Stephanie Brice grew up riding horses and always dreamed of becoming an equine veterinarian.
After graduating from high school, Brice enrolled at Howard Community College (HCC), where she obtained an associate degree before transferring to the University of Maryland, College Park to study animal sciences and pre-veterinary medicine. As planned, she earned a bachelor’s degree and began working as a practice manager at a veterinarian’s office, where she stayed for over a decade. She enjoyed her job, but longed for a change.
So two years ago, she returned to where she began – at HCC – for a fresh start. On a whim, she decided to take a technology course.
“I know the technology field is not changing, it’s only growing,” Brice said. “I had no fundamental knowledge. I just took it to see if I liked it. And it worked out.”
Halfway through the course, instructors started to take notice of Brice and her skills in technology.
“They thought I must have some industry experience,” she said. “When they found out I basically started out cold, they were surprised and encouraged me to do the cyber program.”
In her time at HCC, Brice excelled. She was a member of the National Honors Society and made the Dean’s List.
She also enrolled in HCC’s Cisco Networking – the information technology industry’s gold standard. Brice’s skills were so impressive that Mike Crane, adjunct instructor of Cisco, nominated her for Cisco Live, Cisco’s largest customer event giving students a unique development opportunity to work hands-on with industry leaders to deploy and support the event’s Network Operations Center. With nearly 70 applicants, Brice was chosen as one of 10 students from across the United States and Canada to join the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team and attend Cisco Live in Orlando.
“That was a whirlwind of an experience,” Brice said. “I’ll never forget it.”
Brice graduated with an degree in cyber security last winter. She wasn’t positive what she wanted to do with that degree, but knew she wanted to give back to the school that helped her find her calling. She worked to obtain her certification and is now a Cisco certified academy instructor for CCNA 1 and 2 at HCC.
“I wanted to be a mentor like the ones I had in college,” she said. “I can help a frustrated student. I can say I was in their shoes two years ago. I was there too. And now I’m teaching it.”