NACTEL Student Stories

Chris Fasting has telecom "in his blood;" his father was a 'phone guy," working first for GTE, then for Verizon. Now, besides telecom, it looks like Chris also has education in his blood. After first earning a NACTEL-sponsored associate's degree from Pace University, Chris recently earned his bachelor's degree, graduating in 2017 with honors.

Looking back, Chris says that he "tried the college route' when he got out of the service, but at the halfway point of the first semester, he realized that he was wasting the school's time as well as his own, so he put college on the back burner and went to work for the phone company. Fast forward to 2010, when he saw all of the technological changes happening in the industry, he decided it was time to go back.

Chris thought about several colleges before choosing the NACTEL program. The fact that the Pace University program is regionally accredited, that it was offered online, and that it was sponsored by the IBEW were the deciding factors for him. Oh - there was one more deciding factor - his daughter, who was 5 at the time, asked him why he didn't have a degree "like mom does."

During his time as a student, Chris faced the kinds of challenges that all adult students face. His second child was born in the middle of his associate's degree; she came during week 4 of one of his classes! But Chris overcame another challenge that not all adults have - dyslexia. He knows that simply reading something out of a book isn’t the best way for him to learn. He calls himself a visual learner, meaning he actually needs to see and hear things. But he adds, "This is one of the things I really enjoyed about the online environment. When I could see something done on a video or using PowerPoint, then nine times out of ten, I 'got' it and could proceed from there." He added, "As a practicing dyslexic, I was amazed that I was able to do as well as I did."

Chris has advice for new students: "Don’t take on too much too soon. It took me probably three semesters before I felt comfortable doing two classes at once. Remember, I had not been in school for such a long time and I had to get the hang of the whole online learning thing." Then he adds, "but then you get into the swing of things and you say 'I'm doing this. I'm going to commit to it and just do whatever is necessary to get through this course with an A.' And not to brag or anything, but in my entire academic career, associate's and bachelor's degrees, I got three B's and the rest were A's."

What next for Chris? He wants to move to a position inside that allows him to work on the things he's been learning for the last six years, to be more hands-on with technology. He knows that "this degree has prepared me to take that next step." And one more thing - he’s currently in negotiations with his family around whether or not to begin the master's program.

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