The World Opened Up | Broward College Office of Advancement and Broward College Foundation

The World Opened Up

Brent Lewis


Although Brent Lewis grew up in Lauderhill, he and his family moved to Tallahassee for seven months, a relatively short timeframe that would dramatically change their lives.

Brent, then 17, was doing homework in his room, when his brother, Ryan, 18, popped in and silently stood in his doorway. He left after a few moments without saying a word. It was the last time Brent would see his brother alive. Ryan died that evening in a tragic motorcycle accident.

Overnight, Brent’s family was thrown into chaos. His mother and sister sobbed daily, and Brent retreated into isolation. He stopped doing homework, skipped school and watched his grades plummet. He nearly failed senior year.

Shortly after the family lost Ryan, they moved back to Broward County in order to rely on the support of family. Although Brent began to heal emotionally, it took more than two years before he felt ready for college. He hoped his “dismal high school performance would be forgiven.”

“I chose Broward College because I knew I would be given a chance at higher education,” he said. “Broward College took me in. I knew my experience there would serve as the foundation on which I could build a better future.”

The world opened up to Brent at Broward College. While he grew intellectually in pursuit of an Associate of Arts Degree with a Computer Science concentration, he also learned how to be a leader by serving as a Phi Theta Kappa Vice President of Leadership, tutoring students in programming languages, and establishing strong connections with supportive professors and staff.

“All of these things allowed for tremendous personal growth,” he said.

He also was assisted financially by receiving Broward College scholarships, including the Willis Holcombe Scholarship, F. Louis and May Jean Wolff Foundation Scholarship, and the Otto M. Burkhardt Scholarship.

“These scholarships allowed me to focus on completing my degree without worrying about working part time,” he said. “If I had to work part time, I would not have been able to graduate with one hundred credits in two years.”

Brent received his Broward College degree in May of 2013 and went on to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Florida.

“The best gift given to me by Broward College was my associate degree. It enabled me to think broadly about my future. I considered universities around Florida and around the country,” he said. “Ultimately, I chose the University of Florida where I had the best three years of my life. I did an internship with IBM in Washington, D.C., lived in Shanghai, China, for three months, founded the Association of Computer Engineers, and became its first president. None of this would have been possible without Broward College.”

After graduating from the University of Florida in May 2016, Brent landed his dream position at Microsoft, developing modern applications for the company’s enterprise customers.

“Broward College has empowered me to dream big,” he said. “I am free to pursue my career aspirations without any hindrances, and I’m better prepared to face the various challenges of work and life. My ultimate goal is to learn corporate strategy at Harvard Business School. Because of Broward College, all of this is possible.”


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