Dreams Realized

She's 19. She's got a college degree. And she's off to work her dream job.

A 19-year-old Palatka native is back in her hometown this summer after earning her bachelor’s degree in just two years. 

Brittany York got an early start on her college career by earning an associate degree from St. Johns River State College at 17, prior to her 2014 Palatka High School graduation.

As one of Putnam County’s top 50 seniors, York departed from her hometown shortly after graduation to pursue a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. 

“It was a little more difficult than if I had done it in four years,” York said. “My class schedule was more extreme than others because I went straight into my major.”

While her course load was tough, York said, she made time to volunteer with an extension of her high school Key Club, Florida State’s Circle K International club. 

“One of the best times I had was going to (University of Central Florida) and meeting with all kinds of different clubs,” York said. “We went and volunteered at a shelter for women, … and they had a little discount clothing store.”

From a young age, York said she knew she wanted to be a buyer for a corporate retailer — specifically for SteinMart, a discount clothing, accessories and housewares chain based in Jacksonville, where a friend of York’s family was a buyer. 

In pursuit of her dreams, York studied retail merchandising and product development at Florida State. 

In just two years, York graduated with her bachelor’s degree and recently completed an internship at the Home Shopping Network in St. Petersburg. 

But her dream job awaits. 

This summer, York will finally step foot in SteinMart’s corporate office.  She will begin a 12-week internship, for which she was recruited while still attending Florida State. 

While she acknowledges the time and experience required for a buyer’s position, York simply hopes for a shot in the business. 

“I hope to gain a job offer because it’s what I want to do,” she said. “I chose SteinMart because I want to stay close to home.”

While the nearest corporate office is in Jacksonville, York said, she plans to be active in Palatka as she pursues her professional goals. 

“Palatka’s still a piece of me,” she said.