Alumni Success Stories

From left, Patricia DeRamus, Jared Esselman and Patric and Rosalie Howley
From left, Patricia DeRamus, Jared Esselman and Patric and Rosalie Howley

Palm Beach State College salutes these alumni and takes pride in their success stories.  If you are a graduate, we would love to share your accomplishments.  Please contact us at

Patricia C. DeRamus

A.S., Palm Beach Community College, 1994

Twenty-five years ago, Patricia DeRamus was working as an office manager for an attorney who saw her potential and urged her to head back to school – at PBCC.  She enrolled in the Legal Assistant program, earned her associate degree, then continued on to earn specialized certifications at other institutions.

“My education has opened so many doors for me. I remember writing a brief for one of my first classes with Dr. Barbara Scheffer.  I got an A, and I knew this was the field I was meant for,” DeRamus recalls.

The Wellington resident currently is the victim witness coordinator for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Division. She also serves on PBSC’s Business Partnership Council for paralegal studies, is president of the Paralegal Association of Florida and a member of the Florida Bar Association’s Registered Paralegal Committee. Citing her professionalism and outstanding contributions to her field, the Florida Bar’s General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section named DeRamus its 2015 Paralegal of the Year.

Jared Esselman

A.A., Palm Beach Community College, 2007

B.A., College of Charleston

M.P.P., Harvard University

Serving as a loadmaster on Air Force C-17 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan gave Jared Esselman maturity and perspective. These traits helped him soar to success at PBCC, where he enrolled in 2006 after four years of active military duty.

“I took classes randomly when I first started because I didn’t know what to do. But my advisor [Winifred Storms] really took me under her wing. She walked me through what community college could provide for me and what was beyond – including graduate school.”  Political Science Professor Victor Aikhionbare also “lit a fire” in the young veteran. “His passion for politics and getting to the root of political problems…started me on the path to Harvard,” Esselman recalled.

Along the way, Esselman immersed himself in politics and in his studies, earning top grades and even snaring a White House internship.  Now, he puts his political savvy to work as director of state government affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in Washington D.C., promoting policies and legislation to support general aviation issues.

Patric and Rosalie Howley

Patric Howley:

A.A., Palm Beach Junior College, 1966

B.S., University of Florida

M.S., Ph.D., Florida State University

M.B.A., University of Mobile

Rosalie Howley:

A.A., Palm Beach Junior College, 1966

B.A.E., University of Florida

M.A.E., University of Mobile

M.Ed., Alabama State University

With nine college degrees between them, Patric and Rosalie Howley have each achieved rewarding careers of more than 44 years – he as a mental health clinician, director and businessman, she as an elementary school teacher and administrator.

Their passion for education was clear early on, as the 1961 Forest Hill High School graduates enrolled at PBJC while working full time at Pratt Whitney. After graduating from PBJC and UF, the Howleys relocated to Tallahassee, where Rosalie taught school and Patric worked as a counselor and then a director in state agencies.  They later moved to Alabama to advance their careers, raise three children and continue to pursue learning.

Now retired, the couple, who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, reflect on their journey with appreciation. “Our education took longer because we were working during each degree,” Patric Howley says. “But all of our hard work has been worth it. We have had a wonderful life that professionally started at Palm Beach Junior College.”