Alumni Success Stories

From left, Betty Lou McCray-Wells, Kunal Dutt and Margaret Neddo
From left, Betty Lou McCray-Wells, Kunal Dutt and Margaret Neddo

Betty Lou McCray-Wells
A.A., PALM BEACH JUNIOR COLLEGE, 1969
B.A., M.S., FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY
ED.S., NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

Most meaningful learning takes place when teachers and students are motivated, interested and involved, says Betty Lou McCray-Wells, who has inspired Palm Beach County students for more than 43 years. The Bear Lakes Middle School math teacher has earned numerous awards, including the county’s Middle School Math Teacher of the Year title in 1996. More recently, the school named its media center in her honor. “Ms. Wells inspires me and the entire staff and student body each and every day,” says Dr. Kirk Howell, principal.

The West Palm Beach native says it was the pleasure of learning from PBJC math professor Daniel Hendrix that compelled her to pursue a similar career. “Many PBJC professors left an everlasting impression on me,” she added. “They not only were concerned that each student learned, but the school as a whole made you feel welcome.” She strives to impart that same positive energy through her teaching and her volunteer work serving children and senior citizens.

Kunal Dutt
A.S., PALM BEACH COMMUNITY COLLEGE, 2009

Kunal Dutt has had his head in the clouds since age 4. Now, as a SilkAir first officer in his home country of Singapore, he’s living his dream in an Airbus A320 cockpit.

Armed with his Palm Beach State Aeronautical Science degree, Dutt attained a coveted cadet pilot position in 2010 and became first officer 20 months later. As he gears up for Boeing 737-800 conversion training, his goals remain sky-high: By 2016, he wants to be the youngest captain ever to come through SilkAir’s cadet program.

PBSC has been instrumental in his success, says Dutt. “The Aeronautical Science program is very well rounded. Right from the start with SilkAir, I had an edge over my counterparts, putting me in a position to help them grasp some of the more difficult aspects.” He fondly remembers aviation training with Professor Judy Maxwell and honors classes with Professor Diane Baird. “I’m forever grateful to my professors at Palm Beach State College. I’d never have been able to live my dream without them. And I remember that every day that I go to work.”

Margaret Neddo
A.S., PALM BEACH COMMUNITY COLLEGE, 1990
B.S.N., NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
M.S.N., FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY

Margaret Neddo knows how frightening a trip to the ER can be for most people. “We meet people at the most vulnerable time in their entire lives. We need to be there for them and be their advocate,” says Neddo, emergency department director at West Boca Medical Center since 2010.

In her current role, she works to improve care for critically ill patients and to mentor her nursing staff. She previously worked at Delray Medical Center’s ER for 28 years, following earlier stints at JFK and Bethesda Hospitals. Her dedication to excellence and commitment to the nursing profession were recognized when she received Palm Healthcare Foundation’s 2013 Leadership Award.

Neddo was a licensed practical nurse for 11 years before she enrolled in PBCC’s registered nursing program. It was “humbling” to be a student again, she recalls, but higher education instilled in her an increased professionalism. “Each time I went back to school, it brought me to another level. I promote this to other nurses — Don’t stop learning.”