Meet Austin Menges, This Week’s Graduate Spotlight!
Prior to starting at WVJC, Austin Menges had never attended college. He worked at a small, locally owned Restaurant while also attending vocational school and high school. He said it was a very daunting task, but he was able to push through to make it to college here at WVJC. He chose WVJC because of the small class sizes and specialized courses.
Since he came from a small school with class sizes between 15-20 students per grade, he said a larger college did not appeal to him because he didn’t want to be lost in a sea of students. He chose WVJC because the specialized courses fit his outlook on his career, and he wouldn’t be taking unrelated classes compared to what my degree was in.
Austin chose the Information Technology program because while attending vocational school, he had taken some similar coursework that interested him. He stated he really enjoyed the IT field in high school and wanted to continue studying to get his degree in the field. Austin’s biggest deciding factor for coming to WVJC was the accelerated coursework. He didn’t want to spend the next 4-5 years in college before entering the field of Information Technology.
Austin’s favorite part of attending WVJC was the small class sizes. He said it made the courses seem very personalized and made it easier to get to know the instructors and his classmates and make those lasting connections. He also liked that the small class sizes made the support structure of the courses easier to navigate, as it felt more casual to ask a classmate or instructor any questions he had.
Austin’s favorite teacher is a tie between Bobby Viands and Robin Addis, although he noted that one general education teacher (“Hi Dustin!”) might get mad at him for his picks. He was sad to hear that Bobby moved to a different campus but was grateful to learn from him during his time in Bobby’s classes. When talking about his time in Robin’s classes, he stated she always made the class fun and engaging by making sure most of the work was done with hands-on examples. Even when Robin was sick, she was sure to give it her all and made sure her students were still getting an amazing education.
Now that Austin has graduated, he is working as a Systems Engineer/Systems Administrator at Fairmont State University, where he has his own office and can work remotely when he needs to. He also works as a Web Administrator for a local business and organization. In five years, he hopes to see himself earning his bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity and possibly a few more degrees and certifications from WVJC. He is confident earning those degrees will help further his career and make him feel more fulfilled as a person—his end goal after his schooling is to land a job as a Cyber Security Analyst.
In his spare time, Austin is heavily involved in SkillsUSA in multiple states and on the national level. SkillsUSA is a nonprofit national education association serving middle-school, high-school, and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical, and skilled service occupations. It helps each and every student excel in their respective fields. He is also part of the state staff of Pennsylvania as a Courtesy Corps Leader for SkillsUSA. In West Virginia, he is the Chair and Judge for multiple competitions within SkillsUSA and assists with the Courtesy Corps National Team at the National level.
Austin’s favorite memory from his time at WVJC was the holiday party. He said it came at a great time since he and his classmates had just finished taking their last and most challenging certification* test (which most passed with flying colors), and Robin had decided the students should do a white elephant gift exchange and a potluck of sorts. He said the best part was that the party gave the new students a chance to talk and ask questions to the graduating students before they went off into the workforce.
When asked if Austin would refer a friend to WVJC, he said he already has! It is hard to go wrong between the specialized, accelerated courses and small class sizes. Plus, having the option of online classes that are still hands-on is a flexible option for those who cannot attend classes during the work day.
To learn more about accelerated IT classes like Austin, Request Information here!
*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding certification exam.