Michael Porter

Commencement: Spring 2015, Ceremony 1

Degree: Ed.D. in Higher Education

Graduate of: College of Education

Michael Porter has overcome countless challenges throughout his life, but this spring he clears one last hurdle – earning a doctorate in higher education.

At a young age, Michael suffered the death of his father, and later, the deaths of his mother and grandmother. His sister succumbed to renal failure and a younger brother also had to undergo dialysis.

Challenges persisted for Michael. He planned to start college at age 19, but had the rug swept from under him when a company reneged on a full scholarship. Undeterred, Michael secured a partial scholarship, worked several jobs, and overcame a reading problem. He graduated magna cum laude and valedictorian of his class from Trinidad’s Caribbean Nazarene College the day after his mother passed away.

Michael credits his faith and his mother’s support and encouragement as motivators that allowed him to finish his education.

At FIU, Michael focused his doctoral research on online education, accreditation standards, and student success. His study found that standards focusing on curriculum and instruction played a greater role in student success than did student support services, particularly for 18- to 24-year-old Hispanic male students. He counts professors Benjamin Baez, Erskine S. Dottin and Tonette S. Rocco as mentors.

After graduation, Michael would like to work for an organization where he can focus on retention, student success, and creating access opportunities for underrepresented populations including low-income and minority students.