Ds Scholarship

Polk State student from Haiti graduating with Criminal Justice degree is inspired to help other immigrants

Posted on By Polk Newsroom

When Rooloph Rene immigrated from Haiti in 2018, he had four years of law school in his home country under his belt, but thought he might have to change career paths in the United States.

After seeing a billboard for Polk State College, which prompted him to meet with an advisor about enrollment, he realized that the knowledge he had gained in Haiti provided him with a solid foundation for success in both the Polk State Associate’s Science program in criminal justice and a potential career in helping others with the immigration process.

Renee will graduate on December 9, 2021, with class 125 at Polk State University.

“It is an honor to pursue my academic path at Polk University,” said Rainey. “Polk State is turning dreams into reality for many Haitians who live here in Polk County, and I want to thank all of the advisors and professors for their help and support. I don’t think I could have done without them.”

Renee moved to Polk three years ago to be with his wife, and they now have an 18-month-old daughter. He knew from day one that he wanted to continue his education and provide a better quality of life for his family.

“Pursue my academic path at the University of Polk is an honor. Polk State turns dreams into reality for the many Haitians who live here in Polk County.”

“In a new country, everything is different, and I had to do something to get back on track to continue my studies, but I didn’t know how at first,” he explained. “I am grateful to have seen a bulletin board for Polk State. When I went to college to speak to an advisor, he gave me a lot of great advice, from how to use my studies in Haiti and how I can translate my degree transcripts, to how to apply for financial aid” .

He was awarded a Pell Scholarship to help cover the cost of tuition like about 44 percent of Polk State students.

Rainey also took advantage of the opportunity to complete his studies online in a criminal justice program as he raises his young family and works up to 50 hours a week as a quality control technician at a medical technology company in Lakeland.

“Moving to online classes was a big decision, but it really made it easier for me and gave me more time to study,” he said. “The professors are helpful and organized, which made it easier for me to complete my studies as well.”

Renee plans to continue his education to obtain a baccalaureate degree and perhaps one day a doctor of law. He is considering different careers in the criminal justice field and feels called to help others.

Pictured here is Roloff Renee at his graduation in Haiti. He will graduate from Polk State College on December 9, 2021, during Polk State’s 125th Graduation Ceremony.

“I want to help other Haitians navigate the immigration process,” he said.

It also encourages people to pursue higher education.

“Even if you’re going graduating right now, you can move on,” said Rainey. “Education is really important, and I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it can be for people to live without education.”

“I would recommend Polk State to anyone,” he added. Consultants and professors are here to help. I am so grateful and thankful to Polk State for everything.”

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