Student Success Story, Traci York
May 05, 2015
Traci York was supposed to graduate from high school in 1998, but she dropped out. She had a son and hopped from job to job for 10 years. It was then that she realized she needed to finish school. York wanted to be a role model for her boy. So in 2008 she obtained her GED and decided to go to college.
“I realized I needed to get focused and get my life together for myself and for my son,” York said. “How could I be a role model for him if I didn’t even have a high school diploma?”
York enrolled at Cuyahoga Community College’s Westshore Campus in 2011, and this spring, she will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in electrical-electronic engineering technology. In a few years, she should have a bachelor’s degree, too. She has been accepted to Pennsylvania State University’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) for its online security and risk analysis program with a concentration in cyber-security. This program would normally take three years for a part-time student, but since so many of her Tri-C general education course credits will transfer, she will be able to complete the Bachelor of Science degree program in two years. “I want to work in cyber-security because I want to catch the bad guys,” York said.
There are a few more gen ed classes she will need for her bachelor’s. She will be taking those courses at Tri-C, too. “I know my limitations and when to ask for help, and I know I cannot take an online math class,” York said. “So [Tri-C guidance counselor] Adam Zambetti is working with me so I can take those classes here at Tri-C and to be sure the credits will transfer and count toward the IST program at Penn State.”
York loves Tri-C and the Westshore Campus. She has been a student ambassador since 2012 and has participated in a co-op through Career Services with Padua Franciscan High School this past academic year.
“Working at Tri-C has been the best job I have ever had. The hours are perfect because they are flexible to work around my class schedule and my co-op, as well as my personal life. Balancing work and school with a family has been challenging, but I am grateful for my time as an ambassador. The co-op was a great way to get work experience in my field of study. And the faculty here are the best – so many of them are truly inspirational and they really do want to see you succeed.”
York admitted there were many times she wanted to throw in the towel and give up, but she would remind herself of how far she had come and how much time she had committed. “You have to know what you want, see the finish line, and keep pushing yourself toward it. In the end it’s totally worth it.”