UAS Ketchikan Student Feature in Cisco Networking Academy Program
When Sarah arrived at the Job Center in Ketchikan, Alaska, she had more on her mind than just a new career. At the time, she was caring for her husband, a disabled veteran who had suffered two heart attacks, and their four children, ages four to 13. Sarah generated a short list of goals for a new career when she arrived that day in Ketchikan and it was to include the following: first, to make good money; second, to have flexibility, including the possibility of starting her own business; and third, to be in an interesting field. The research she conducted that day at Job Corps led to computer networking and ultimately the Cisco Networking Academy Program at the University of Alaska, Ketchikan.
After success in the IT Essentials course, Sarah decided to continue her Cisco studies and enrolled in Cisco Certified Network Associate, CCNA, courses. “I’m so excited about the Networking Academy program,” says Sarah. “The hands-on labs are what make a difference for me along with my instructor, Rick McDonald. He has a knack of getting down to the basic level when he teaches that makes understanding new concepts so much easier.”
Currently in CCNA 4, Sarah has also taken advantage of the flexibility of a “blended” course format where she doesn’t have to be in a classroom on campus. She can attend class meetings online and complete labs utilizing NetLab, a Cisco partner network laboratory application that allows remote configuration. “NetLab is pretty amazing! It lets you get on actual routers and switches to do configurations and it’s not a simulation – it’s the real thing!”
Academy Instructor Rick McDonald has seen the impact of the Academy program on Sarah. “The structure of the Networking Academy program combined with her creative personality has given her a real career opportunity in getting people connected.”
Sarah is now 19 credits away from a bachelor’s degree at the university. She plans to earn her Cisco Certified Network Associate certification upon completion of CCNA 4, and begin exploring opportunities in network design consulting and ultimately launch her own consulting business.