Anyone who questions the power of persistence should meet Jalisa Parr. This young mother and Army veteran has overcome every obstacle thrown her way. Although she had extensive technical experience as an Army Signal Support Systems Specialist, finding work after leaving the military was near impossible.
“Each time I applied for a job, they kept saying to me, ‘I’m sorry, you don’t have a degree,’” says Jalisa.
Attracted by the opportunity to attend school year-round and graduate in 2.5 years, Jalisa enrolled at ECPI University. While the GI Bill certainly made it possible to attend college, paying her bills was a different matter. Faced with balancing time between studies and her two-year old son, she accepted a job with a janitorial service cleaning the very classrooms she occupied as a student.
For the past two and a half years, Jalisa attended class from 5:30 to 10:30 pm, then immediately began her shift cleaning the campus until 2:30 am. Up by 6:30 am to care for her son, she spent the day studying and napping whenever he did.
Now, all her hard work has paid off. Even before Jalisa walked across the stage to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Network Security, she had already secured a job. In fact, she never really had a chance to look for one. Before she could, ECPI University’s IT director decided that this was one graduate he was keeping for himself.
“Jalisa had been in our work study program and I quickly saw how courteous and thoughtful she is,” says ECPI University IT Director Julian Aiken. “She’s a quick learner and has a great passion for IT, plus she is great with people.”
As for her position with the cleaning company, Jalisa is no longer there. “I am very grateful for the opportunity they gave me,” she says. “I love everyone there, but I was thrilled when I was finally able to quit!”