Jacquelyn Johnson would be “pounding pavement in a parking lot” as a hospital security guard if it wasn’t for a high school teacher encouraging her to consider networking. The high school she attended offered Cisco courses as an elective, and Jacquelyn started taking these classes her sophomore year and continued throughout her senior year. It was during her senior year that she didn’t have many required courses to take so working as an office aide was an option. “This particular teacher told me to hold off signing up for one of those positions [and] that he was trying to get it approved for a student to assist him with the computers on the campus with the restriction being that they had to have completed at least one of the Cisco courses and be enrolled in a Cisco course that year as well.” As a result, the position was approved by the school and Jacquelyn became the first official network aide in the district. This new position entailed replacing, diagnosing, fixing and reinstalling computers.
As a network aide, Jacquelyn had the opportunity to discuss matters with her teacher regarding her after-high school goals and a simple comment made during one of their discussions thrust Jacquelyn into the world of information technology. “When I made the comment to my teacher that I didn’t know what I would do after high school, he said that I should go to LSC (Lone Star College) – Montgomery and see what they had for networking.” Because of Jacquelyn’s financial challenges, her teacher offered to help her apply for scholarships and financial aid. “I believe my teacher felt that I was good for networking and the IT field based on how well I did in the courses that he taught as well as the work that I did as a network aide.”
Jacquelyn wasn’t familiar with computer science; however, while attending Lone Star College, a professor in hardware appeared so enthusiastic about his Python class that he sparked her interest in taking his course. “So, I took his class my next semester and said this is my dream. In programming, it does exactly what you tell it to,” she explained.
Programming had such an impact on Jacquelyn that she switched from Networking to Computer Science and is now pursing her Bachelor’s in Computer Science at Lone Star. She credits her professors and faculty at Lone Star for helping prepare her for the transition from a two-year to a four-year degree by making certain that she was taking classes that were transferable. “I just want to say thank you to Lone Star College Montgomery and all my professors and teachers that have helped get me to where I am right now.” Jacquelyn admits that she interacts with a lot of her teachers and professors, and they often become excited about her enthusiasm and interest. She considered social networking more than Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but an interaction with actual people, establishing a long-standing connection.
As for Jacquelyn’s goals after college, “Short term goals? I just want to finish. Long-term goals, I have this idea where it incorporates bio-med with programming and it’s going to be available at your house, which will be fantastic.”