Not many college students need more than one hand to count the number of organizations they are involved in on campus on top of their academic obligations. One such Saint Leo University student who is part of this select group is Cornelius “CJ” Clyde, Jr., a senior on the verge of completing his computer science degree.
Clyde, 21, grew up in Nassau in The Bahamas. His dad is a school principal and his mom works as a credit risk manager. He has three sisters and a brother. A 2018 graduate of St. Augustine’s College, a Catholic high school there, he competed in five sports during his four-year stint there – basketball, volleyball, track, swimming, and soccer. He was also a member of the robotics club.
Selecting Saint Leo for College
He recalls how he initially learned about Saint Leo University.
“Someone from Saint Leo came and gave a presentation to us,” he says. “The pictures of the campus they showed were really nice, and everything they mentioned in terms of academics and clubs on campus sounded great.”
He was also looking for a smaller school with a tight-knit community, two characteristics he knew Saint Leo had.
Landing on the Computer Science Degree Program
In the fall of 2018, he moved to University Campus to embark on the BS in computer science degree program. And what made him decide on this major?
“I’ve always liked playing video games but quickly realized I wasn’t creative enough to design games. So, I got more into web design, coding, and creating apps.”
He has enjoyed learning C++, Python, and other related programming languages in his coding classes. Several faculty members in the computer science degree program have been a big help to his academic success, he shares.
“Dr. [Marwan] Omar has been great and very supportive,” he explains. “Dr. Monica Kiss has also been great with my math classes. With Dr. Passard Dean being Caribbean, he has been very helpful in assisting me with navigating college life.”
He particularly enjoyed a class taught by Dr. Omar.
“He had us do simulations to help us learn how to navigate an office environment. We learned about how we would help employees change their password, troubleshoot a computer, get rid of a virus, and lots of other tasks. These were very practical scenarios that we would face in our careers.”
Lending a Helping Hand Across University Campus
Outside of the classroom, Clyde has been extremely active across University Campus. He has lived on campus for all four years and has served as a resident assistant (RA) for two-and-a-half years.
“It’s been a great experience,” he confides. “You get to meet and connect with people from all over the world. This allows you to exchange ideas about different cultures and learn so much about other people and places.”
For the past two years, Clyde has proudly served as president of the RHavishin', RHough, RHugged and RHaw Rho Xi chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity on campus.
“This role has given me the opportunity to see every part of Saint Leo University. It has also given me that drive to be a leader. Seeing how things were before COVID-19 and then dealing with changes during the pandemic have made me become a much more adaptable person.”
In this role, he is also the fraternity’s west area assistant director, helping to oversee nearly 1,000 members across multiple college and university chapters in the region.
In addition to the fraternity, he serves as vice president of activities for the Student Government Union.
“I think it’s the most fun job of the SGU e-board,” he says. “I get to put a smile on students’ faces by planning and putting on Spring Fling, Fall Family Festival, homecoming events, bingo, movies on the lawn, and other activities. Seeing such great turnouts for our events has been very rewarding.”
Plus, he is currently a team manager for the Saint Leo men’s basketball team. Having played basketball since age six, Clyde himself was a top-10 high school recruit in The Bahamas but opted to focus on his academics and other interests.
“As a team manager, my job is to be there for our players on and off the court. I help with washing jerseys, ordering food, and helping the coaches. When the team is winning, it’s nice because you get to celebrate with them. I must say that the coaches have been very supportive of us as team managers.”
He is also a team manager for the GoldRush Dance Team. Plus, he is a member of the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society, National Society of Leadership and success, and the Caribbean Students’ Association. On top of it all, he has interned with WLSL-FM, the Saint Leo radio station on campus.
Embracing Saint Leo’s Core Value of Community
Clyde points to the core value of community as being the one to which he can relate most.
“I’ve met so many people coming to Saint Leo. Ever since I’ve been here, the school has always felt so welcoming and has felt like you are at home when you’re here. Being from a different culture or race doesn’t mean anything because everyone blends in. We are all part of this great community.”
He has some wise words for any prospective students considering Saint Leo’s University Campus.
“Get involved,” he advises. “In high school, I was really involved in sports and the robotics club. Here at Saint Leo, I’ve had so many great opportunities to be involved in the community. You never know who you will become and what u can gain from being involved in different organizations. Getting to meet different people and networking can lead to so many opportunities down the road.”
Working as an orientation leader for three years is a great example of how he has shown off the campus and its warm community to new students.
Career Goals for the Saint Leo University Senior
With graduation in full view, Clyde has already narrowed down his desired career goals to a few specific roles.
“In the computer science field, I would like to work as a chief information security officer,” he says. “I feel like that career path could open a lot of doors for me. If I were to look outside of computer science, I’d love to be an event planner for large-scale events like concerts and sporting events.”
Free Time Fun
In addition to competing in basketball and volleyball through Saint Leo’s intramurals program, Clyde also likes to play piano and bass guitar in his rare free time.
Photo credit: The photographs included in this blog article were provided by Cornelius Clyde, Jr. and are used with permission.