NACTEL Student Stories

One of the main reasons Austin decided to pursue his Associate’s degree through the NACTEL program at Pace University was NACTEL’s affiliation with his company, Verizon. He said if he had had to take out a loan for his education, he probably wouldn’t have qualified. The tuition assistance Verizon provided enabled him to move forward.

“I didn’t want to just get comfortable at the salary I was earning,” he said. “I wanted to have something to fall back on. This degree gives me job stability and makes me more marketable.”

Having previously worked at AT&T seven years, Austin had enough technical savvy to continue down the path he was already on, so he chose the A.S. in Networking Technologies.

“It’s so convenient,” he continued. “I didn’t have to leave the house and worry about parking. I’d just get up in the morning and set aside time to do my work as opposed to being at class at a certain time of day.”

Austin said that his involvement in the NACTEL degree program was definitely a factor in his being hired for his new position at Verizon.

“The person who hired me said the fact that I was earning my degree was one of the main reasons they hired me, because it showed I was moving forward,” said Austin.

Austin’s wife and two children were very supportive during the time he worked on his degree, despite the challenges it presented.

“It was a double-edged sword because I didn’t always have the time to take the kids to the playground or the store and stuff like that, but for the most part, they were really excited,” he said. “They’d be like, ‘you’re in school, too?’ and think it was cool that we were doing it together.”

“And my wife was very supportive, you know, because jobs are going left and right,” Austin added. “This really meant more security for our future.”

Austin advises other perspective students to do two things: manage time well and ask questions. “Don’t be scared,” he said. “If you have a question, even if you think it’s a dumb one, ask it. The professors are really thorough, and they don’t make you feel like you’re asking dumb questions when they respond. Don’t be afraid to ask.”

“I loved this experience,” he added. “I don’t have anything bad to say about it!”

Austin is making plans to continue on with NACTEL and Pace to earn his B.S. in Telecommunications in fall 2011.

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