I have a great announcement to make that is long overdue! The Pay It Forward (PIF) scholarship has its second recipient.
Sometime shortly after the new year, I was mulling over whether I would write a post asking for applications for this year’s scholarship. I had just started my new job and I knew that this year would be extremely busy for me, both personally and professionally. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to devote the funds or time to this valiant cause, however, I could not refuse this highly motivated individual.
Scott is a college student who is burning the trail, double majoring and knocking out IT certifications simultaneously. I’ve been happily working with Scott to get him prepared since January and I really appreciate his patience with me throughout the entire process. He’s literally a couple of weeks away from his first attempt at ICND 1 so I knew it was time to finally get the word out. Please read his story below:
My name is Scott, and I am from Northeast Texas. Even though I’m from Texas, I go to Eastern Kentucky University where I will graduate in December of this year (2014), with dual degrees: a B.S. of Computer Science with a concentration in Computer Forensics and Security, and a B.S. of Forensic Science with concentrations in Biology and Chemistry. While I will be applying for jobs prior to graduation, I will also be enrolling in the Georgia Tech Online Masters program in the Spring or Fall of 2015 to begin working on my M.S. of Computer Science with a specialization in Networking.
I’ve been around computers since I was only a few years old; I built my first computer when I was about 7, and built small business networks for my parents’ businesses when I was about 11. I’ve built ~15 computers over the last decade for myself, family, and friends. I’ve always enjoyed computers and networks, and even though I will graduate with dual degrees, I’ve taken every Networking class I could get my hands on, ranging from PC Troubleshooting, to Microcomputer/Network Security (I’ve taken enough where if I wasn’t taking 21 hours my last two semesters, I would have gotten a Networking minor, as I am only missing 1 Electrical Engineering course).
While I had known about Cisco hardware for many years, I was familiar but lacked in-depth knowledge about Cisco certifications until I took a Network Switches & Routers class last year. Our primary book for the class was the Lammle CCNA Study Guide for the old 640 exam. During, and after that class, I became more interested in obtaining my Cisco certifications and began trying to find more information about studying and materials. As I was looking, I remembered a link a friend sent me earlier in the year about the “Printer Nightmares” post, and as I had been looking through the website, and hadn’t thought much of it at the time, I returned to the website to read more about the scholarship offered.
I have two primary reasons for wanting to become CCNA certified: professional and personal (as I think most people do). As far as professionally, with most of the jobs in Information Security I’ve looked at, or been interested in, almost all mention the use of Cisco hardware in their infrastructures, and I know it will be advantageous for me to have that knowledge as I apply. But more important, is my personal reason for wanting to become CCNA certified. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been around computers and networks since I was little, and I’ve always loved technology. This certification gives me the opportunity to take something I love, and to learn more about it, to understand it in greater detail while providing a foundational knowledge that will serve me later both generally, and as I progress higher in the Cisco learning track. Ultimately, the CCNA for me serves as a starting point, a stepping stone for so many possibilities.
As you can see, Scott is very motivated to becoming Cisco certified as he prepares for his transition into the workforce and is highly deserving of this scholarship. I look forward to his blog posts that will be posted HERE over the next few months on topics related to his CCNA studies and also sharing the news of his successes. Please join me in congratulating Scott on his scholarship and wish him good luck!
Again, I’d like to thank Cisco Press and Pearson IT Certification for providing the books that my scholarship winners use to study for both exams. Although I have not received any monetary donations to allocate towards this scholarship to date, I do have a page setup on GoFundMe if you’d like to help. Please see the scholarship page to learn more.