Featured Learner - John MacLean
A lot of people rely on Peirce student John MacLean's information technology skills. As Deputy Director, Emergency Management for IT and Emergency Communications for the City of Philadelphia, John is frequently called upon to deal with a wide range of public safety issues.
While his professional expertise had increased over the years, John wanted to take it to the next level. In September 2005, he enrolled as a full time student in Peirce's Information Technology program. Looking back, John said that at the time he seriously questioned his resolve to finish the program he had just begun. John not only remained committed to the program, upon completion of his associate degree, he decided to pursue his Bachelor's of Science in Information Technology-a goal he will realize this June.
He credits the flexibility of Peirce's course structure as a major benefit. "I took classes at the main campus, online and at a cluster site just two blocks from my home in Northeast Philadelphia," he said. "Plus, the ease of working with Peirce's financial aid department about qualifications for certain grant and loan programs really helped." John was a 2006 Peirce Information Technology Scholarship recipient, and has taken advantage of Peirce's Protect and Serve Grant, which serves military veterans, first responders and their families.
John didn't have to wait until graduation to put the skills he learned in his courses into practice. "In many cases I have been able to learn new skills in class at night and apply them at work the very next day," he said. "Applying what I learned was not isolated to the courses in my major either. I now understand why a well-rounded educational approach is required for degree programs. I used to ask myself why do I need to take a course in public speaking, or economics, in order to work in Information Technology? Now I see how the pieces all fit together."
John's advice to fellow students is to remain determined and self confident that they can succeed in their courses, and not to look too far down the path leading to their degree. He recommends focusing on the work required for each class that week. "Don't think about all that you have to do up until week seven when you're in week two," he added.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the program for John was his frequent conversations with his advisor, Patti Blacker. "She was always able to make me see the path forward and encouraged me to keep working towards the goal," he said. "Lean on your adviser to help you set the path for your courses and the course schedule," he emphasized. John also pointed to how impressed he is with the level of enthusiasm each of his professors has for teaching.
A husband and a father to three young daughters, John says, "They have supported me greatly with encouragement throughout my studies and they are the reason I decided to attend college in the first place."