Nathaniel Tichinel – Incoming Student Highlight

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!”

Michael Romley – IT Director Highlight

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.

Zach Maxon – Student Highlight

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.
  • Study.
  • Pay attention and read your material.

“As long as you work hard, you can do anything!” – Zachary Maxon

Network Administration/Security – Program Highlight

NAS Students
West Virginia Junior College-Charleston offers the Network Administration/Security program. In this networking program, students are able to obtain an 18-month associate degree in a hands-on learning environment. This program covers a wide variety of skills including, securing network infrastructure, understanding core security concepts, managing secure access, VPN encryption, firewalls, intrusion prevention, web and email security, SIEM Technology, Cloud and Virtual Network Topologies, and Anti-Malware/Cisco Advanced Malware Protection.

This program will prepare students to sit for the Cisco Certified Network Associate in Security (CCNA) test, the Cisco Entry Network Technician (CCENT)test, and the A+ certifications. Having these certifications on top of an Associate degree can make you more marketable when looking for employment at the end of the program.

Jeff Byrd, our NAS work study, says his favorite part of the program is being able to be so hands-on while learning and building his own computer. “You’re not just reading out of a book, you are actually learning how to troubleshoot and deal with other issues.”

Dawn Riley – Student Highlight

Dawn Riley - Student Highlight

Dawn Riley grew up in Lewis County and graduated from Lewis County High School in 2007.  She has always been interested in computers and could always make them work.  One day, her mom brought home a computer from Goodwill and handed it to Dawn and said, “If you can make this work, it’s yours.”  Dawn made it work.  It became the “family” computer.  As Dawn was preparing to graduate high school, she began looking into Computer Science programs in Arizona.  As she was doing her research, she thought to herself, I’m not smart enough for that.

Dawn found herself applying at WVU and getting accepted.  She began there the fall after high school graduation.  She majored in International Studies with an emphasis in Business and minored in Religious Studies and Spanish.  (WOW)  Only one semester from graduation, Dawn found herself facing more emotional turmoil than she could handle.  Having to deal with these personal problems while juggling everything else was profoundly difficult.  Dawn decided to stop attending college; she needed a break.

A few months had passed and Dawn had no idea where her path was leading.  She was planning on traveling.  Where to go, what to do?  She did a lot of driving and seemed to always hear the same radio commercial.  Great Career, Great Life, West Virginia Junior College.  It was stuck in her head.  She will never forget the day that she was sitting and traffic singing the jingle when it came on the radio.  Dawn rolled her eyes.  As she did so, on the left sat West Virginia Junior College.  Dawn realized she needed to check it out.  She went home and put the request in for more information.  She received a phone call from Matt Hahn, an admissions representative.  Dawn was impressed by Matt’s passion for the program.  She came in to speak with Matt and was even more impressed.  Dawn enrolled in the Network Administration Security Program after speaking with Matt.  For once, she didn’t feel like she would be a fish out of water.

Dawn’s NA/S program began on February 14, 2017, run by Mrs. Robin Addis.    Dawn has learned an enormous amount since starting college here at WVJC.  She has learned that public speaking is not one of her strengths, but she is continually working on it and is no longer filled with anxiety when presenting.  She also has earned numerous certifications during her program which include:

CCENT     CCNA     MTA Server      A+

She continues to add to that list on her own.  She has earned the MTA in OS and is working on the Network MTA.

Dawn Riley and Meagan Brown

Not only has she surpassed her own expectations, her instructors let her lead as well.  For example, she had a hand in building one of our classrooms here on campus.  That entailed configuring all of the routers and computers and running the Ethernet cable to provide internet service to each computer, 15 in all.  She has done her externship at WVJC as well, as work study.  If any of the campus employees are having issues, Dawn is responsible for troubleshooting said issues and also for password security.  She works inside the campuses personal database to run reports that are pertinent to the employee’s daily routines.  Some of her day is also spent tutoring fellow classmates.

Dawn’s experience here so far has been an excellent one where she has grown both professionally and personally.  Dawn admits that she is most proud of her personal growth.  She has learned that her voice matters.  WVJC has given her the tools academically and personally to be able to overcome any fears she once had.  Her text anxiety has subsided with the personal help of her program director.  She has also taught herself to find balance.  When she put her education first, everything else fell into place.  In a field dominated by men, this young woman stands among them.  She stands strong.  She teaches the men around her how to perform in this environment.  She is truly kicking at the glass ceiling in the IT world and wants to be a part of the gender shift in the field.

After graduation in November, Dawn isn’t sure of her plans.  She wants to stay in Morgantown and earn more certifications so that Microsoft and CISCO are breaking down her door to hire her.  We at WVJC believe in Dawn Riley and all of her successes.

Information Technology Graduate – Robert Lynch

Robert LynchRobert Lynch is a successful graduate of West Virginia Junior College-Morgantown, class of 2016, from the Information Technology program. Robert became part of the West Virginia Junior College academic faculty shortly after graduating from the IT program. He jumped at the opportunity to work at the college after having an externship within the IT program under the direction of Robin Addis. Robert is a Technical Support Analyst, primarily focused on WVJC Online. He maintains the technical support for over 400 online students and resolves the issues students might have in regards to their online classes or Canvas. As a devoted and passionate faculty member here at WVJC, Robert strives to ensure that all technology is working appropriately and accurately in order to help the students transition smoothly throughout their online courses.

Robert’s responsibilities as a Support Analyst include, but are not limited to, being the first point of contact if an issue arises and making certain a good ticketing system is implemented. By executing the ticketing system, the numerical order of students that inquire about an issue is maintained and those tickets are taken in the order as they came to him and finished in a timely manner. Robert also assists alongside Ryan Langley, Director of IDT, creating and designing our online campus, Canvas. Robert felt that he was lacking direction and skill within the HTML applications when assisting Ryan with the Canvas design. While working with Ryan, Robert realized he knew more than he thought and was able to rely on his creative and educational background.

Robert has become a crucial and dedicated employee and team member in the IT Department, due largely to Robin Addis and the WVJC faculty during his time as a student. Robert’s drive and intelligence pushed his desire to be the best student possible to achieve what he might have thought was not possible. Robin’s method of teaching during Robert’s time as a student was more strategy and hands-on than lecturing. Robert worked diligently at the hands-on practices that helped engrave the process of networking. This made him the vital employee and certified technician he has become within our team at WVJC. Robert is also working on furthering his education by pursuing a degree in Network Administration and Security at WVJC. As Robert works on his degree in NAS, he is developing his skill set and working on the next level of his Cisco certification, CCNP Security. This is the 2-year goal he has set for himself.  Since graduating from WVJC, Robert has established his own business, Twenty-First Century Solutions, which does IT consulting.

Robert’s path up to this point was not necessarily the path he expected he would end up taking.  Robert graduated from Morgantown High School in 2007 as a C and D student. After high school graduation, Robert explored his options and gained employment as a car salesman. Robert really enjoyed selling cars. At times he was excelling tremendously, then other times it would plateau. With this type of fluctuation in wages it was too stressful and Robert could not take the chance of receiving minimum wage and/or commission alone. Robert had other job offers which paid more and had a little bit more financial security, but he stated, “I knew I wanted something more for my life”.  Robert explored his options at a college, but ended up dropping out. He had several friends that attended WVJC and went through and graduated from the Information Technology program. Robert saw the success his friends had through the program, which made him explore WVJC. Robert knew things needed to change, he needed financial security and stability at this time in his life, due to the expected birth of his daughter, Audrey.

Robert came to WVJC, enrolled as a student in the IT program and became a successful 4.0 student. Robert did have some ups and downs when it came to his 3rd term when his daughter was born during finals. With the help of staff, Robert was able to retake his finals. Even with some hiccups, Robert’s dedication to finishing the program, gave him the drive and desire that helped him become a successful graduate from WVJC in March 2016.

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Information Technology program CLICK HERE and for Network Administration/Security CLICK HERE.

 

 

Student Highlight – Bobby Viands

Bobby ViandsThe formula is simple.  When you combine passion and intelligence with drive and work ethic, the result is success.  Since Bobby Viands enrolled in West Virginia Junior College’s Network Administration/Security Program in January of 2017 that’s what he has experienced . . . Success!

Bobby’s story isn’t unusual.  There’s been challenges and setbacks.  After completing his senior year of high school, like many students, he decided to attend a traditional 4-year institution. Bobby had a fairly positive experience, but something was missing.  “It was a fairly nice place, but it lacked relationships.  I didn’t feel like there was anyone there who was in my corner,” he said.

While attending the four year institution, Bobby also encountered life adversity.  There were trials and tribulations.  These struggles included the grief caused by several deaths in his family and the impact those deaths had on a family dynamic.  Bobby needed a change and a fresh start, so he headed to Morgantown.

Bobby realized that he needed a source of income so he secured work at a local call center.  While working he rediscovered that his passion in life was computers. He had previous exposure to computers while in high school. Bobby knew that he wanted to earn a degree that would make his parents and grandparents proud, but he wanted to do it on his own terms.  He began searching for the right environment, where hands on experience was as valuable as lectures.

Bobby found WVJC.  He was familiar with the campus from spending time in downtown Morgantown. He realized there was a career enhancement scholarship available to WVJC through his employer TeleTech.  He dove into the program head first while enjoying “the downtown atmosphere with the smaller college setting.”  He has also excelled in the classroom working with IT Program Director Robin Addis on a daily basis.  He said, “She really sees my potential, gives me a lot of responsibility, and believes in me.”  The results can be seen through his academic progress.

There has been sacrifice involved.  Bobby is busy, but in his mind being busy equates to productivity and a sense of accomplishment.  He attends class from 8a.m. until 12 p.m. and then spends more time in the computer lab honing his craft.  From there it’s off to work from 3:30 p.m. until midnight.  The dedication has already paid off as Bobby has earned his CCENT Cisco certification and is in the process of obtaining three additional certifications which include the A-Plus, CCNA, and Cisco Security.

Bobby has a plan and a vision. He knows the effort he exerts now will be rewarded in the future.  In the coming years he anticipates utilizing his degree and certifications in the area of network and server administration.  He wants to assist the community by contracting with small businesses to launch their computer networks.  It is a dream that seems quite obtainable for a young man who has embraced his education with such determination.

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program CLICK HERE