Celebrating Community at My First Graduation


Byte Back Intern Finds Inspiration at 2019 Summer Graduation 

Guest Blog by Monica Essig Aberg, development intern

Monica Essig AbergMonica is a student at Georgetown University currently serving as Byte Back’s Development Intern. She shares her experience attending Byte Back’s Summer Graduation for the first time. 


Graduating is a special achievement in anyone’s life. But as a new Byte Back intern in the crowd at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, I realized that Byte Back Graduation is unique. It is about more than individual success; it is a celebration of community. 

Monica attends graduation.

Over the course of the ceremony, I realized that each student has a unique set of obstacles to overcome as they strive for living-wage careers. Jasmine Isaac, the youngest graduate, shared that she was close to giving up at one point in her journey.  

“I felt like I wasn’t progressing as fast as I should,” she confessed. “felt that I wasn’t capable enough to call myself an IT specialist one day.” It was conversation with Byte Back staff member that gave Jasmine the determination to keep going.  

Jasmine passed her CompTIA A+ certification exam on the first try. 

See all the pics from our Summer 2019 Graduation here >>

Jasmine speaks at graduation.

The Byte Back community is an important resource that helps students overcome these challenges, and it is a resource Jasmine was grateful for. The dedication of the entire community was evident on Graduation night in the energy and optimism of supporters and classmates.  

One guest rushed to the venue after work, excited to arrive in time to watch her aunt cross the stage. Instructors congratulated their students as they shared accomplishments. Graduate Tyrone Chapelle’s story of resilience was met with whooping cheers and whistles. The enthusiasm was palpable all evening. I couldn’t help but smile and cry and cheer along with supporters as they celebrated each other.  

This enthusiastic community is integral to the success of students, and that is why the Byte Back staff work every day to build a reliable support system.  

Graduates nodded eagerly as Elizabeth Lindsey described next steps. Whether through career services support, tutoring for certification exams, or advice from fellow alumni, the Byte Back network remains there to support each other – long after graduation.  

As an alumna, Jasmine stays involved by shopping with Byte Back’s Amazon Smile page and encouraging alumni to volunteer and donate. The Alumni Network ensures that graduates have the resources to pursue living-wage careers as well as the ability to give back to this community. 

Graduation is a beautiful opportunity to celebrate the exciting accomplishments of students as well as the unending support of the entire Byte Back family. If you weren’t at Graduation this year, I encourage you to stop by for the winter ceremony.