A friendly and familiar face on TU’s campus, Devon Stock – senior cybersecurity and computer science, network systems administration double major – knows his way around a computer. This is certainly good news for everyone else, because when another member of the Dragon family experiences tech issues, he’s often the one who comes to the rescue. As a full-time employee through the Ellucian Company as well as a busy college student, Devon often has a lot on his plate. According to him, though, he wouldn’t have it any other way, and loves his University community so much, he’s already committed to returning for his master’s degree next year.
“Once I graduate this spring, I plan to return for my MS in cybersecurity,” he began. “I’ve enjoyed my time spent here very much, and have had a positive experience, overall, so it seems like the right decision. Speaking as both a student and an employee, I’m always surprised by how nice everyone is, even when their computers won’t cooperate with them,” he said with a laugh. “Everybody on campus – whether it’s President Schumacher or someone I’ve only just met – is so warm and friendly. Having that sense of community is important to me.”
In addition to his on-campus clientele, Devon also finds his coworkers and supervisors through Ellucian to be outstanding, and notes that it’s due to their flexibility with his schedule and understanding nature that he’s able to juggle being a full-time employee as well as a full-time student.
“My supervisor and I worked out an arrangement where I can leave work to attend one class per day, and I also have the option to substitute my lunch hour for another class if I want,” he offered. “My schedule is stressful at times, but my Ellucian team is supportive and understanding, so even when things get hectic – when I work all day, only to go home and do homework for hours at night – I know I’ll be okay. My professors are nothing but accommodating, too.”
Devon continued this thought, citing an example of just how accommodating the faculty at TU can be.
“Ellucian is a third-party contracted company and serves college campuses all over the country,” Devon explained. “Last October, my supervisor told me I was needed at an Ellucian school in North Carolina for a week or so, and at first, I was worried about having to miss class. Turns out I didn’t need to be, because my professors allowed me to attend their lectures remotely for the week I was away on work, and this was after the worst of the pandemic, when TU had already returned to regularly hosting seated classes.”
For Devon, being able to work through and study at the same institution has proved beneficial, especially with providing him real-world professional experience.
“We’ll talk about a new software or coding technique in one of my classes, and the next day, I may very well be using what I’ve learned to help someone troubleshoot their own tech issue,” he offered. “I was even able to have my regular work hours count toward the internship I’m required to complete for my degree. My hope is that by the time I’m done with my MS, I’ll already have several years of relevant experience under my belt, so that breaking into my field will be a little easier.”
For Devon, the ultimate goal is to work in the cybersecurity field, protecting Fortune 500 companies like Google or Dell from cyberattacks and threats to personal or confidential information. As far as he’s concerned, the education he has received at TU has been top-notch and is excited to continue learning at the graduate level this fall.
“No program is perfect, but ours is about as close as they come,” he said. “My professors are knowledgeable, patient and each of them brings real-world expertise to the classes they teach. I think that’s especially valuable to me as a student – knowing that what I’m learning has been industry-tested by professionals-turned-professors. More than anything, it’s reassuring to see that the faculty and staff truly care about their students and that they succeed. I see them working hard every day to improve and update their curriculums. IT is an ever-changing field. As new tech is developed, professionals need to take licensure recertification coursework to stay current, and my professors are always finding ways to continue their own education so they can more effectively pass that onto us. It’s great to see and makes me feel more confident in my ability to succeed after I graduate.”
For more information on TU’s cybersecurity major, visit tiffin.edu/cybersecurity. To learn more about the computer science, network systems administration degree program, visit tiffin.edu/computer-science-network-systems-administration.