Part of Western Governors University
Master of Science, Information Security and Assurance
Incident Handler, Manager at Red Canary
Chris Abbey is a two-time WGU graduate, first earning a bachelor’s degree in IT network design and management in 2013 and then a master’s degree in information security and assurance. He’s held various leadership positions in cybersecurity and is currently the Incident Handler Manager at Red Canary in Denver, Colorado. Chris’s greatest accomplishment is his marriage to Gina Abbey, who is also a WGU alum (bachelor’s degree in marketing, 2014), and their two little girls. When he’s not working or enjoying time with his family, Chris volunteers at Catchafire, an organization which makes skill-based connections between professional volunteers and other nonprofits, consults on technology projects, serves as a Board Member of a local cybersecurity education professional organization, and volunteers as a programs/marketing and sponsorship chair at a nearby cybersecurity conference.
Bachelor of Science, Business–Human Resource Management
Registered Respiratory Therapist at Vibra Hospital
Paula Bradberry has been working in healthcare for the past 29 years as a Registered Respiratory Therapist. A typical day at work will see her help patients with their breathing problems, however, since the increase of COVID-19 cases in the United States, her job has becoming increasingly essential in providing lifesaving treatment. Paula also has the opportunity of working with respiratory therapist students to ensure that they understand this often-difficult piece of the healthcare puzzle. With her degree now in hand, Paula hopes to one day make a career change into human resource management; she’s already become part of her local HR association and often looks for opportunities to volunteer and network. In her downtime, Paula enjoys redoing furniture and traveling.
Master of Arts in Teaching, Science (5–12)
Science Teacher – Chemistry and Physics at Knox County School District
Career-changer Arby Dickert has taught high school science in Tennessee for the past six years. His past assignments include teaching chemistry and physical world concepts at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville. Beginning Fall 2020, he moves to the Freshman Academy at HVA to teach physical science. Prior to teaching, Arby was in international sales and marketing. Encountering a slow job market in late 2013, he reinvented himself as a teacher to give back to his local community, get more in touch with humanity, and help fix the day-to-day problems teenagers face. Arby is a member of the Civil Air Patrol and participated in refueling missions with the Tennessee Air National Guard as part of an Aerospace Teacher’s Workshop. In addition, Arby has written several articles for WGU’s Hey Teach!, a content hub for K–12 educators.
Bachelor of Science, Network Operations and Security
Assistant Director of Information Technology at City of Yuma
After years of working with technology, Isaiah decided that he needed a degree to validate his abilities. So, while serving as an active-duty United States Marine, Isaiah began his WGU degree program. According to Isaiah, he chose WGU for the flexibility that it offered. He could never tell when or where his free time would appear as a Marine. It was helpful that WGU enabled him to take his classes anywhere in the world, at any time. Eventually, after serving 22 years in the Marine Corps, Isaiah transitioned to the public sector and is currently the Assistant Director of Information Technology for the City of Yuma in Arizona.
Master of Science, Data Analytics
Vice President - Advisory Central Supervision for JP Morgan Securities
Andrew received his bachelor's degree from WGU after having been in corporate leadership for ten years. Afterwards, he felt that he had learned so much from his WGU classes that he decided to enroll in a master’s degree program. He credits his WGU education with an opportunity for him to work at a fast-paced tech startup. It was there that he used the project management and strategy skills from his degree programs to have a real impact on a large acquisition that occurred during his time at the company. He was subsequently promoted to a regional director position. Upon becoming intrigued by how he saw data and information being used, Andrew then enrolled in a third WGU degree program—the Master of Science, Data Analytics degree program. According to him, his second master's degree has really set him apart in his career. He has also had the chance to participate in large analytics projects and lead larger teams as a result of his business and data education. Andrew is heavily involved in his community, coaching youth soccer, teaching Sunday School, and volunteering as an instructor for Junior Achievement. He lives with his wife and their two sons in Columbus, Ohio, where they enjoy fishing, camping, and watching classic Disney movies.
Master of Science, Management and Leadership
Nurse Manager at St. Luke’s Hospital
Tera Magnuson is a Nurse Manager at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. She currently leads a team of approximately 130 nursing staff who care for patients on the Neuro/ENT, Orthopedic, Inpatient Rehab, and Inpatient Wound Care units. Because of COVID-19, it is an all hands-on deck situation for her team to ensure patients are well cared for during this unprecedented time. She continues to support her team as they navigate the pandemic and continue to provide excellent care to patients. She is grateful to be in the nursing field helping to care for her community. Tera is also actively involved in her church, often working with youth programs and leading praise and worship on Sundays. When she is not working or helping out at church, Tera enjoys spending time with family and traveling.
Master of Science, Curriculum and Instruction
5th-grade Elementary Teacher at Jordan School District
Noelle Mauri has always been passionate about working with children and teaching. As a teacher, she feels that it is her responsibility to help children develop a love of learning and become lifelong learners. It’s this same love of learning that encouraged Noelle to seek out WGU so that she could continue her education. According to her, her degree program helped her to continue to develop and critique curriculum for her own classroom. She is now better able to ensure her students are learning what they need to in the way that they each learn best. Having taught 5th grade for more than 10 years, Noelle currently teaches at an elementary school in South Jordan, Utah, and anticipates staying in education to work with kids for as long as she’s able. “I’m interested in being in the classroom because that’s where I feel like I can have the most impact on children,” said Noelle.
Bachelor of Science, Marketing Management
Senior Director at YMCA of Greater Seattle
Leadership is Katoya’s superpower. She knows how to build people and teams, as highlighted by the many communities and groups she leads. Having lived across the United States, Katoya now resides in Seattle’s Central District where she is Senior Director at the YMCA of Greater Seattle, a high school swim coach, Co-Chair of her local African American Resource Group, a YMCA Professional Network Board Member, a Drowning Prevention Thought Leader and Co-Chair, a member of the Fundraising and Equity Team for Washington Student Leaders, and a frequent Diversity and Inclusion workshop facilitator. Katoya earned her bachelor’s degree from WGU in 2018 and is a champion for education changing the trajectory of individuals’ lives.
Bachelor of Science, Business Management
Trainer and E-learning Designer at Cigna
Erica convinced herself early on in her childhood that she wasn’t cut out for subjects like math or science. Instead, she always gravitated toward things like reading, writing, and public speaking. This misconception, coupled with some health scares, encouraged her to drop out of college twice. But she wanted a college degree, not for a job, but for herself. Finally, thirteen years after first starting, she earned it! Now, Erica is an E-learning Designer and Trainer at Cigna Healthcare, a wife, a mother, and a Sunday School teacher at her church.
Bachelor of Science, Business Management
Vice President of Sierra7, Inc.
Richard Tucker has more than 20 years of experience in business and IT project consulting. Over the past two decades, he has guided effective change by advising his clients on best practices in process, methods, metrics, tools, and training to maximize organizational capacity and performance. Richard currently oversees the successful delivery of management consulting solutions for Sierra7, a healthcare and information technology solutions firm. According to him, he uses and relies on the business foundations from his WGU degree each day to set strategic direction for his company and to inspire his employees. When they are not hiking in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia, Richard and his wife are heavily involved in the alma mater of their two children; often volunteering their time and network to recent graduates.