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Part of Western Governors University

October 3, 2017

Student Success

Two B.S. IT graduates take different career paths.

Brett Ford, Charlotte, NC

Brett shared his academic and career journey in a speech at WGU’s 2016 Winter Commencement in Orlando. He took college classes here and there before realizing the time he was wasting and put off college altogether for 27 years. He did not imagine returning until he witnessed his wife earning her teaching degree through WGU. Watching her balance school, a full-time job, and caring for their two daughters was the inspiration that Brett needed to earn his own degree. As a student, he worked full-time for AT&T and two additional part-time jobs, and was heavily involved as the “dance dad” for his daughters. Beyond work and school, Brett found time to build a prosthetic hand for his daughter using a 3D printer. With his bachelor’s degree, Brett has been able to advance his career with AT&T where he now helps maintain wireless traffic for cell phones across the United States.

Eric Gardner, Richlands, NC

Eric grew up poor and was taught by his mother to “be content with what you have.” He lived by that motto into his adult life as a college dropout and settled for a job at a grocery store while living in a trailer. His wife (who he was only dating at the time) convinced him he could be so much more and pushed him to go back to community college. Eric’s first taste of success came after he convinced the college dean to change the Phi Theta Kappa admissions policy and remove accumulative GPAs from over 20 years ago. After this accomplishment and acceptance to PTK and the Dean’s List, he never looked back. He earned his bachelor’s degree in IT from WGU earlier this year and as a result, doubled his salary working as a Technology Support Specialist for the Onslow County Public Library System. Eric spoke at WGU’s 2017 Winter Commencement ceremony.

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