John Vlasis’ degrees from Florida Tech have created new opportunities.
The Panther earned three degrees over five years, all of which were online: AS in Computer Information Systems, BS in Computer Information Systems and MS in Information Technology with a Specialization in Cybersecurity.
“After each diploma, new doors and opportunities opened that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”
Vlasis is now looking to the next challenge after graduating with his master’s degree – he plans on earning his PhD as well as looking for new professional roles. We spoke with him about his Florida Tech experience and future plans.
Q. Tell us about your background.
I was born in Pensacola, Florida, but I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta. In my late twenties, I moved to Alabama and started working in the healthcare industry.
When I finished my AS, I was qualified for a position as an Application Analyst. After applying I received a job offer. After completing my BS, I moved into a new position as a Systems Analyst. Now that I’ve completed my MS, I’ve been looking into moving into a new role as an Information Security Engineer. It’s been very rewarding to see my degree pay off and be recognized for my academic achievements.
Q. What were the most important factors in your decision to choose Florida Tech?
The biggest factor was Florida Tech’s reputation and regional accreditation. I also liked the fact that Florida Tech is so diverse, with students from all across the world.
Q. How will your Florida Tech degree make a difference in your career?
It’s already making a difference in my career. After each diploma new doors and opportunities opened that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise, at least not in the interim.
Q. Do you have any future plans with your degree?
I’m planning on starting a PhD program in the summer. My long-term goal is entering academia and teaching the next generation about the current and future state of everything I’ve learned that pertains to my degrees.
Q. What surprised you most about taking an online program?
How much dedication and discipline it takes. A lot of people who have no experience with online education assume it’s easier than a brick-and-mortar environment. Having done both, I can say definitively that’s not the case.
Q. What was your favorite class and why?
Believe it or not, Art Appreciation with Dr. Lars Jones. I took this class in the very beginning of my five years online with Florida Tech. Dr. Jones basically framed my study habits for the future. I don’t think I’ve studied so hard for a course in my entire life, but it was very enriching!
When I studied abroad at Oxford in England with Florida Tech’s study abroad program, I remember one of the Oxford professors mentioning Dr. Lars Jones and his handbook on cheating and plagiarism. What’s ironic is where I heard his name mentioned…it was an art museum in Oxford!
Q. What was your most valuable takeaway from the program?
I think this question is too hard to answer because there are so many things to take away from being a student and graduate of Florida Tech.
I’d probably refer you to the school’s motto: Ad Astra Per Scientiam (“To the stars through science”). I honestly believe there is nothing you can’t achieve after graduating from Florida Tech – I’m living proof. Shoot for the stars!
Q. What advice would you give other students who are considering enrolling in the program?
You’ll probably find yourself discouraged at some point. You might feel overwhelmed by the reading assignments, struggle to comprehend a specific chapter, or get a C on a paper when you think you deserved an A. Learn from and overcome those experiences, and I guarantee you’ll become a better student for it.
Q. Who has been your support system?
My family has been very supportive, but at the end of the day, I just looked in the mirror and told myself I could do it. I guess I was right because I’m a Florida Tech Alumnus!
Q. What was the most challenging part of your student journey?
Time. Time management is crucial to succeeding in an online environment. The terms are eight weeks long so there really isn’t an option to fall behind. Florida Tech teaches you the skills needed for successful time management in the early stage of your degree. I just had to stay focused and motivated.
Q. Who or what inspires you to succeed?
Knowledge inspires me to succeed. I enjoy learning so I can increase my human capital and remain competitive in the workplace.
Q. What is one fun fact about you?
I’ve been to over 20 countries, four of which were during my summer abroad with Florida Tech!
Have you completed one of Florida Tech’s online programs? We would love to share your success story in our Student Spotlight series. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details.