Dixon Kiptoo Lives the American Dream, Finds his Future With Sandburg’s Computer Programs

  Aaron Frey
  Friday, March 27, 2020 3:45 PM
  Campus News

Galesburg, IL

Dixon Kiptoo grew up wanting the American dream. Now he’s living it.

A native of Eldoret, Kenya, Kiptoo came to the United States in 2018 when he joined the Carl Sandburg College men’s cross country team. He’ll graduate this spring with five certificates and an associate in applied science degree from Sandburg in just two years.

“Since I was young, I wanted to be in America to see the culture, the people,” Kiptoo said. “I had a dream since I was young to come here.”

Watching American movies and listening to American pop music (the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and Katy Perry are among his favorites) in Eldoret, Kiptoo fantasized about living in a large city across the Atlantic. While Galesburg won’t be confused with New York or Chicago anytime soon, it does remind him of life in Kenya.

“It’s just like back home because you have cornfields,” he joked.

He’s transitioned well to his new home, to say the least. Kiptoo has made the dean’s list each of his first three semesters at Sandburg. He also was named a 2018 Scholar All-American by the NJCAA Cross Country Coaches Association, earned a spot on the 2019 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team and received 2019 Academic All-Arrowhead Conference honors.

Kiptoo also earned certificates in computer technician and computer support associate in his first year at Sandburg. He’ll add network security associate, cybersecurity specialist and CISCO network security associate certificates as well as an IT/LAN & security specialist AAS this year. He also finds time to work in the Sandburg Tutoring Center.

Kiptoo originally planned to study nursing but soon switched to Sandburg’s information and communication technology programs, where he found common ground and a strong bond with instructor Dr. Suvineetha Herath, who also has spent time in Japan and the Middle East.

“She’s a great instructor. She understands me more than anyone because she is originally from Sri Lanka,” Kiptoo said. “She knows how difficult it is for international students to adjust to U.S. life, so she has been great helping me out a lot.”

Kiptoo hopes he can earn a scholarship to a four-year school to continue running cross country and earn a bachelor’s degree in information systems. Graduating from Sandburg this May, he said, “will be something big in my life.”

“I’m so grateful. So, so grateful,” Kiptoo said. “This gave me a chance to be in America and gave me a chance to get my American education. I know my future is going to be good, too, because of coming here.”

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Aaron Frey