Stephanie Taillard discovered the right career after rerouting her educational path
Stephanie Taillard can still picture her family’s Dell desktop computer and hulking CRT monitor.
“My dad had this website blocker, and I remember figuring out how to get around that,” she said. “I wondered, what else can I do?”
It would take her a little while to answer that question.
After graduating from Normandy High School, the Parma native planned to become a pharmacist. Her high school chemistry teacher said she’d be good at it, and that was enough for her.
She enrolled at a four-year university and embarked on that path. But as time wore on, it wasn’t clicking.
“I had it drilled into my head that I needed to go to a four-year school. I felt pretty lost, though. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I was jumping between different things,” she said, adding that bills were piling up along the way.
Taillard regrouped. She thought about things she actually liked to do and looked for a way to test-drive some of them in class. Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) seemed like the perfect solution. She could dip her toes in different subjects without accumulating a bunch of debt.
“I remember making little websites and forums and message boards when I was younger,” she said. “I didn’t even think of it as work. That’s why it took me a couple of years to get into the field. I didn’t associate it with a job.”
She ended up enrolling in IT courses at the College.
“From the very first class I had in IT at Tri-C, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Taillard said.
Through the program, she secured an internship in Tri-C’s IT department. She graduated with an associate degree in networking hardware in August and now works full time at the College as a junior network technician.
“As soon as I started the internship, I met mentors and people I still talk to today,” she said. “I felt like I was meant to be there. I always liked the idea of working in a higher education environment. I am super happy about it.”
She continues to accumulate IT certifications at Tri-C and would like to earn a bachelor’s in an IT field.
During her studies, she felt supported every step of the way, meeting lots of people and developing a meaningful rapport with her professors. While she needed loans to cover her time at the four-year school, she paid for Tri-C out of pocket while working at Dunkin’ Donuts.
“I would recommend Tri-C to everyone — at least as a step along their path,” she said. “Tri-C changed my life. There’s no other way to describe it.”