KENNESAW, Ga. | May 10, 2021
When he was in ninth grade, Kennesaw State University student Samuel Wolde’s parents moved their family more than 12,000 miles from Ethiopia to Minnesota to provide their children with better educational and career opportunities.
“My parents left everything behind and sacrificed a lot to give us a better future,” said Wolde, who is now 25 years old. “Adjusting to the new culture, language, and this new world was challenging.”
This week Wolde is set to earn a Master’s of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) without ever having to travel the 750 miles between Kennesaw and where he now lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He credits the online program with providing the education he needs to advance his career, while fitting around his full-time work schedule.
After earning an information technology degree from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, Wolde went to work in live television for a time, before landing work as a network operations engineer. He then began looking for a master’s degree program with a goal of advancing into management.
“A lot of higher level IT management positions require at least a master's degree,” Wolde said. “That’s why getting a master’s is important to being competitive.”
Wolde first enrolled into an in-person master’s degree program in Pennsylvania and then another, but neither proved practical with his full-time work schedule.
“I had a long commute with an hour to work and then an hour back from work. The face-to-face programs I tried just didn’t fit,” Wolde said.
Still determined to earn a master’s degree, he began to research online MSIT programs and discovered Kennesaw State. He liked that the KSU program was affordable and enrolled, starting with one class in the summer of 2019.
Wolde said that with the regular interaction with professors and fellow students, the Kennesaw State MSIT program has the collaborative feel of traditional face-to-face learning with the online convenience he had to have.
Lei Li, assistant chair of the Department of Information Technology and director of the MSIT program, said Wolde’s situation is an important reason the program exists.
“There are many people like Samuel who need an online MSIT option and we believe we’ve been able to create a program that gives students a high quality education that they can afford and that they can fit into their lives,” Li said.
The Kennesaw State program not only solved Wolde’s problem, it created a booster.
“The program is really great, and I encourage everyone out there that's looking for an affordable, convenient master's program to look at it. I referred two of my best friends to enroll in the program,” he said.
With his MSIT degree earned, Wolde knows what he wants to do in the future. He plans to work in the information security field, with a goal of eventually working his up to a chief information security officer role.
By reaching his goals, Wolde is making his parents’ 2010 dreams come true.
“I am always grateful for their unwavering support throughout my education journey,” he said.
– Gary Tanner
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.