Couple Enjoys Success Pursuing JCERT-Supported BSIT Degrees Together at KUEC
Husband and wife received JCERT scholarships in their quest to earn BSIT degrees from the KU Edwards Campus.
Alex and Constance Arriaga-Flores are nontraditional students in the JCERT-supported Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program at KU Edwards Campus. The couple is raising a young son while working full-time and pursuing their degrees to help further their careers. We sat down with them to learn more about their educational journey.
Why did you choose KU Edwards and the BSIT program?
Constance: I’ve always worked full time and I have a six-year-old son that I support as well, so trying to be a traditional student doesn’t really work for me. As a working individual with a child, it’s great that a lot of the classes are available online. KU Edwards is also small, so I feel like I can get to know my professor on a deeper level.
Alex: At first, I just wanted to get a college degree, but I eventually found I really wanted to go into cybersecurity. I chose the information technology program because it covers such broad topics, from coding to networking to cybersecurity. I feel like no matter what career path I choose, in the end I will be well equipped with a BSIT degree.
How do KUEC and the BSIT program meet your personal and/or academic needs?
Constance: Not only is the BSIT program awesome, but the instructors are really awesome too. I don’t think I’ve had an instructor that I didn’t like. The evening online classes are great for nontraditional students.
Alex: There is an on-campus computer lab specifically for BSIT students that’s open until campus closes. Overall, it’s really convenient because there are other resources online or provided by professors.
What supports or opportunities at KUEC were impactful?
Constance: We both received scholarships and that helps with the financial burden of trying to pay for classes and everything else we need for school, like textbooks and supplies. It alleviates the worry of having to take out student loans to cover the difference, so we’re very thankful for those scholarships.
Alex: We rely a lot on program flexibility. It’s been a godsend to be able to work full-time without having to worry about taking time off work. It just makes everything so much more convenient.
How will your degree prepare you for the future? What are your career goals?
Constance: For me, just having a degree – which a lot of employers want – will give my career a boost and hopefully help me achieve all my career goals in the future.
Alex: I’m employed at KU Medical Center as an information security analyst. That wouldn’t have been possible if my professor hadn’t recommended me for an internship. The internship, plus my previous IT experience with a school district, helped me get this full-time position.
What motivates you?
Constance: My motivation is my son. I started school three months after he was born, which was two days after my 20th birthday. I was young and thought, “Okay, I need to get my life together. I have a child to take care of now.” Three months later I started school, and it’s been a journey ever since.
The information technology program at the KU Edwards Campus covers a variety of professional disciplines, including software development, systems administration and analysis, network support, web development, cybersecurity and computer and information research science.