April 29, 2024
MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Donzelli, APR, 954-201-7010 | jdonzelli@broward.edu

Fioldalisa Cortes, 51, worked full-time while attending Broward College all while taking care of her ailing mother and still making the dean’s list every semester. Cortes just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in secondary math education.

She currently teaches a STEAM research class at Millenium 6-12 Colligate Academy in Tamarac where she brought in her own printers because the students were interested in 3D printing.

Cortes plans on teaching middle or high school math for the next school year. She already has plans to take professional development classes during the summer and start her master’s degree online in June through Grand Canyon University.

“Ms. Cortes has been recommended for this award due to her perseverance in the face of personal struggles and life challenges, as well as her passion for education,” said Professor Dr. Gastride Harrigan, who teaches in the Teacher Education Program. “She has shown remarkable dedication to learning, teaching, and collaborating with her peers. Her colleagues hold her in high regard due to her excellent leadership skills and decision-making abilities.”

During her time at Broward College, the professors she encountered made her experience unforgettable.

“They not only taught their courses, but they took the time to get to know us, counsel us, and guide us when we seemed lost. Any personal difficulty I encountered, there was always a professor to listen and tell me what help was available at the college for us,” said Cortes.

Cortes, who overcame cancer in 2009, lives with many medical complications since then. In 2018, she started her academic journey so she could be productive again.

She’s hopeful her story of perseverance can help others.

“I think that a 51-year-old cancer survivor can inspire anyone not to give up. My age has made me appreciate the little things a lot more,” she said. “Anyone can persevere.”

While a student at Broward College, some of the College’s resources she used to help with her success included the financial aid office to help her find scholarships, the librarians to help with formatting papers and searching online databases, and the Accessibility Resources Office when her medical complications threatened to interfere with her studies.

Cortes also made the President’s List, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and a recipient of the Heidi Dennis Wonder Woman Scholarship.

Student Success Story - Fioldalisa Cortes


Serving approximately 56,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees, and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the College is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. For more information, visit www.broward.edu.

Spring 2024 Graduate Commencement