10:56 AM

The Voice in Her Head Said Go for It

Jill Owens, AAS in CybersecurityOne day Jill Owens was watching Houston’s ABC News channel when a report aired about The Kolbe School of Innovation and Professional Studies’ new, two-year cybersecurity program with a free-tuition semester. The travel consultant had just been laid off due to COVID cutbacks. With optimism, she thought, “People in cybersecurity aren’t getting laid off; maybe it’s time for a change.” Owens became part of The Kolbe School’s historical first cohort and graduated with her AAS in Cybersecurity in December 2022.

“The free-tuition semester and the 100% online flexibility persuaded me,” the resilient wife and mother recalled. “The voice in my head said, ‘Go for it.’”

Owens is glad she listened to that voice.

“Oh my God, the experience was so wonderful,” she said. “They split the semester up into two classes followed by two classes. It was so doable. That pushed me to my second semester.”

Fantastic Support for Students

Owens described fantastic support from The Kolbe School team.

“We had job tours at companies and workshops for time management and interviewing skills. The hands-on approach kept me there until the finish line.”

She further described her University of St. Thomas experience as having “people walking with you every step of the way.”

New Skills Got Her Re-Hired

“I feel prepared by this experience,” she continued. “I’m ready. I have the tools to succeed.”

As her studies progressed, Owens became increasingly enthusiastic about the field of cybersecurity, especially penetration testing. So, she is seriously considering transferring to UST’s B.A. program for cyber.

Meanwhile, the travel management company that had to lay her off has re-hired her to use her in-demand configuration and programming skills in their product technology department.