Charles Sharpe wanted a degree to match his work experience but lived “in the middle of nowhere.”

Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, and now living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sharpe earned an associate’s degree in electrical mechanical engineering in the early 1990s and set off to work without considering getting an advanced degree.

But after several layoffs and cross-country moves, Sharpe decided that earning a degree would help convert his work experience into a tangible credential to guard against future job struggles. Problem was, he wasn’t within driving distance of a single university. Working odd hours didn’t make it easy for him, either.

Finally, motivated to set an example for his four kids, Sharpe decided to finish his undergraduate studies. He wanted his children to see that “a degree could be useful” and is something you can do at any age “as long as you work hard at it.”

Sharpe decided to earn his degree online because his family commitments and full-time management job with a global communications provider left little time to attend classes on campus. After researching several programs, he decided to pursue the Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems offered 100% online by Florida Institute of Technology. He was impressed by the well-rounded instruction, the great video lectures and the online discussions between students and professors.

Florida Tech’s online program allowed him to attend classes at his own pace; he even found time to earn a minor in Human Resources Administration while graduating magna cum laude.

“If you’re considering getting a degree and you don’t have time to attend a traditional school, Florida Tech Online is the best opportunity you have to get the degree and to get the help you need with the classes,” Sharpe said just before receiving his diploma during commencement ceremonies on Florida Tech’s Melbourne campus in December 2014.

“Through the additional training they have … and additional resources to help tutor people as they move on, I don’t think you can find a better example of a school that wants to make sure you succeed than Florida Tech,” he said.

His education already has positively impacted his career in terms of his “view on how management and human resources actually looks at different tasks and policies,” as well as in his “understanding of real-life applications.”

Sharpe said his wife, kids and parents have been supportive throughout his academic journey since he started at Florida Tech in 2009. His parents were there to watch proudly as their son, the first in his family to receive a bachelor’s degree, crossed the stage on graduation day.

Are you a graduate of Florida Tech’s 100% online degree programs? We would love to share your success story in our Student Spotlight series. Contact us at StudentSpotlight@universityalliance.com for additional details.

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