Sam Woodard: Sullivan Louisville Alum of the MonthSam Woodard was selected as Alum of the Month from Sullivan University's Louisville campus. He was very humbled to have been chosen. "I feel that such an honor has always been for other people and it would never happen to me. So when I was contacted asking if I would accept the nomination, I was very surprised! The time since the end of March of this year has been a whirlwind of change, as I have taken a large step in changing careers from a long time airline mechanic to the IT field. To add this honor of being selected has increased my confidence in my decisions with moving forward. I greatly appreciate this opportunity," he said.
Sam completed his degree in System Support and Administration with Security option in 2012. He also received 3 certifications by the end of the program in CompTia A+, Net+, and Security+. He achieved the Microsoft Windows 7 system certification shortly after. He indicated, "The degree and certifications gave me a great starting point, in that I did not have actual job experience in IT; it showed potential employers that I was committed and serious in pursuing a job in the field and a new career path. I was encouraged by my wife to expand my limited self-taught knowledge of computers and systems to the next level."
We asked Sam about his most memorable experiences while attending Sullivan. He said, "My favorite things about Sullivan were the class environments, the instructors, and my fellow classmates which all became a small work force, so to speak. We got to know one another and developed professional connections outside of class. The way the courses are laid out before you at first seemed to be a challenge, but the instructors in-depth knowledge and guidance kept the group focused and on track. Within our class projects, our instructor allowed some extra curricular activities in the roles that each of us were responsible for, exploring beyond our tasks and encouraging us to push and experiment to our greatest potential," said Sam.
"My instructor Travis Tiller, played a big part in preparing me to enter into the IT field. His experience and guidance helped me greatly in preparing for interviews and identifying what employers were looking for. Todd White in Career Services were a great help with his network of contacts for jobs. This helped open the doors of opportunity that led me to my current position."
Sam is now working at Christian Care Communities as a System Support Specialist. He said, "The role covers help desk support to facilities throughout Kentucky that provide long term care to the elderly. The job covers many other aspects beyond what my course covered but it has already expanded into network support and upgrades which encompass CISCO level routing and network integration of network phone systems. The increase in my duties had prompted me to start the Network Administration course covering CISCO at Sullivan starting this summer quarter. The potential is open ended in this career path and with my employer."
Sam's advice for students is: "I look back and wish I had pushed out of my last career sooner. When contemplating such a career change, complacency places a large wall in front of you in the form of security, financial stability and day to day routine that you have grown to know and expect. Ask yourself what kind of toll this might be taking on you? Many factors can play into wanting a job change but take a look at what a career change might present. New opportunities, better family life, just might be the cure for a job that troubles you and can even influence your health. Accepting a pay less than your current level to start will weight heavily in your decisions to change but can prove beneficial more than you may realize. Compare that to you enjoying and challenging yourself when you go to work and feel the benefits of that, not only with your family but your physical well being. I have been in my new career for two months and my wife has seen a positive improvement in how I get up every morning along with feeling better by having less anxiety and stress.
Pick what you like, enroll in school, learn a new skill and then go out and apply your new knowledge."
Read about past alumni of the month