This series introduces an employee benefit and the meaning behind it, through the lives of Green River employees and their families. Created by Sheryl Gordon.
What event most recently occurred in your life that got you thinking about benefits?
One of the Information Technology Bachelor of Applied Science (IT BAS) instructors, Ken Hang, shared his vision for the new program before it started. Ken’s vision to help students become full stack developers (which he calls “unicorns” since such an individual is hard to come by) helped me realize the IT BAS Program was my perfect path (I also was intrigued about becoming one of the first unicorns in the program). :)
Personally, I have also been aware of the gap between formal educational and those skills that are self-taught through applied or creative fields. I know that I’ve transformed or evolved through work and certifications in digital media production, magazine layout, marketing campaigns, and web development. I believe that having the right knowledge (both formal and informal), combined with an official IT BAS degree, will play a major role in my personal and professional growth.
What specific Green River benefit do you appreciate most?
I truly appreciate the tuition waiver benefit that state employees receive. One of great things about enrolling at Green River was that the majority of my previous IT and web courses were accepted as part of the IT BAS program requirements. That made my life much easier, as it took prior learning and professional experience into account.
Once accepted into the program, I simply complete forms at the beginning of the quarter, submit them to HR and my instructor to obtain signatures, and then provide the final documents to Enrollment Services. It also helps to have a supervisor who supports professional development of course.
What does that benefit mean to you and loved ones?
Well…this benefit actually enriches the life of my entire family. It means that one day we’ll be able to create our own family app (something my husband and son are excited about as they are both geeks as well). Besides getting to work on school projects though, in some cases for real-world clients brought into the classroom, the skills taught perfectly compliment the existing degrees I already have. The IT BAS degree symbolizes real-world projects, becoming a full stack developer, and the unlimited potential for creative freedom.
What tips would you provide to anyone who is thinking about using this same benefit?
I spent several years attempting to determine which degree option or college best fit my unique needs. As it happened the best college was the one I actually work for! Getting to this point, however, has been a long journey. Originally, I began my research several years ago, but was unable to find the perfect solution, which took into account prior education and technical skills, while still being flexible enough to work into a busy schedule.
I would suggest to anyone considering this benefit, the tuition waiver program, that their decision be a family decision. There are so many variables involved (from work schedule to childcare, and even getting back into the mode of pulling all-nighters if necessary) that the entire family has to be on the same page. It means becoming a student once again. It means weeknights and weekends are spent doing homework. It means my husband is probably giving my son fast food on occasion. It means missing family events or scheduling vacations around breaks in quarters. It also means I have an extensive support system, both at home and in my newfound brothers and sisters in the IT BAS cohort. This is a decision we did not take lightly and one that we are proud to have chosen at the very institution we work at. For that, we sincerely thank Green River College.