NACTEL Student Stories

Stephanie joined the telecommunications industry immediately after high school.  A country girl who moved to the city, Stephanie was exposed to a lot of new things as a repair technician.  She was one of the first women in Kansas to work in a “non-traditional” job.  She loved the work she was doing – climbing poles, working outdoors and servicing customer’s technical needs.

Stephanie has had some great experiences during her 31 years at AT&T.  She worked as the lead technician at the University of Kansas, where she was responsible for all of the telecom related issues. She installed the communications for multiple DEA drug busts.  She remembers another project where, “Working with the Secret Service, we converted a pig barn into a communications station for an upcoming visit by George W. Bush, who later became the President.”

Stephanie chose the NACTEL program at Pace University because it was perfectly aligned with her job and her goals.  She had always wanted a degree, and her husband and family assured her that they would support her return to school.  In addition, Stephanie credits her daughter, Nicole, as an inspiration and her mentor.  Nicole is learning-disabled, who is goal motivated and never gave up.  Both mother and daughter met their goals by graduating from college in May of 2009.    

Stephanie sees her recent educational pursuit a journey, and along the way she has prevailed over a number of challenges.  She graduated with a 4.0 thanks to a lot of hard work and a very understanding family.  Her advice to other students is to, “Tackle the program as quickly as your schedule allows.  You never know what unpredicted circumstances may arise at work or in your personal life.”

The general education courses that are part of every degree program were an unexpected highlight of Stephanie’s school experience.  In her English course, which she was initially dreading, she began research for multiple essays on the Civil War and quickly became immersed in the topic.  Through her research, she became friends with Richard Sunderwirth who was in the process of writing a book about Osceola, Missouri.  He was impressed with her essays and included her research in his book, The Burning of Osceola, Missouri.  Stephanie knows that, “If it weren’t for the NACTEL program, I wouldn’t have learned what was in my own backyard.  Now I’m a published author!”

Stephanie was a guest speaker at graduation, and she invited her new friend, Mr. Sunderwirth, to attend as well. 

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