NACTEL Student Stories

Natasha Blanford has been a Fiber Network Technician for Verizon for seven years, assisting field technicians and helping troubleshoot voice, video, and network issues.  She always knew she wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree, but hadn’t anticipated how long it would take to achieve that goal.  Her journey started with evening classes at Baruch College, but when her shift changed to 12pm-8pm, she could no longer take courses.  Her journey continued at Hofstra University, but a growing family caused her to shift her priorities again.

“I knew I needed—and wanted—to go back,” Natasha said, “Especially since my company paid for my continuing education.”  The online NACTEL program through Pace University was just the solution she needed to fulfill her dream of earning her bachelor’s degree.  “I had seen the programs on our company intranet and employee emails, and thought an online program would give me the flexibility I needed.”  

Natasha admitted that at times it could be challenging to balance a full time job, family, and school, but she was determined to make it work.  “I would designate certain times during the week to complete my work, and I remember sometimes being up until 3 or 4 in the morning, but I got it done!”  She also appreciated how willing the professors were to help and work with you.  “Professors understand that life can sometimes get in the way, and unforeseen issues can arise, but they are willing to work with you.”

Her persistence paid off, and Natasha earned her Bachelor’s degree in 2014.  Her ambition to pursue further education didn’t stop there, though.  “I know Pace University also has a Master’s program, so I’d like to look into that.  Now that I’ve finished, I know that it is possible, and I would like to continue and take the next step in the program.”

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