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An IT supervisor for the State of California, Scott Saunders saw the opportunities
that having a degree can offer when he was part of a hiring panel reviewing job
applicants. While his work experience and skills had always compensated for not
having a degree, he wanted another promotion, and for that, he needed his degree.
Scott began his search to find an accredited degree program that would apply his
professional experience with the Distance Education Training Council (DETC), an
educational association and a nationally recognized accrediting agency. That’s where
he found WGU.
Going back to school was going to be a challenge. He was working 60+ hours, was married,
and never liked school. But every night, no matter how exhausted he was, he came
home and logged into the student portal to complete his school work. He even watched
previous commencement ceremonies, telling himself, “I will walk that stage.”
Two years, one month, and four days later, Scott finished his degree. To celebrate
passing his last assessment, the final “gate” to earning his degree, Scott did what
he typically does to commemorate important events in his life—he headed to
the local tattoo shop. On his left bicep, he inked a graduation cap, diploma, and
his graduation year to symbolize all the heavy lifting.
“To me, this degree is more than bonus points on a resume. This journey became a
way to prove to myself that I could start and finish something, and more importantly,
that I am smart enough to graduate,” said Scott in his graduation speech at WGU’s
Winter 2009 Commencement ceremony in Salt Lake City. “This journey is not the end,
but actually the beginning. I now like school!”
One degree and one tattoo later, Scott continues to climb the corporate ladder. He
is currently the Chief Information Security Officer for Northern California Electric
Utility, responsible for protecting one of the nation’s critical infrastructures.
And, he’s just re-enrolled at WGU for a graduate program in IT.
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