Empowered by Education

Empowered by Computer Education, Lisa Shines

By Yvette Scorse, Communications Associate

Lisa Brown
Confidence, joy, empowerment. Those are the qualities that shine when you speak to Lisa Brown and the themes that come up when she talks about Byte Back.

After completing Office Track last year at Shaw Library, Lisa applied for jobs she would never have considered before. She felt confident in herself and in her skills, and with good reason.

“I’m empowered having taken the 12 weeks of Office Track. … I needed Office Track to enhance my skills and get a better job and be more employable,” Lisa says.

Not only was she able to apply for more skilled jobs but she also felt sure of her capabilities when she was hired, first for a temporary job and now at her permanent salaried job. “Wow, I can do that!” she thought when she was hired for her first task of copying files onto hundreds of thumb drives.

“Byte Back has opened up possibilities and doors of opportunity for me – in jobs and in my quality of life,” Lisa says.

Months after Office Track and after being hired, she got added responsibility at her job, and she says, “All I could think was, ‘Excel spreadsheets.’” Since she was a kid, Lisa has been self-sufficient, ready to learn new skills and take care of herself. So when she bumped into a former Byte Back classmate, she jumped at the news that Byte Back was enrolling students in the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) in Excel course. The timing was just right.

She began searching online and calling Byte Back IT Academy to see if there were spots left in the class. There were just a couple left, and Lisa was accepted!

She started the MOS Excel course in July, training for the Excel specialist certification exam. The opportunity to reenter the classroom thrills her. “Education is fun. It’s all about attitude. I’ve always loved to learn,” Lisa says. She has “determination and drive to learn,” her instructor Andrew Quilpa says.

“Education is the key to everything,” Lisa says. As she’s studying, she’s constantly thinking of new ways to use Excel to organize supply ordering, facilities, and databases at her current position as an administrative assistant at Maryland Youth Ballet.

Lisa Brown (2) computer 2“I’m always thinking of different ways to report or present options, to look more professional and prepare me for something better than what I’m doing now,” Lisa says, showing her ambition.

She doesn’t just use Excel at work. She loves it so much that she’s using a spreadsheet to track guests for her dad’s 80th birthday party in September.

By that time she’ll be finishing her Excel course at Byte Back. Like so many students, surprised at how the Byte Back experience stands out compared to their other educational experiences, Lisa is so grateful that she wants to give back.

“It’s a really positive community to be a part of,” she says about the atmosphere at Byte Back.

She hopes her Excel training will give her the boost in qualifications to return to the hospitality industry, eventually working in concierge services and maybe someday running her own bed and breakfast. “I’m empowered to do something!” she recently said when she delivered a speech to summer 2015 Byte Back graduates.

“The skills you are learning here, they will take you far,” she told the graduates. She encourages her classmates and fellow alumni to “take what we’ve learned and help other people” – spread the word, tell our story, and volunteer our time and resources.

“You learned here, you also have a chance to give back,” Lisa said.

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