Alumni Spotlight - December 2015: Valrie Coley-Wallace
School of Computer Studies
1) Which programme(s) did you pursue at Excelsior Community College and when?
I pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) from 2010 to 2014 (ASc. MIS 2010-2012 and BSc. MIS 2012-2014)
2) Why did you choose your programme of study at Excelsior Community College?
The field of Information Technology requires that you continuously upgrade your skills. Having decided that this field was my career choice, I knew I had to put myself at a level where I would have to be on par with the best in my field and in the world, in order to be marketable. To achieve this feat I would have to pursue higher education at an institution where I could afford the cost and at the same time, acquire the best knowledge that was available. With this mindset I chose to pursue my course of studies at Excelsior Community College (ECC) because two of the best programmers I know, at some point in their studies, attended ECC.
To solidify my choice of institution, my daughter attended ECC where she completed her first year of Business Administration in the ECC/UTech programme and she had many praises for the instructors and management at the institution.
3) What is most memorable about the programme?
What I find most memorable about the programme was the way in which I was assisted by the instructors. The cadre of instructors that I was lucky enough to have, in my eyes, is the best ever. They were always available to guide you where guidance was necessary, in courses where you had to do hands on work (eg. Advanced Networking and Introduction to Telecommunications). Students were instructed on real world scenarios and given the opportunity to work with equipment being utilized in the working world. As such, you became familiar with what you were doing and become capable of assisting at the workplace. With these advantages, learning became easy (to me that is) and, therefore, for my four years at ECC, I was fortunate to make the honor roll each year, copping eight (8) awards, scholarships and Student of the Year 2014.
4) What are you currently doing career-wise?
Presently I am the Web Administrator / Graphic Artist at COK Sodality Co-operative Credit Union Limited with a view of pursuing a Master’s Degree in the near future.
5) How do you think the programme helped in advancing your career?
I am more rounded in my career, having completed the programme at ECC, so advance is this programme that I was able to apply knowledge acquired during my studies to areas outside of my field. I recall sitting in a meeting and was able to introduce emotional intelligence to the persons in meeting, much thanks to Mr. Canute Henry who taught me Organizational Behaviour. The knowledge gained from psychology class enabled me to better understand behaviours that I encounter on a daily basis, Thank you Mrs. Walters.
In the pursuit of a Master’s Degree I can see the advantage I will have in that course of study, thanks to the programme I already did at ECC.
6) In what way if any, would you like to see the programme change or grow?
Presently, I am satisfied with the programme as it is, given the fact that new courses were added during my third year at ECC. As such the most recent programming languages are included in the programme. However, the only change I would like to see in the near future is for final year students in the programme to be given the chance to specialize, given the fact that some students do want to specialize in a particular area. For instance a budding programmer may want to focus more on programming in final year rather than doing networking while a networking student may want to focus more on networking rather than writing programming codes. There is always room for growth and presently the Head of School and programme coordinators are doing a fine job. I have no doubt that the programme will grow from strength to strength.
7) What challenges did you have during the programme and how did you overcome them?
Minor financial and academic challenges were experienced during the programme, however, a quick trip to the Student Affairs Office and consultation with the instructors quickly overcame these challenges.
8) What advice would you give to current students in the prgramme?
My advice to current student in the programme would be to stay focused, and follow instructions. ECC provides the medium through which you can become the best in your field as such, aim to be the best you can be; take advice and follow instructions and the sky will be the limit for you.
The library and the internet should be your best friends as well as whatever it is that will keep you awake to do your assignment as these must be handed in on time to maximize on your grade. Prioritize, and in so doing your studies should be at the top of your list.
Never feel too big or so much of a “know-it-all” that you do not ask for assistance and help where and when you need it, for this will be to your benefit. Be disciplined and have respect.
I have done it, so can you.
9) Any final thoughts?
My final thoughts would be to publicly say thanks to one of the best set of instructors at one of Jamaica's finest tertiary institutions. I pray I do not leave anyone out, however, a big thank you to the following persons who contributed greatly to my career today: The late Dr. Earl Buckle, the late Mr. Canute Henry, the late Mr. Donaldo Boreland, Mr. Philmore McCarthy, Ms. Janice Murray, Mrs. Naomi Jacobs, Mrs. Marlene Campbell, Mrs. Carol Grant-Walters, Mr. Christopher Rose, Mr. Oral Robinson, Mr. Joseph Smith, Mr. Robin Clarke, Mrs. Constance Curriah, Mrs. Gwyneth Jackson, Mrs. Briget Scott, Mrs. Jacqulyn Robinson-Hunter, Mr. Rolando Russell, Mr. Raymond Forrest, Mr. Horrett Scarlett, Mrs. Hyacinth Foster-Brackett, Ms. Polli-Anna Brown, Mrs. Carol Williams, Mrs. Gaye Campbell, Mr. Odvar Clunie, Mr. Robert Rowe and Ms. Angela Donaldson.
I couldn't have done it without the input of all these fine instructors and staff of Excelsior Community College.