For many college students, the immediate choice to make following graduation is to either attend graduate school or to enter the workplace, but SHSU Class of 2010 graduate Brittany Wilbert decided to do both.
After obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Computing Science degree, Wilbert says she received two potentially life-changing messages on the same afternoon: an offer for a full-time position with an IT security company, and a letter of acceptance into the Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security program through SHSU Online.
“I knew that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree, but I was afraid if I waited, I would be too involved in my career and other aspects of my life, and I wouldn’t be able to go back,” she says. “I think that happens with a lot of students, and I didn’t want to second guess myself; I knew it was something I wanted to do, and SHSU Online made it possible for me.”
Wilbert received her undergraduate degree in May 2010, and began her online master’s degree in August 2010.
Wilbert says she was able to immediately apply information technology practices derived from her undergraduate degree into her work responsibilities, as well as advanced studies simultaneously while attending class online.
While pursuing her undergraduate degree on campus, Wilbert received personalized guidance from Dr. Lei Chen, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, and says the nature of Dr. Chen’s student communication assisted her in the transition to taking online courses.
“Dr. Chen was always someone who sent frequent notifications to his students, so there wasn’t much change, other than physically seeing him in class,” she says. “I’ve been in his classes since my undergraduate degree, and now as a graduate student, he has led me through my master’s project by giving me advice and assisting me in submitting papers to conferences.”
Wilbert cites her parents, Mark and Alfrieda, as one of the driving forces encouraging her to further her education, but her experience as a young woman adapting to a 40-hour work week while taking full-time classes required her to adjust quickly.
“As a young woman in a career field that has a low representation of women in the industry, being able to use the knowledge I learned at SHSU has given me the strength to understand there will be difficulties, but earning this degree will show I can do computer science related work as well as any of my male colleagues,” she says. “Understanding that you have to give yourself time beyond working to take care of your schoolwork and realizing the investment I made in myself keeps me wanting to continue to be successful.”
Wilbert is scheduled to graduate in the Summer 2014 term.
Visit http://distance.shsu.edu to find out more about the online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security program offered through SHSU Online, and see what you can do to get started today!