Sandburg’s Information & Communication Technology Programs Prepared DeFord to ‘Figure Things Out’

  Aaron Frey
  Wednesday, May 15, 2019 4:42 PM
  Campus News

Galesburg, IL

Jay DeFord came to Carl Sandburg College because his tuition would be free through the Galesburg Promise program.

Three years later, when he crosses the stage Thursday at Sandburg’s 51st Commencement, he’ll walk away with a solid return on his investment: three certificates and an associate in applied science degree through the College’s information and communication technology programs.

DeFord earned a computer support associate certificate in 2017 and a computer technician certificate in 2018. This year, he’ll add a network security associate certificate and an AAS degree in IT/LAN network security to his name.

“This program, if it’s prepared us for one thing, it’s to figure things out,” said DeFord, a 2016 Galesburg High School graduate. “There are a lot of times you’re going to encounter something you’ve never seen before, and you need to figure out how to do it.”

DeFord, admittedly a bit on the quiet side, also encountered stepping into a leadership role with the Sandburg Tech Squad the last two years — first as secretary and then as president.

“I’ve grown a lot since I’ve started here, and I’ve met a lot of people who have pushed me,” DeFord said. “When I first came here I didn’t really want to be involved in any extra stuff. But I’ve met a lot of people who have pushed me to do more things because not only does it help me, it helps other people.”

In addition to his classroom experience, DeFord has spent the last semester doing an internship with the IT department at Bridgeway to complete the requirements for his AAS. DeFord is uncertain if he’ll continue his schooling at a four-year university or go into the workforce, but he’s ready for what’s next thanks to what he’s learned in the classroom at Sandburg and on the job at Bridgeway.

“What I’ve found is you can know all this stuff, but without experience you won’t know how to do it,” DeFord said. “It’s like reading instructions without actually doing it. You can read the instructions and know the idea of it but not actually know how to put it together. It’s given me a foundation to understand and learn more from actual experience.”

Jay DeFord

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Aaron Frey