Monday, April 14, 2014

Program Pride Week Profile: Shirley Dash, IT Program

SHIRLEY DASH: The College is proud
to support Shirley as she continues her education
and career.
Registration for the upcoming academic year is officially open! This year, we’re instituting Program Pride Week, which we covered on the blog at the beginning of the month. Our goal for Program Pride Week is to allow students to celebrate their individual programs and share their excitement for next year's classes.

One of the ways we are doing this is by profiling one special alumnus from each program here on the blog every day this week. We’ll be telling their stories, highlighting their successes, sharing their insights and advice for current students, and checking in with them to see how far they have come in their careers since their time at Peirce.

Today we are kicking off the week with Shirley Dash, a graduate of Peirce’s IT Program.
For as long back as she can remember, Shirley has always loved computers. In 2004, she graduated from the Community College of Philadelphia’s Computer Information Systems Program and entered the workforce as a Systems Associate for the Family Planning Council. In her role there, Shirley quickly began to work hands-on with the customers, and knew she needed to obtain a bachelor’s degree to keep up with the competitive IT landscape.

After attending a Peirce open house, Shirley was confident that Peirce was the school for her, and began to work towards her bachelor’s degree. “It was intimate, affordable, the schedule was perfect for me, and the courses were extremely interesting. Although there was class, we still had time to do labs and that was important to me, because I learn a lot faster when it’s hands on,” Shirley says.

Shirley excelled in Peirce’s supportive classroom environment; it allowed her to get to know the staff, professors, and students on a personal level. While a student, Shirley found the stories of Peirce graduates who had succeeded in earning their bachelor's degrees inspiring. She says, “I was excited when the IT degree program would bring in alumni to share their before and after stories of graduating from Peirce and how it helped prepare them for their careers.”

Shirley credits her professional success in large part to how the College’s IT program is up to date on the latest technology and trends, as well as the software and hardware used in the classroom. The labs at the College served as a way for Shirley to collaborate with and learn from other students, giving her a competitive edge in today’s job market.

Today, Shirley works at one of the largest hospitals in Philadelphia, Penn Medicine, as a database analyst. She loves the healthcare IT field, and credits the mentors she met at Peirce for helping her choose it. Shirley is now a graduate student at Drexel in the university’s Masters Information Systems degree program.

Although achieving a master’s degree seems daunting, Shirley is confident that she will succeed because of her experience at Peirce. “Because I had a GPA of 3.5 and higher from Peirce College, I didn’t have to take any of the pre-graduate exams such as the GRE or GMAT. Peirce also opened the door to online education for me. I am a full-time employee, and sometimes going to classes after work is tiring, but I know that I’ve done it before, at Peirce. The bottom line is: I am in control of my own schedule.”

If you’re thinking about choosing a career path similar to Shirley’s, take her advice: Let the College’s experts help you with your resume and interviewing skills. She also asks that you trust the program. “The IT degree program at Peirce College, along with its accelerated courses, will shape and mold you into the IT professional you strive to be. They will take care of you even after you graduate. Focus on getting the highest GPA you can, and look into certifications being offered at Peirce.”

We’d like to thank Shirley for taking the time to talk with us and share her story! We’ll leave you with her well wishes: “I wish you all much success! I am very fortunate to be able to tell the world I am a graduate of Peirce College in Philadelphia.”