"Hands down, I wouldn't be where I am now without my St. Ambrose degree. I found a job in IT shortly after graduation because my education provided me with so many different experiences. The liberal arts opened my mind, and I gained the ability to really listen and communicate with different people."
You can't argue the value of an education based in the liberal arts, no matter which Computer Information Sciences program you pursue. It enriches your experience on campus and in the world – now and in the future – and most importantly, you gain those especially important "soft skills" employers crave in new hires and those they repeatedly promote, like Kelly.
Kelly is the supervisor of Systems Administration at Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal, financial services company focused on helping its members, and the communities in which they live, succeed. Since joining Modern Woodmen, she's been promoted three times and now leads the team that ensures the company's large portfolio of enterprise software is always secure and up-to-date.
Why Computer Information Sciences at SAU?
Pick one major, or even two. We offer programs in Computer Science, Computer Network Administration, and Cybersecurity. And, through our 4+1 pathway, you can also earn a master's in IT Management. "The CIS Department was great; it's smaller which means you get to work with your classmates more and learning becomes much more personal when you can troubleshoot issues together. I remember there was one really tough class and we all struggled, but we struggled through it together, and we all passed – as a community."
How did the liberal arts enrich your education?
Kelly didn't choose her major until her junior year and spent her first two years exploring the liberal arts. "Those electives opened up my mind and gave me the ability to think differently," she says. Kelly gained insight into different religions, learned ways to convey emotion through art, how to seek solutions using critical thought, and the skill of active listening.
What skills do you call on the most?
"Leadership skills go along with working in groups, and we did a lot of that in my IT courses. Through communication classes, I learned to listen to really understand what the task was, how to communicate with different people within a group, and to delegate as needed. I call on all of those skills as a supervisor every day," Kelly says.
What was the value of your SAU education?
"My IT courses involved group work as well as real-life experiences, like figuring out how to configure a switch to work on a network. I learned how to listen, how to communicate with different communication styles, and how to delegate. All of those things, combined with the value system I gained at SAU – to be kind, care about others and help each other out – I carried to Modern Woodmen where we are all about helping our members and communities. It has played a big part in the progression of my career."