As the bridge program coordinator for Midlands Technical College, Luongo is helping change students’ futures.
EVERY DAY, PERMELIA LUONGO has the opportunity to encourage prospective students of all ages to attend Midlands Technical College in Columbia. Whether on the phone or in person, she’ll say, “Come on, you can do this! What’s stopping you?”
After 30 years of higher education service, Luongo began to reflect and ask herself the very same question.
“I had an undergraduate degree, and I just said, ‘I’m never going back to school,’” says Luongo. During a leadership program at the University of South Carolina, a mentor and former Midlands Technical College president encouraged her to pursue graduate studies to be more involved in policy affecting the academic outcome of students.
“I did some research and discovered Clemson had online graduate-level programs,” she says. “It was as if it were meant to be.”
Luongo began work on her master’s in human resources development, focusing on organizational change. Originally, she wasn’t keen to pursue online learning because she liked being in the classroom, but she said the experience was better than anything she imagined.
“My Clemson degree complements my work in higher education and provides me with additional skills and resources to contribute valuable information and insight into organizational change,” Luongo says. “I believe this is mission-critical as community colleges shape partnerships with secondary institutions. Through these partnerships we share professional expertise, resources and facilities and in turn promote student success.”
Luongo has reaffirmed her dedication to changing students’ lives through education, working to further develop new means to meet students’ expanding list of needs and enhance enrollment practices to make four-year universities more accessible.
“My guiding principle and ultimate desire is for all students to be successful,” she says. “Learning makes you feel alive. I want to give that experience to as many people as possible. As a result, I try to be an encourager, offering as much advice, support and guidance as I can to the students I come in contact with.”