Making Things Right in His World

He was working a dead end job as a bartender and he knew he wanted more. For many at this cross road, education is the answer, and it was for LaForrest Roxbury. He didn’t want to commit to four years of education, and that is why he jumped at the opportunity to visit ECPI Moorefield when a friend suggested LaForrest could receive his degree in two and a half years.

LaForrest immediately enrolled in pursuit of an associate’s degree in IT Network Security. “The first year was hard,” said LaForrest. “I had been out of school for 10 years, but ECPI was there providing tutors and an open campus for me to practice on the computers or work in the library.”

He was able to keep his night job while attending school, but after six months, he obtained an externship which would allow him to apply the skills he learned. With that experience, LaForrest went in search of more. His motto was to shoot for the stars, “you can’t expect someone to give you a job, you have to work towards it and career services at ECPI was there to help.” He took advantage of the one-on-one interview training to prepare him for his job search. He earned a paid externship with MeadWestvaco, where he is today as full-time employee in the IT Field Service Department assisting over 900 users daily with computer, network and smartphone issues. MeadWestvaco Corporation (MWV) provides packaging solutions to many of the world’s most-admired brands like Coca-Cola and Starbucks. With 17,500 employees worldwide, MWV operates in 30 countries and serves customers in more than 100 nations. The building where LaForrest works in Richmond, Virginia, is a “green” building, and he is proud of that stating “everything is recycled.”

ECPI graduate, LaForrest Roxbury loving his job at MeadWestvaco.

With a job in his career field working for a good company, LaForrest decided to continue his education and obtain his bachelor’s. He graduated June 17, 2011. “It was the proudest day I can remember,” exclaimed LaForrest. “The school became a university and it was great to be one of the first students to graduate from ECPI University.”

LaForrest was a stand-out student who made the Hall of Fame list for his campus. He was in the National Honor Society and on the dean’s list, served as the President of the IT club, and received the Ambassador Award for his tutoring services. His grade point average with his associate’s was a 3.95 and for his bachelor’s a 3.72.

He is assisting other ECPI students. He set up an externship program partnership between MWV and ECPI bringing students to spend 140 hours earning college credit and invaluable work experience. To date two students have been hired from the program.

His aspirations are to continue his education and earn a Master’s in IT, and he hopes to be able to do that at ECPI.

Established Mom Heads Back to School

Linda DeChaine didn’t enjoy the monotony of her job. As a clinical lab supervisor, she managed six labs and the technical staff at each establishment. “It was the same thing, day after day,” said Linda. She had also reached the ceiling in her career field leaving no room for growth and she wanted more.

Linda charted a path for a new future with help from Medical Careers Institute.

She wasn’t going to let the fact that she was an established adult deter her. Linda has a Bachelor of Science that she received in 1991 and Master’s in Business Administration she received in 2001. She is married, and her children are grown.

Linda enrolled in the registered nursing program at ECPI University’s School of Health Science, Medical Careers Institute(MCI) in

July 2010. She will graduate in December 2011. With an impressive 3.96 GPA, Linda aspires to be in the operating room. She’d like to be a traveling nurse filling in at hospitals across the country that need temporary staff. This would give Linda the flexibility and opportunity to see the country.

“I chose MCI because I am older and I wanted to maximize my time,” explained Linda. “I liked the speed of the program.” Linda did her research prior to selecting MCI; she looked at several programs comparing passing rates, graduation rates, graduates who had earned employment post-graduation and overall graduate reviews. She picked MCI and says the program is fast paced and intense and that she learned a great deal stating, “I tell others to put their nose to the grind stone, you get out of it what you put into it.”

Linda had originally wanted to be a nurse, but the program wasn’t an option to her during the 1980’s when she was graduating high school. She is a good example of someone who holds tight to a dream knowing she can accomplish her heart’s desire.

Her Education Helped Keeya Snag-a-Job She Loves

A lot of people choose to go to college because they are looking for a life changing event. For many, this happens right after high school graduation. For Keeya Easley, this happened after pondering her future from an un-inspirational cubicle, processing “mundane work” in a company where she was just another number.

Keeya enrolled in ECPI’s Innsbrook campus in Richmond, Virginia in the fall of 2008. She graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s in Web Development in June 2011 and is now employed with Snagajob, a service provider to help hourly employers find the best candidates, as a web development intern. She now enjoys working for a company that is innovative and has an exciting, fun culture where people know her by name. As an intern in the engineering department, she has the opportunity to learn new technologies and produce valuable work.

Keeya agrees – dreams do begin with the right job – and education.

Of her studies with ECPI, Keeya says, “the program challenged me to face my fears, and just do it. I had to overcome my issues with public speaking right away because presentations are part of almost every class and common in my line of work. I also had to become prepared to exhibit leadership skills with group projects which was new territory for me.”

While Keeya was taking night classes at ECPI, she worked part-time and managed home life as a single parent. She admits it was challenging, and she had to make sacrifices in her life; however, she exclaims “having my daughter proud of me far outweighs it all.”

High School Students Learn to Develop Web Application through STEM Camp

The Youth Center of Hampton Roads hosted a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) camp at ECPI for 20 enthusiastic Hampton Roads teens. The five-day program in July introduced students to mobile technology and included an opportunity to learn and develop a web application (APP).

There is a national movement to encourage more students to pursue education and careers in STEM fields. The “Change the Equations” national initiative pledges to create literacy in science, technology, engineering and math as an investment in the nation. One of the goals of the initiative is to inspire student appreciation and excitement for STEM programs and careers to increase success and achievement in school and opportunities for a collegiate education.

ECPI Academic Technology Associate Dean, Gerry White, works with the kids to teach them APP development.

“We were really excited about introducing and reinforcing the STEM initiatives to participating youth,” said Paul Dockery, Business Development Specialist for ECPI University. “It was a great partnership to share with the youth the cool aspects of the technology field. These same areas are those that will allow the Hampton Roads community and beyond to remain the technological leader in the marketplace of the 21st century.”

The course, taught by Gerry White, covered beginning Mobile Web APP development. Students learned to design icons and buttons and facilitate the coding to launch their own Mobile Web APP. At the end of the program students created an individual APP to showcase their resume and writing samples with links to their social networks.

The program was through the Youth Career Center of Hampton Road operated by Opportunity Inc., which provides career guidance and workplace readiness skills training to Hampton Roads youth aged 14-21. Area businesses that supported the workshop included ECPI University, STIHL and We Are Titans.

Two workshop participants show off their custom built APPs.

Tracy Mitchell: The One-Hundred Eighty Degree Man of ECPI

People say that change is good. Some people fight change, and such was the case for Tracy Mitchell. While he knew that an education would be instrumental in improving his life, he was slow to embrace personal change that could (and ultimately would) impact his professional future. By personal change it is in reference to his appearance. Tracy likes to joke about the initial impression he made on faculty and staff at ECPI University in Charlotte, North Carolina as well as some of the companies he has interviewed. “I came in with long hair to my hips, tattoos, and leather,” tells Tracy. “I don’t think most people expected me to last too long.” But he did, and Tracy appreciates the good nature jesting he now has with faculty and fellow students. It came down to a job interview when Tracy was asked, “how attached are you to your hair?” He knew it may be time for a snip if he wanted to land his ideal job.

Tracy Mitchell Before

Before coming to EPCI University, Tracy was a dump truck driver, heavy equipment operator and mechanic. After being laid off, Tracy decided to finally obtain his GED. He passed in January 2009 and enrolled in ECPI the same month. His original pursuit was radiology but quickly learned he was not good with needles and turned to medical imaging. Upon graduation he was hired by Siemen Medical Solutions in Cary, North Carolina, as a tech support engineer. Siemens is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, and operates in the industry, energy, and healthcare sectors. For more than 160 years, Siemens has built a reputation for leading-edge innovation and the quality of its products, services, and solutions.

Just goes to show you, you can’t judge a book by its cover, but a haircut may lead to a very bright future.

Tracy Mitchell After