Jacob Rae is a student in the Network Administration/Security program at WVJC Morgantown. He was always into technology as a kid and liked to take things apart to learn how they worked. As he grew up, he decided to look for potential career opportunities that would allow him to work in the field. He has looked into cybersecurity and programming and feels that the foundation that he’s getting in the NA/S program is a necessary step in his career path.
Jacob is originally from Michigan and moved to Pennsylvania after graduating from high school. He attended a local community college in PA, but it was not the right fit for him. In talking with a friend, they recommended WVU or WVJC. He chose WVJC because of the fast-track program and smaller class sizes. He prefers the fast-track program because most of his classes are preparing him for a career in his field. Jacob appreciates the extra time that his teachers take to answer his questions. He said, “You can tell they (the faculty) care about the students and their classes by the time and detail they put into the lesson plans.”
His favorite part about being a student at WVJC is all the people he gets to meet and the diversity of students in his classes. He attends class with young people like himself. However, he also has classes with those starting new careers later in life, as well as those who have been in the field and want to further their career. His favorite class has been Student Success Strategies, taught by Director of Career Management, Samantha Esposito. Samantha has since moved into a new role at the campus as Campus President. He said, “Sam made sure everyone was involved in the class and participated!”
After graduation, Jacob would like to work in an environment with a large IT infrastructure. He used the example of a local hospital. After getting some experience in the technology field, he will decide if he wants to pursue further education. In five years, Jacob wants to be working in his field.
Externships allow students to experience real-life skills in their field of study, in order to gain valuable experience and knowledge from the experts in the field. At WVJC, all students have the opportunity to participate in an externship where they get to interact in their field of study.
One of WVJC Bridgeport’s incredible externship partners, who we have worked with for years, is United Hospital Center. One of the programs UHC offers an externship program for is Information Technology. With this externship program, IT students work with the men and women in the IT field, experiencing everything from server management to network management.
Brian Williams works closely with the IT externs through the UHC Department of IT. He, along with other members of his team, work with information technology students on projects ranging from routine IT maintenance to new project installation. WVJC students get to work with industry professionals either one on one or in large groups to perform these various tasks and gain valuable experience.
Brian stated that the benefits of externships include the ability to see large infrastructure in action, ongoing project management, and viewing customer support in person. Brian recently moved into his role and is excited to see what the future will hold as WVJC and UHC’s partnership continues to grow.
WVJC Bridgeport encourages students and graduates to learn from many different sources to better facilitate their education and experience in their field of study. If you are interested in gaining hands-on experience in your chosen career field while still in school, don’t hesitate to reach out at wvjc.edu!
Nathaniel Tichinel first heard about our WVJC campus in Bridgeport when his older sister was looking into colleges several years ago. He was only a freshman in high school at that time, but he and his parents knew this would be a great opportunity for him and kept in touch with High School Admissions Representative, Kristin Kirk, for his 4 years of high school. Fast forward to 2019 and Nathaniel is now a senior at Doddridge County High School and ready to make his college decision.
Most of his life has been spent in front of a screen, whether it was a television, a PC monitor, a laptop, or his Nintendo DS. Information Technology has always interested him and he knew that taking courses in this field would give him the opportunity to further understand the computers he appreciates so much. During a college interview with Kristin Kirk, he learned about the Network Administration/Security program and they both decided this was a good fit for him. He would learn the skills and obtain the knowledge to pass certifications, like Certified Cisco Network Security, Certified Cisco Entry Network Technician, Certified Cisco Network Associate, and the A+ Certification. Having the skill set and potential certifications would give him the opportunity to reach his goal: obtain a career in the IT field, which he is most interested in and passionate about.
What Nathaniel likes most about the NA/S program at WVJC is that he will only be attending classes 4 days a week, thus giving him more time to focus on his homework and give him some free time to play video games. He is excited about the externship he will be doing in his last 12 weeks of classes and hopes it will turn into a paying job after he graduates. If not, he is still grateful for the experience he can put on his resume that most recent college graduates don’t possess when going into the workforce. He is also juggling with the idea of continuing his education at one of the institutions we have articulation agreements with, specifically Salem International University because it is close to home.
In five years Nathaniel sees himself as a college graduate from WVJC Bridgeport. He would like to be living on his own and working at a job that is capable of earning him enough money to buy whatever video games he pleases, whenever he pleases. When asked if he would refer WVJC to a friend, Nathaniel replied excitedly, “I would absolutely suggest WVJC to them, knowing they could get their necessary certifications and experience in nearly half the time!”
Ronnie Bland is enrolled in the NAS program at the WVJC Charleston campus. He graduated from Nitro High school and decided that WVJC was the best fit for him! Ronnie did not want to go to a 4-year college as he was looking for something smaller and wanted to get a degree quickly so he could start working in his field.
“I chose to go into the IT field because it is good to know how to fix computers, and I believe it is the future.” He believes he chose the best field for him! His idea of a perfect day would be taking a nap, watching a few episodes of South Park and then going to Sheets for Mac n Cheese Bites.
After he graduates, he would like to find a good job in the IT field, somewhere he can grow in and gain experience, then land his dream career.
Michael Romley serves as the Director of IT and Instructor of IT at West Virginia Junior College Bridgeport. While Michael might be new to teaching, he is incredibly passionate about the Information Technology field.
He started down his professional path at the WVJC Bridgeport campus in 2011 when he graduated from the same program he is now teaching in! After graduation, he started working in the private sector as a Desktop Support Technician at Mylan Pharmaceuticals, a System Administrator for Scott Aluminum, and the Director of IT for Freedom Automotive. After working his way up the corporate ladder, he decided it was time to make a shift and start to use his 10 years of experience in the IT field to help guide newcomers.
Michael says, “When the position opened for the Director of IT at WVJC, it was like my life was pointing me in that direction. I remembered the great atmosphere and the great education that I received there and knew I had to apply.” Michael joined the WVJC Bridgeport staff in December of 2018 and has continued to make the IT program the best that it can be.
When Michael is not focusing on helping his students succeed, he is spending time at home with his family. Every day, he tries to instill the same responsibilities and education that he instills in his students in his son as well.
Zachary Maxon graduated from Morgantown High School and immediately knew he was going to come to West Virginia Junior College. He is the fourth person in his family to graduate from WVJC! Both of his grandparents are graduates of the campus as well as his aunt. He didn’t want to attend WVU. “I didn’t want to deal with all those general education classes, plus the cost.” He knew that by attending WVJC he would only have to take minimal general education credits and mainly focus on the field he was studying, Network Administration/ Security.
Because of the four-day class schedule, Zach is able to work part-time while attending WVJC. Not only is WVJC a family tradition for Zach, but he loves the family atmosphere that WVJC offers. During his time at WVJC, he has formed close friendships with his classmates and his program director, Robbin Addis. One of the things about WVJC family atmosphere is the class sizes, “I don’t think I ever had more than 20 students in any of my classes. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience here so far.”
Zach not only will be graduating with his Specialized Associate Degree in Network Administration/ Security, but he has also earned the following certifications:
CCENT – Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician
CCNA Routing and Switching – Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing and Switching
CompTIA A+ Certification
MTA Windows Server Administration Fundamentals
Zach is expected to graduate in February of 2019, before he turns 21 years old. After graduation, he plans to find employment in his field. With this degree, he can build and break down equipment, set-up online systems and manage security, and ensure proper networking.
Zach’s advice to incoming students:
Come to class.
Pay attention and read your material.
“As long as you work hard, you can do anything!” – Zachary Maxon