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WGU Graduate Speaker, Rashaan Green

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Rashaan Green
Western Governors University
<p>WGU graduate Rashaan Green spoke at the WGU Master's Commencement Ceremony in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.</p> <p>Rashaan Green earned his Master of Science, Cybersecurity and Information Assurance degree.</p> <p>Written version of speech from Rashaan Green:</p> <p>Good morning fellow graduates,</p> <p>I am honored to be here with you all this morning as a proud second-time graduate of Western Governors University, you see my experience the first time around was so good that I decided to do it all over again and obtain a Master of Science degree in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. </p> <p>My higher education journey started off a little different than most people. I dropped out of high school in 9th grade and worked in restaurants as a dishwasher until I was 17. During this time, I had a life-changing experience. A senior dishwasher told me I was doing a good job and that if I kept it up I could one day be a senior dishwasher, just like him. Now with all due respect to those that work in the food and service industry, that just wasn’t what I had planned for my life. </p> <p>Eventually, I started looking into a program called Job Corps, a vocational program administered by the United States Department of Labor for at-risk youth. I’ve always been good with computers, so I started looking at a Job Corps campus with a computer program. I found one in Laurel, Maryland that had a Computer Repair program and it just so happened that I had an aunt and an uncle who lived nearby. I reached out to them, shared my plans, and asked for their help. </p> <p>I started at Job Corps in November of 2004 and finished with a trade in Computer Repair and a GED in May of 2005. I got my first job working at a Call Center doing data entry and then eventually got promoted to the IT department, which helped jumpstart my career. I would go on to work for companies like Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Apple, which are all great accomplishments considering where I came from, but something was still missing because I always seemed to do well at these companies but I was unable to advance due to not having a degree. </p> <p>Throughout the years I made attempts to go to college but I just couldn’t find a format that worked for me. Finally, in November of 2011, after doing some research on a university that I heard about through a co-worker, I enrolled with Western Governors University. </p> <p>In my first semester I passed eight courses. This allowed me to see that it was possible to obtain a college degree. Throughout my undergrad journey at WGU I faced several life events. Hardships such as being unemployed four different times, an eviction, and the death of my father 5 months before I graduated. I can’t stand here today and tell you that when these events happened that I didn’t want to take a break or just give up altogether because there were surely times that I did. What I can tell you is that I relied heavily on three main things to bring my focus back to my goals. I thought about my mother who has Lupus and who was also enrolled in college and working full time. I thought to myself that if she isn’t giving up, how can I? Secondly, I stayed actively engaged in the WGU Facebook group. I was able to read posts from other students who were going through difficulties or joys in their courses or life, whether it was them passing a class, graduating, or even failing a class and getting encouragement from other students. And last but not least, I wrote down every single goal I had in my notepad every day, sometimes multiple times a day, which allowed me to have tunnel vision and to see myself at the end of the tunnel achieving my goals. </p> <p>Today I have two college degrees and almost every IT certification necessary to compete in my field. None of this would have been possible without WGU. I’m living proof that if you follow the platform and truly want it, you can achieve your goal of higher education at WGU. </p> <p>Early last year I interviewed for a position with the NSA. My first interview was at a hiring event and I thought to myself, here I was a graduate of WGU sitting in a waiting area with other graduates from NYU, Columbia, Georgetown, and many other ivy league colleges from across the country. I was eventually offered two different jobs that I declined because when I told my current employer I was planning on leaving due to an offer from the NSA, they doubled the salary amount that I was being offered. It was at that moment that I realized there are no limitations on my degrees from WGU, just like there are no limitations on my life. I can stand next to a graduate from the best colleges in the world and have the same level of knowledge, if not better. I’ve learned through my experiences both in life and at WGU that if I put my mind to doing something, and I work hard for it, I can accomplish all things. </p> <p>Thank you.</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)