Campus & Community

The Foundation for Palm Beach State College awards $25,000 scholarship to local hero

David Rutherford, vice president, Institutional Advancement and CEO of The Foundation for Palm Beach State College, and PBSC President Ava L. Parker, J.D., present Jermya Adams, accompanied by her daughter, with a $25,000 scholarship to PBSC.

Palm Beach State College presented certified nursing assistant Jermya Adams, 23, a full scholarship for $25,000 at the College’s Yvonne S. Boice STEAM Luncheon on April 16 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts Cohen Pavilion. The annual event aims to increase scholarships, business partnerships and internship opportunities to support students pursuing science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics fields.

Adams was selected after she saved the life of a local toddler. On April 10, Adams was suddenly awoken by a neighbor’s desperate cries for help. Her neighbor’s 22-month-old son had wandered outside and fell into a nearby lake. Although the mother was able to pull the boy out, he was not breathing. She quickly performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and thanks to her quick response, the boy is expected to make a full recovery.

The scholarship is a chance to recognize the courage of a young woman who has spent most of her life caring for others. After losing her mother at the age of 9, Adams cared for her siblings and her grandmother who had a severe respiratory illness. That experience led her to dream of furthering her education to become a respiratory therapist or a licensed nurse. But as a single mom with a four-year-old daughter, she did not have the means.

Today, PBSC changed that with an offer of a full scholarship. At PBSC, Adams can earn an Associate in Science degree in Respiratory Care and continue on to receive the College’s Bachelor of Science degree in Cardiopulmonary Sciences. Alternatively, she can prepare to become a registered nurse through PBSC’s Associate in Science degree in Nursing and then enroll in PBSC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this scholarship to such a deserving local hero,” said David Rutherford, vice president of Institutional Advancement and CEO of The Foundation for Palm Beach State College. “She has all the attributes of a potential leader in the health care field, and we look forward to welcoming her to our Panther family.”

“I am completely shocked, but I am so grateful to the Foundation and everyone at the College,” Adams said. “I can’t wait to start at PBSC and realize my dream of becoming a respiratory therapist.”

The keynote speaker at the STEAM event was global innovation and technology expert Gary Vaynerchuk, or “GaryVee,” as he is known to his 44 million social media followers.

The STEAM luncheon, which was moderated by Founder and CEO of The Cut Buddy Josh Esnard and presented by Bank of America, honored the philanthropic legacy of the College’s late friend, STEAM chair and respected pillar in the community Yvonne S. Boice, who passed away last year. Other event sponsors were the Palm Beach Post as the media sponsor and the South Florida Tech Hub as the marketing sponsor. For more information, visit

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