While living in a domestic violence shelter, Bridget Nee became a full-time student at Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC). It was 2014. She was 50 years old, recently divorced, and ready to make big changes in her life.
She started taking courses in paralegal studies but was so impressed by what she learned during a Women in Technology boot camp and a cybersecurity seminar that she switched majors to cybersecurity.
As an NISGTC participant Nee connected frequently with tutors and student success specialists. “If I ever have a question and don’t know where to go, I just ask them and they steer me in the right direction,” she said.
They also helped her work through her fears that she would not be able to find a job due to her age and many years out of the workforce by encouraging her to sign up for the IT Professional Development Cohort. The cohort program focused on soft skills and provided opportunities for small groups of students to interact with IT employers.
“After the fall cohort, I have been given the chance to network with industry professionals and am no longer worried about that at all,” she said of her job prospects.
"If I had realized how empowering school was I would have fought tooth and nail to do this years ago. I see school as my ticket out of poverty, and I have discovered that I love learning."
In 2015 Nee had an unpaid internship and was continuing to take courses toward her associate degree. Her short-term plans include preparing for industry certification exams; her long-term goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree.
“If I had realized how empowering school was I would have fought tooth and nail to do this years ago. I see school as my ticket out of poverty, and I have discovered that I love learning,” Nee said.