Alumni Spotlights

image of Darol CarrDarol Carr

Director of the Farr Law Firm and a practicing lawyer for nearly 30 years, Darol Carr is a prominent community leader and United State Air Force veteran with a respect and passion for education.

Carr began his academic journey at then Edison Community College in 1977, taking night classes in the Sunny Dell Plaza complex in Port Charlotte. He transferred to the University of South Florida and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Carr continued his education at Georgetown University, earning his Juris Doctor.

Carr joined the Farr Law Firm in 1983 and concentrates in personal injury, commercial litigation and civil litigation. He has served as president of the Charlotte County Barr Association and was chairman of the 20th Judicial Nominating Committee from 2003 to 2004. Carr has instructed legal writing and research at Georgetown Law Center and served as a staff member for the American Criminal Law Review.

Former Governor Jeb Bush appointed Carr to the Edison State College Board of Trustees in 2000 and again in 2002. He ended his tenure as the Board’s Chairman in 2005.

image of Kathie DiLascioKathie DiLascio

Kathie DiLascio, a proud Edison State College alum, graduated with an Associates in Arts degree with Honors in May 2011. Kathie began the journey to receive her AA Degree after she began working at ESC in 2002. At first very intimidated, she quickly realized there was nothing to be worried about. Each and every professor for every course she has completed (including the dreaded math courses) was extremely supportive and helpful of her objective. She succeeded; in fact, her GPA of all coursework taken at ESC is 4.0, straight A’s! This from a girl who in her younger years was called a ‘daydreamer’ by her teachers!

Since receiving her AA degree, Kathie has decided to continue her education and is currently enrolled in the BAS in Supervision and Management Program.

Kathie has been married to John, a 5th grade teacher at Tanglewood Elementary School in Fort Myers, for 36 years and is the mother of Kristie, 33, and John, 28. She is proud of her children and their accomplishments: Kristie was recently sworn in as a Foreign Service Officer with the US State Department and is currently working at the US Embassy in Guangzhou, China, and John is a Russian linguist working in Washington DC.

However, she is most proud of the fact that her aspirations to receive a college education have been achieved. “I have always felt that an education is priceless. You can lose your house, you can lose all your money, but you can never lose what you have learned. The education I have received at Edison is invaluable to me. I am excited to continue growing in this wonderful learning environment.”

Cathy Groves photoCathy Groves

Cathy Groves Cunningham, class of ’72, served as the Editor-In-Chief of THE LOG, the Edison Junior College’s yearbook, in its 10th year publication. She also majored in Theatre Arts and appeared in numerous theatrical performances during her two years as a student at the then 2-year college. She attended Florida Atlantic University on a full scholarship from Edison and obtained her BFA in Theatre Arts and later her MBA/Doctorate in Human Resource Management.

Forty years later after a career in both Corporate America and owner of her own event company which produces tradeshows and festivals throughout the western region, Cathy resides in the Denver, Colorado area and spends her days in the volunteer world with various non-profit organizations.

Cathy has been married to her husband, Jon, for almost 30 years. They have two sons who both serve in the military (Coast Guard and Navy). Cathy is looking forward to her husband’s retirement in a couple of years and will be returning to Fort Myers to live and become an active Lee County resident during the winter months.

Upon a recent visit to Edison State College, Cathy was amazed at how the past forty years have transformed the institution into a beautiful and expansive campus and is looking forward to becoming an active alumnae member.

photo of Matthew MullerMatthew T. Muller, CPA

Matthew Muller is a Certified Public Accountant and a 1984 graduate of Edison State College.  Originally from Arcadia Florida, Matthew moved to Fort Myers in 1981 to attend Edison.  He received his Associates Degree in Accounting and crossed the sidewalk to USF Fort Myers for his Bachelors Degree in Accounting.

Matthew started his accounting career as a staff accountant for a local sole-practitioner, where he was involved in all aspects of public accounting.  Next, he spent five years as Controller for a retail chain headquartered in Fort Myers.  In 2000, Matthew returned to public accounting and opened his own public accounting practice in 2006 where he provides Business Consulting Services to small businesses in Southwest Florida.

Mathew and his wife Loretta have lived in Whiskey Creek for over 20 years.  Their daughter Leah received her Associates Degree in Nursing from Edison in 2010 and is currently enrolled in Bachelors of Nursing program at Edison.

Matthew currently serves on the Edison State College Business Administration and Accounting Advisory Committee, and the Board of Directors of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Past President) and The Rotary Club of Fort Myers South.

photo of Christine and Eric RogersChristine and Eric Rogers

Eric Rogers and Christie Jandecka met at Edison Community College in the fall semester of 1992. They began dating that same year, were married in 1995, and have been together ever since. While at Edison, Eric and Christie were active members of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship where they met some lifelong friends. After Edison, Eric and Christie transferred to Harding University in Arkansas, where they both earned their bachelor’s degrees, summa cum laude and magna cum laude respectively.

“Edison was a wonderful experience for both of us and a great foundation to further our careers and education.” (Eric).

Eric then began his military career by enlisting in the U.S. Army as a mental health specialist and combat stress control team member in the 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Drum, New York. After two years of active duty, Eric went back to school to pursue his master’s degree in social work in Washington, DC at Howard University. Eric was accepted as a Green to Gold cadet with a full scholarship. While earning his MSW, Eric joined the DC National Guard, and also worked in various community mental health agencies. Upon completion of his MSW, Eric was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the 11th Psychological Operations Battalion near Andrews Air Force Base. He also spent the next eight years pursuing a civilian career in the field of international adoptions. During this time, he served on the board of a humanitarian organization providing basic needs to orphans overseas, and on the board of a faith based international social work organization. Because of his broad experience in adoptions, he served as a Hague Convention peer reviewer for the Council on Accreditation.

As an active member in his local community, Eric participated on a Public Image Task Force of a local township in Pennsylvania, and volunteered to assist Burmese refugees integrating into their new Pittsburgh community. Eric was called to Active Duty in 2005-2006 to serve as company commander in Iraq. In 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan, to embed with a counter IED team. Prior to reentering the nonprofit field, Eric served at the Pentagon as the aide to Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum (the famous flight surgeon who was a prisoner of war in the first Gulf War). In 2010, Eric planned and accompanied Brigadier General Cornum back to Iraq for the first time since her repatriation 20 years ago. Eric is now the Executive Director for Give an HourTM, a national non-profit organization whose 6,000 providers offer free mental health counseling to post 9/11 veterans, troops and their families. In 2011, Civilian Jobs News selected Eric into the “Top 40 Under 40 Military.” In his free time, Eric enjoys running, working out at the gym, and spending time with his wife and son.

Christie began her career at the United Way of Jefferson County. Christie then worked for the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) designing, editing and laying out their scholarly journals. After AAPT, Christie worked for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) designing their magazine and website. MWAA oversees Reagan National and Dulles International airports. Christie then worked together with her husband in the field of international adoptions for six years before moving into non-profit development with Glade Run Lutheran Services. In 2009, Christie accepted a position with the Federal government at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where still works today. In 2010, Christie enrolled part time at John’s Hopkins University. As of this writing, she has completed almost half of the required coursework towards a Masters in Communication. Between work and school, Christie doesn’t have much free time, but she enjoys spending what little time she has with her husband, son, 2 dogs and her friends.

Eric and Christie reside in the Washington, DC area with their son and two poodles.

Rick Stern HeadshotRick Stern

Rick Stern is chief executive officer and co-founder of Nitel, a nationally recognized provider of telecommunications network services. Stern has grown the company from a single office offering telecom consulting to a nationwide provider of data connectivity services. For the past three years Nitel has been named to the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America. Crain’s Chicago Business also ranked Nitel among the fastest growing companies in the Chicago area for the past three years running.

Along with business partner and Nitel chief operating officer Ron Grason, Stern holds executive accountability for corporate structure and strategy – leading its operation’s finance, sales and marketing functions. He is a champion for Nitel’s strong corporate culture, which earned Nitel a spot on NBR’s list of Chicago’s Best and Brightest Places to Work For in 2011.

Rick earned his associate in arts degree from Edison in 1988 and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Florida and served six years in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He began his career in sales and management at Sprint and Worldcom.

He is a 2009 graduate of Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program in Owner/President Management. In 2010 he was named a Midwest finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® Award. Earlier this year, he and Grason were inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame by the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, a global network of young chief executives, as well as the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago. Rick currently serves on the Advisory Board for Channel Partners, a telecommunications industry publication.

Stern also leads NI Investments, a real estate holding company, and Queo Solutions, an IT staffing organization for government entities that will operate under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s HUB Zone Program.

Under Stern’s leadership, Nitel has partnered with Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, a children’s charity in Chicago, to provide support for at-risk children through corporate giving and staff involvement.

I found my time at Edison to be very important as it truly helped me focus on my class work and grade point average. As a student, I felt that the instructors showed a true interest in my education and my individual learning process. My time spent at Edison helped set the foundation I needed to succeed at The University of Florida and eventually HBS (Harvard Business School). —Rick Stern