Carlens Jean Wins VCCS Honor


ESCC Star Alum Honored at 2023 Hire Ed Conference

Carlens Jean moved to the U.S. in 2018 after a devastating earthquake in his native Haiti and applied himself to learning English. He graduated from Eastern Shore Community College with a 3.8 GPA. Today, Jean is on the way to becoming a medical doctor and was recognized at the 2023 VCCS Hire Ed Conference in Roanoke, as this year’s Outstanding Student Success Story.

The following was submitted to the VCCS for consideration for the honor.

Carlens is one of the most motivated and dedicated students ESCC has ever witnessed. He was born and raised in Haiti in a close-knit family that cherished education and believed in the power of knowledge to unlock opportunities. Growing up in Haiti, Carlens always had a passion for teaching so he began tutoring local children to help provide them with the tools to build brighter futures. He honed his skills as a tutor and saw the many health challenges his students faced such as limited access to healthcare, lack of proper nutrition, and inadequate living conditions.

He realized his passion for education could be leveraged by him through his deep interest in using medicine to create a powerful force for positive change. His parents, driven by their commitment to his future, decided to apply for a chance to further his education in the United States. Wanting a fresh start after one of Haiti’s devastating earthquakes, Carlens followed his mother to the Eastern Shore when she took a job at Perdue, and began working there part-time, himself. He enrolled in ESCC’s English as a Second Language class in the Fall of 2018, and quicky learned English by studying many hours outside of classes while transitioning to GED classes.

Between October 11 and December 14, 2018, he passed all four GED tests. Since he was not an in-state resident, he waited to begin credit classes at ESCC until the Fall of 2019. He attended for five semesters in a row, including one summer, and graduated with his Associate’s Degree in the Spring of 2021 with a 3.8 GPA. ESCC’s Professor of Biology, Dr. Alex Foxworthy, encouraged Carlens’ passion for science by connecting him with a paid internship at UVA’s Coastal Research Center in Oyster. There, Carlens conducted research in seagrass meadows.

Carlens tells people he is a triple alumni of Eastern Shore Community College. Although he had to change his plans and move to Florida to help his father, he continued with college and has not stopped. He is now on the path to fulfill his dream of being a physician. He transferred to Florida International University (Honors College) where he received his BA in chemistry in the Pre-Med track. He is currently doing research at Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine in the department of immunology and nanomedicine lab and preparing to go to Kansas City University Medical School for the next step of his academic journey. He is well on his way to becoming “Dr. Carlens Jean.”