Pecker finds self and success at Palm Beach State College

There are moments in life that linger longer than expected, ones that we can recall as clearly as when they happened. When then Palm Beach State student Jackie Pecker agreed to speak at the College’s 2022 Golf Classic, I knew there was a story to tell.

With poise and a confident voice, Pecker did more than speak to guests; she inspired them. In fact, she came away from the event with no less than three new professional contacts, several executives eagerly ushering their business cards into her thankful hands.

Pecker’s story starts with her willingness to share for the benefit of others. Facing challenges with obsessive compulsive disorder, Jackie found solace at Palm Beach State and inspiration through Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges.

Driven by her recovery, she launched Let’s Press Paws, a mental health initiative established through Phi Theta Kappa. A wordplay nod to Palm Beach State’s panther mascot, “Paws” hosts events based on research and nostalgic themes that provide awareness and safe spaces for students, encouraging them to press “pause” and manage life’s demands. It’s a testament to one young woman overcoming and, in true Palm Beach State fashion, giving so that others could know the same.

Graduating summa cum laude from the Dr. Floyd F. Koch Honors College at Palm Beach State in 2023, Pecker often credits the College for the significant changes that have steered her success. One might argue that Palm Beach State may have provided a backdrop for opportunity, but it’s Pecker herself who navigated her own experiences that account for her journey, an impressive one at that. Either way, she exemplifies how the College is fulfilling a mission to transform lives. I’m not sure how to get all of that into the Palm Beach State brochure, but it should be there.

While environment, guidance, and support play their role, that type of development, drive, and leadership comes from within – from oneself. Moreover, Pecker embodies the essence of the anonymous quote that says, “If you want to succeed, focus on changing yourself, not others.” And succeeding she is.

In 2023, she was named to the prestigious All-USA Academic Team, one of only twenty community college students selected nationwide. With a myriad of recognitions, engagements, and initiatives far too extensive to list entirely, Pecker has been building an impressive academic and professional portfolio.

  • All-Florida Academic Team
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award
  • Model United Nations Team Member and Position Paper Award Winner
  • Phi Theta Kappa Club of Excellence Award
  • Kimmel Leadership Academy Scholar
  • “Get Creative with Your Inner Child,” Let’s Press Paws Initiative
  • “Know Before You Vote,” 2022 Senatorial Debate, Student Watch Party Host
  • Florida College Learning Center Association Panelist
  • PBSC Boca Raton Legacy Award

Although she has graduated from the College, Pecker remains connected, currently working with the Foundation for Palm Beach State as a graphic design and social media consultant. After years of serving as a tutor and advisor with the College’s Student Learning Center, she still has a home at Palm Beach State.

Today, Pecker is pursuing digital communication and media at Florida International University. And the opportunities just keep coming. Next month, she is heading to Seville, Spain, as part of a study abroad program centered on content creation for an NGO called Proemaid, or Professional Emergency Aid, helping to save refugees as they escape war zones and cross international waters to safety.

Raising awareness about Proemaid through social media and advertising strategies to garner much needed resources, Pecker seems the perfect ambassador for such an organization. Just as Palm Beach State helped with her own life, she’s on her way, in true Jackie Pecker fashion, to helping others.

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