Hooked on learning is one way to describe computer science student Katie Harris. Committed to strengthening herself and the organization at which she works is another.
With two associate degrees, a bachelor’s degree in sociology, two master’s degrees (in educational technology and information systems) and a third master’s in the works, there is no doubt that this Georgia native believes in the power of education. “I am a lifelong learner and I like being marketable,” says Katie, who earned an M.S. Information Systems at American Sentinel in 2011. “I have always turned to education to give me the skills I need in my job.”
“Technology is Learning”
Katie’s love of constant learning is what led her into a career in technology. She started out as a secretary for a telecommunications company in 1980, and eventually decided she liked the industry (leading her to school for an associate degree in computer information systems initially, and other degrees through the years). She spent nine years as a software technician with Siemens, another eight years with BellSouth and after a brief hiatus, went back to BellSouth (now AT&T) in 2000.
For the last several years, Katie has been a senior quality control test manager, testing software and hardware on smartphones and tablets, and in 2013, she moved into a business analyst/release manager position. “I have worked on leading-edge technologies my entire career,” says Katie. “Technology is learning, and that’s why I like it.”
[programpush poi=”MSISM”]A Two-Time American Sentinel Student
In 2010—when Katie began working in quality control—she decided to add a master’s in information systems to her resume. She started at the University of Phoenix, but transferred to American Sentinel when the university was recommended to her by a coworker. Katie graduated with the M.S. Information Systems in 2011.
The experience was so great that Katie decided to pursue yet another American Sentinel master’s: the M.S. Computer Science. “In IT, if you don’t have a computer science degree, you’re behind,” she says. “I’m learning so much. The classes are very relevant to what I do, but they also teach me so much I don’t know.” Katie expects to complete the program in 2014.
Katie’s Next Career Move: Health Care
One day, Katie is interested in working for a large health care system, where she sees a lot of career opportunity. And unsurprisingly, she will very likely continue improving her skill set through education—possibly with the Master of Health Care Informatics at American Sentinel. “American Sentinel has many cutting-edge programs,” she says. “The school staff works with students to help them through any challenges they’re facing. They continually ask, ‘What can we do to help make you better?’”
A Partner to the End
Katie’s classes and overall experience have been highly positive, but the person she’s enjoyed “more than anyone else at American Sentinel” is her student success advisor, Cheyenne Williams. “She holds students’ hands until the end,” says Katie. “That’s what makes the school—people like her. Working with her has made school a personal experience.”
Cheyenne, a student success advisor since 2008, says that getting to know students is her favorite part of her job. And students like Katie, she adds, are ideal American Sentinel students. “Katie is the epitome of what a student should be: she works very hard and is always trying to better her future,” Cheyenne says. “I’m really proud of Katie. I have no doubt she will be a shining star throughout her career.”