Graduate Profile

Scott Saunders

Scott Saunders

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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