Newswise — GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Unlike most graduating college seniors, Javan Brown gets up at 5:30 every morning. While his classmates sleep in, Brown goes to the Army ROTC center on the University of Florida campus to go through physical training and to train other cadets.
Brown will graduate Friday from the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in family, youth and community sciences. He will be among 658 UF CALS students earning bachelor’s degrees at the April 29 commencement. Another 84 will receive master’s degrees while 59 will get doctorates, according to figures provided by the UF CALS dean’s office. CALS is part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
When he gets his diploma, Brown will also be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He intends to make the military his first career. After that, who knows? He has a passion for helping others.
“People can improve their position,” Brown said. “But if they don’t know how, it’s tough. I want to motivate and empower people. If you get a map and identify where you want to go, you can succeed.”
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Brown spent 13 years on the island before moving to South Florida and graduating from North Miami Beach High School. Now 26, Brown didn’t go to college right after high school. He spent about six months helping take care of his cousin, who had leukemia.
“You could call that a little bit of personal development,” Brown said.
He then signed up for duty in the Florida Army National Guard and spent one year in Iraq.
Brown returned to Florida and went to Santa Fe College in Gainesville, where he studied business administration. He later found other interests, spurred partly by a sociology instructor at SFC. Interactions with classmates led Brown to ask questions and diligently study civics, civil rights and more. He was also elected senate president and inducted into the Student Hall of Fame at SFC.
In 2014, he transferred to UF, and at UF CALS, Brown said he learned many things including these: Ask people questions about what they’re going through and take time to listen to them.
Among his coursework, Brown took a class called “Contemporary Family Problems and Interventions” from Heidi Radunovich, an associate professor in family, youth and community sciences.
Radunovich said she was impressed with his hard work and dedication.
“He pushed himself very hard this semester,” Radunovich said. “He demands a lot of himself and had many responsibilities related to military service in the spring semester. I’m very proud of his service and think he will do very well in the military.”
While Brown will make a career out of the military then retire after 25 years or so and find another vocation, other UF CALS graduates will take different paths. Approximately 50 percent will continue their education in graduate or professional school. Others will begin careers as managers, teachers, scientists and marketers in private companies, government and non-governmental agencies.