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Alumna Yolanda Robinson Finds her Voice at MCCC


West Windsor, N.J. - By day, she works for the state as a machine information systems technical assistant. But the rest of the time, alumna Yolanda Robinson '05 (Office Systems Technology), of Trenton, is a motivational speaker, a professional life coach, a youth mentor, a radio talk show host, a television personality and an author.

Robinson says she doesn't believe in shortcuts. "You need to work hard in order to be successful, get what you want, and fulfill your dreams. I encourage people to believe that they are worthy of God's gifts by teaching them how to recognize obstacles, overcome them, and celebrate life whether their achievements are big or small."

Robinson's book "Don't Be Bitter, Be Better" will soon be published through Amazon. It sums up many of the lessons she has learned throughout life, lessons that she imparts in an empowerment segment that airs daily at 5:20 p.m. on the Trenton-based radio station WIMG 1300 AM and on the show she hosts with special guests from the community, "In the Public Interest," which airs on Tuesdays. She also hosts a third show, the community-based awareness program "On the Reel Radio/TV," which airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on the local Comcast channel and is heard Friday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. on WIFI 1460AM. She just added a fourth show, airing twice monthly on WWFM JazzOn2, Mercer's HD station devoted to jazz music and community news.

Alum Yolanda Robinson is pictured prior to taping a segment for her newest show, "The Clean-up Woman," on Mercer's WWFM JazzOn2 (HD) radio station.

Her message appears to resonate with her growing audience, perhaps because Robinson herself, now 44, speaks from personal experience. Divorced and once homeless, she decided it was time to return to school as an adult and fulfill a delayed dream to continue her education and bolster her resume. She enrolled at MCCC in 2001.

Robinson notes that the seeds for attending Mercer were planted when she was a high school junior in the mid-1980s. "I attended the college's commencement ceremony. It was so inspiring. It made me want to go to Mercer," she maintains.

Before choosing Mercer, she did her homework. "I knew about Mercer's reputation and the worth of a community college degree. Locally, it's the best place to go. I love Mercer."

Taking classes at both the Trenton and West Windsor campuses, Robinson says she chose to study Office System Technology because she knew it was a degree that would pay the bills. "I had really good professors and I learned a lot."

She also found a helping attitude among professors and staff that enabled her to thrive. "The professors want to know what you need help with. They are there to help. They don't want to see you fail," she says.

As Robinson began to earn good grades, her confidence grew. A public speaking course proved particularly pivotal. She recalls her case of nerves the first time she had to speak in front of the class. She didn't think she could do it, but she turned out to be a natural.

"Mercer was so enlightening for me. It provided me with opportunities to do things I never thought I would be able to do," she says. She clearly believes it will do the same for her daughters, who both attend MCCC.

Robinson continued for her bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management through the Fairleigh Dickinson University program offered on the MCCC campus and online. She graduated in 2008.

Now, as Robinson works full time and juggles speaking engagements and other activities through her mentoring business "Living a Powerful Life Inc., and In Her-Shoes," she says she takes great satisfaction from offering advice and talking to people about improving their lives. "I base some of my advice on Christian teachings and some on good old common sense. I call it the Sesame Street method. I am teaching, but people don't realize they just learned something they can use."

On her radio programs, Robinson interviews regular people dealing with everyday issues - single parents, community leaders, and those who have faced adversity. She helps them to be more comfortable as they speak to her about their lives. "People are happy at the end of the interview. I make it easy. Even sad things, we turn them around. We celebrate what's good. That doesn't take away from the difficult issues, it just helps people to get through them."

Robinson's newest on-air venture, "The Clean-up Woman," airs every other Saturday at 11 a.m. on WWFM's JazzOn2 (HD). She explains that the show literally focuses on cleaning house and also takes on broader topics such as health, credit and life in general. "There are so many topics to cover," she says enthusiastically.

As Robinson notes in her book, "If you yearn for an empowered life grounded in passion and purpose, it's entirely up to you to make the effort. It's all about treating time as a precious commodity, seeing the big picture, and defining a realistic plan."

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