant general manager at the Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village, and credits his successes to his bachelor’s degree in Hospitality, Recreation and Resort Management.

Elizabeth Burns

Elizabeth Burns, ‘13

Accounting, B.S.B.A.
Staff Accountant | Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC

A 2013 graduate, Elizabeth Burns took advantage of all that she could while attending UWF. Graduating Magna Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in accounting and voted by her professors as the 2012-2013 Outstanding Accounting Student of the Year, you wouldn’t guess that she came to UWF after dropping out of high school.

After earning her GED and completing an associate’s degree at a community college, Burns came to UWF Emerald Coast to finish her bachelor’s degree. Burns chose UWF for its flexible course schedule, which allowed her to finish her degree at UWF Emerald Coast location while working.

Following completing her senior internship with Carr, Riggs and Ingram, LLC, Burns was offered a full-time position with the company. She is also currently pursuing a master’s degree in accountancy from UWF. Burns attributes her success to the support and relationships she established with her professors during her time at UWF.

Elisa Jerard

Elisa Jerard, ‘08

Criminal Justice, B.A.
Deputy Sheriff | Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office

Seeking to finish her degree while staying local, Elisa Jerard was excited to learn she could do both at UWF Emerald Coast. Having attended law enforcement school and graduating with an associate’s degree, Jerard strived to earn a bachelor’s degree before attaining a full-time working position. With the seamless transition of her credits transferring from her associate’s degree, UWF was able to help her make her dream a reality.

During her time at UWF, Jerard completed her senior internship with the Okaloosa County Sherriff’s office and upon her graduation, she was offered a full-time position. Jerard was the first woman to join the Okaloosa County SWAT Team.

Jerard graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice within one year; customarily a two-year program after receiving an associate’s degree. Her driven attitude and dedication to her education, in addition to her professors who offered real-world experience, helped push her beyond her dreams.

Yari Mesa

Yari Mesa, ‘12

Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Children and Society, B.A.
Child Protective Investigator | Florida Department of Children & Families

Yari Mesa is no stranger to the challenges of being a mom and military spouse traveling around the world. By the time she enrolled at UWF, she had attended five different colleges in pursuit of her degree.

Upon her move to Northwest Florida, Mesa was thrilled to learn that UWF Emerald Coast offered a degree program with the flexibility she needed to be a mom and a student. Additionally, UWF was willing to work with her and accepted nearly all her previous credits.

Yari found support from UWF Emerald Coast professor, Dr. Kathrine Johnson, who helped her understand the Children and Society program and what she could focus on in this career field. In her last semester, she completed an internship with the organization and was offered a full-time position after graduation. The personalized attention and small class size significantly impacted Mesa’s experience at UWF.