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Success By Degrees

Nuraj Maskey: Education from Around the World

NurajMaskeyBorn in Kathmandu, Nepal and completing high school in Singapore, Nuraj Maskey has traveled the world in search of a better education.  With many miles behind him, Maskey continued his education at North Lake College in Dallas, Texas and Texas A&M University-Commerce.  He is a student rich in global culture, an enthusiast for outdoor sports, and a lover of technology.

“I have always been determined to learn as much as I can,” Maskey said.  This determination prompted him to complete his Associate of Science Transfer degree from North Lake College of the Dallas Community College System in 2009.

“The community college offered friendly instructors, smaller classes, and a flexible class schedule,” he said.  “I was impressed that my credit hours held the same level of recognition as university classes and could be easily transferred.”

To further his studies, Nuraj transferred to Texas A&M University-Commerce.  In fact, he received the University Transfer Scholarship in recognition of his high grade point average at North Lake College. “The affordable classes and scholarship helped me to save funds for higher education at the university level,” he said.

While at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Maskey continued his pursuit for quality education, extracurricular activities, and a career in technology.  He brought to the campus his culture and love for sports.  Nuraj founded the Nepalese Student Association and led his soccer team to become Intramural Champion of 2011.  Nuraj went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in computer science.

North Lake College provided core classes such as speech, philosophy, and government to help Nuraj prepare for the real world.  TAMU-Commerce furthered his fascination with computers and technology.  Both contributed to Nuraj’s pursuit for an education from around the world.

“I didn’t know anything about computers before I came to A&M-Commerce,” Nuraj said. “Within a year I learned how to program in various computer languages.”

Currently, he is an applications developer specializing in programming and software development for a leading U.S. company. “Technology makes human life easy. It is the complex science behind technology that fascinates me so much that I want to learn more,” he said.

Jonathan Karp: A Leader in the Making

JonathanKarpAs a child growing up in a military family moving from town to town, Jonathan Karp learned to adjust to his surroundings and connect to people everywhere he went.  There was just something special about him – a natural ability to serve and lead others.  His parents continued to cultivate that natural ability by instilling in him the Red Raiders spirit of Texas Tech University and the qualities of education, service, and leadership.  Unknowingly, Jonathan would soon become a leader in the making.

After high school, Jonathan nurtured his passion for service and education while as a student at South Plains College.

However, his passion for education and service did not stop at the community college.  Karp transferred to Texas Tech University for his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management.  “I chose a career in Marketing and Management because I’m good at marketing my community service projects to attract people to participate,” he said.  “I have a strong passion for helping others.”Plains College.  Jonathan learned the importance of service learning at his local community college by participating in projects such as C.A.S.A. for Kids and American Diabetes Association Walk.  He was able to get to know his professors and gain advice to help him succeed academically.  His community college experience was invaluable because he benefited from affordable tuition while completing his Associate’s degree and connecting with professors.

While at Texas Tech, Jonathan exhibited leadership as Vice President of the Society for the Advancement of Management and Red Raider Orientation Transfer Ambassador.  He was also recognized for his academic and leadership performance.  He received the President’s Silver Merit Scholarship and was inducted in Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society.  Jonathan also achieved the Dean’s list in the Fall and Spring of 2010, Fall of 2012, and Spring of 2013.

As a leader in the making, Jonathan realizes that his success in leadership, education, and service was because of his parents.  “Both of my parents never got the chance to get a higher education so I do my best so that I can have a better life and a great career. I believe that the more you know, the further you go,” said Karp.

Jonathan recommends that every transfer student should work hard at achieving their degree because hard work pays off significantly.  “It is awesome to look back and see how the great things accomplished will prepare you for a better future,” he said.

His future is better because of his leadership, service, and commitment to education.  Jonathan expects to graduate from Texas Tech University this spring 2013 and will soon enroll in the International Business MBA program at TTU.  “I must continue on at TTU because it is my family’s favorite school and football team. Red and black run in my veins.”

Chris Baylor: Focus on Purpose

ChrisBaylorWith a decade-long career in the United States Navy and another 10 years in information technology completed, Chris Baylor has now set his sights on accomplishing something even greater – focusing on his purpose.  Photography started out as an experience in high school and just an elective at Collin College, but eventually became a full time business that prompted a love for education.  As a father of three and husband, Chris Baylor’s focus on purpose is an example for future students that education can bring life back full circle.

Once Chris picked up the camera again after completing his successful military career, he knew he had to learn more about photography in order to relate to his clients and subjects more.  While at Collin College in Plano, Texas, Chris worked with the professors to learn of the history and psychology of photography.

“I had some great professors that took time outside of studio and class to give me the tools and resources to be successful,” Baylor said.  “They saw my potential and talent and are part of the people that continue to shape the person that I am still becoming.”

His professors at Collin College, many of whom were Texas A&M University-Commerce alumni, encouraged him to continue his study of photography.   After hearing great things about the university, Chris decided to work with the Veterans Affairs and Admissions department to transfer his core curriculum classes.

“My experience at Collin was well spent and hard earned,” Chris said.  “It prepared me for success at Texas A&M University-Commerce.”

His educational journey continues as he completes his Bachelor of Science degree in Photography.  While at TAMU-Commerce, Chris serves as the athletic photographer covering all sporting events for the university.  In addition, his photography has garnered acclaim.  Chris secured his first national magazine assignment with shooting the cover and editorial imagery set.  He also provided images for the Formula One World Championship Round 19 and the Inaugural United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.  Some of Baylor’s images were even selected by an international magazine.

As owner of Christopher Baylor Photography, his purpose is to focus on the uniqueness and beauty of the people, places, and things that he captures.  “I have found what I was meant to do and the fact that I will have a degree in the field that I have chosen to dedicate my heart and energy into is so undeniable,” Baylor said.

Reflecting back on his life, Chris realizes he had many career paths but the one that finally chose him was photography.  “Funny thing about choosing a career path is that sometimes you pick what you think you want to do and other times the right path is presented to you and you just have to follow it,” he said.

Is it not funny that education can bring life back full circle when students seek to focus on purpose?

Oluwaseun Samuel: Distance becomes an opportunity instead of a challenge

For Oremosu, the trip was worth the wait.Oluwaseun SamuelFull

Origionally from Nigeria, Oremosu came to the United States to study through a Visa.  He started at the University of Houston but the travel proved to be a challenge.  “The commercial buses won’t reach my apaprtment… I was getting late to class and always tired.”  His advisor talked to him about transferring to a closer option, Houston Community College, which turned out to be a great opportunity.

While there Oremosu was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa, which helped him get scholarships to the University of Texas – Pan American and help make the transfer process easy.  “Phi Theta Kappa encouraged me in making quick decisions and my transition easier.  It boosted my courage and reduced a lot of burden.”

He currently majors in Electrical Engineering and will graduate in December of 2011.

His advice to other international students?  “Try to have a prior understanding of the potential college.”, he says.  His advisors at both community college and the university were essential to the transfer as well as support from Phi Theta Kappa.

His last word of advice, “Be focused and hardworking.  Sometimes along the line unexpected help might come.”

Fred Vernon: Long road and long hours

FredVernonFullFor Fred Vernon the path to becoming a successful Lamar University student has been a winding one.

A junior accounting major, he hopes to eventually become a partner after completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Lamar University.

“It’s been great. I’m learning about business. I’m learning about myself. One of the senior partners is a Lamar University graduate. He’s been working with me a lot, teaching me about business and coaching me along the way,” Vernon said.

Not all of the jobs Vernon has held since graduating from Memorial High School have related as directly to his long-term goals. After high school, Vernon started going to welding school at night while working as a welder during the day.

He saved his money and enrolled full time at Tyler Junior College. The money didn’t stretch as far as he had hoped. After two semesters he was back home, getting certified in combination welding and going back to work as a welder while going to school at Lamar State College-Port Arthur and San Jacinto College to become a certified welding inspector. “Toward the end, I decided I can’t keep doing this. I don’t want to work outside in the heat. I didn’t know I wanted to do accounting yet, but I knew I had a knack for business,” Vernon said.

He completed a degree at Lamar State College-Port Arthur and transferred to Lamar University. He decided to major in accounting because of his strong performance in his first two accounting classes and the encouragement of Ann Watkins, chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Law.

Vernon cites the approachability and availability of faculty and staff as one of his favorite things about Lamar University. “I believe when people see someone who is driven and ambitious and has a well-defined goal, people are eager and willing to help someone like that,” Vernon said.

Vernon expects to be the first in his family to graduate from college. In addition to pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting, he plans to complete his MBA and Master of Science in Accounting degrees at Lamar University. He credits God and his mother as two of the reasons he has achieved what he has so far. “The work ethic and discipline she instilled in us as children at that age has undoubtedly made an impact.”