Majani Lullein (Vice President)

ESL & Legal Studies 2005 & 2007
at Anchorage Productions Media

A domino effect often occurs when you do something nice for an individual. Your act of kindness inspires that person to help someone else, so on and so forth. Often referred to as “paying it forward,” this concept is not foreign to Majani Lullein. Her experience at Hodges as an English as a Second Language (ESL) and degree-seeking student is what motivates her to help others realize the opportunities that exist with an education.

“For me, education is an asset that no one can take away; it is yours until death,” she said.

Immigrating to the U.S. from Venezuela in 2000, Lullein arrived in Southwest Florida with years of experience working in radio and television. Earning dual degrees in journalism and business administration and marketing, she gained experience as a radio talent and television news anchor.

After marrying her husband Ricardo, the two founded Anchorage Productions Media, a company focused on advertising and producing radio and television commercials. However, her desire to learn English and seek better opportunities was met with encouragement from her husband. Researching ESL programs in Florida, her husband found the Hodges website, which was International College at the time.

“Its mission, vision and values were what we liked the most about Hodges because it is made for people like me – a working adult with business and family responsibilities,” she said.

Majani-300gradEnrolling in the ESL program was scary at first; however, she needed to learn English in order to attain her personal and professional goals. Learning to read, write, use grammar and speak in English, she developed confidence in her abilities, which she knew was necessary to become a degree-seeking student.

“The ESL program helped me to transition to the English-speaking world confidently and comfortably,” she said. “Without it, I would not have been able to complete my education in this country.”

With her husband traveling back and forth from the U.S. to Venezuela to handle the business, she initially thought her experience in the U.S. would be to learn English and return to Venezuela. However, as hostility in her country grew, the two decided to stay in the U.S., establishing a branch of their Venezuela business, Anchorage Productions Media, in Fort Myers. With the responsibility of running a business, she didn’t let it stop her from continuing her education.

After completing the ESL program, she enrolled in Hodges’ Associate of Science in paralegal studies program, saying, “As a first-generation college student, I have always been interested in the law and how the rulings of the courts impact serious issues in the world. I also felt that it would be a good degree for an independent business professional such as myself.”

Transitioning from ESL to a degree-seeking program proved difficult. Struggling with the curriculum, she often turned to Hodges’ faculty and staff for support and encouragement, specifically Dr. William Cooney, Dr. Elsa Rogers, Dr. Jan Brock and Professor Leisha Cali.

“I am grateful to all of them, as well as the administration, staff and faculty, who always made me feel comfortable and at home. They understood it was not easy to make radical lifestyle changes. They respected and supported my commitment to learning a new language while pursuing my academic goals,” she explained.

Graduating cum laude in 2005, she immediately enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in legal studies program and went on to graduate cum laude in 2007.

Majani-300kidsAs a result of her work within the community as vice president of Anchorage Productions Media, as well as her commitment to learn and succeed at Hodges, she represents the university within the Hispanic community. For 10 years, Lullein continues to serve as the spokesperson, sharing her story of success through TV, magazines, newspapers and radio, saying, “I meet people who share their own Hodges experience with me. Many of them are immigrants, people with big hopes and dreams, and they tell me that my story of overcoming language and cultural barriers inspired them to learn more, work harder and get their education.”

Apart from her work in TV and radio advertising, she is a contributing writer for various Hispanic magazines and newspapers in Southwest Florida. Writing on behalf of the university, her goal is to encourage her readers “to learn and improve themselves through higher education.”

Lullein takes this message to heart as she firmly believes in the benefits of learning at any age. After learning about Hodges’ new Intensive English Program (IEP) Bridge, she enrolled in 2016 to “brush up on my writing skills for my company.” Learning from former professor and friend Leisha Cali, as well as Professor Francisco Perez-Mas, she admits the class helped to refresh her knowledge, as well as provide new information using new technology.

Overcoming various obstacles during her time at Hodges, Lullein is proud of her accomplishments and determination. As an immigrant, the language barrier and cultural differences proved challenging at times. However, with the support of Hodges, her husband and her two children, Kamila and Adrian, she persevered, and in 2013, Hodges presented her with the Founders Award, which recognizes a graduate who has provided outstanding and distinguished service to the community. In addition, she served as part of Hodges’ “Follow the Leaders” campaign, which was featured in TV ads, posters and other marketing materials.

“I have overcome many difficulties and realized many dreams. I am so proud of myself for what I have done so far. Part of who I am today is accredited to my educational experience at Hodges. I am blessed with the family and life I have in this great country,” she said. “My advice to whomever identifies with my story is that every step in life needs work, and we have to earn it…No matter the age, social status or economic level, when it comes to education, it is never too late to go back.” 

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