Soon after completing her bachelor’s degree in social work, Mekenzie Vachon made an unpleasant discovery: The field was not for her.
She was working at an autism center and had begun her master’s in social work when she realized that she wasn’t putting her skills to their best use. Her internships had been in an office setting, which she had enjoyed. Working directly with clients did not suit her as well, and she believed that administrative work would be a better fit.
Vachon met with an Ivy Tech advisor in Fort Wayne who helped her explore a variety of program options. After wading through many pros and cons, she decided to enroll in the Business, Operations, Applications, and Technology (BOAT) program.
To others who may be questioning whether they’ve chosen the right major, Vachon advises getting a variety of internships. If she had more experience working directly with clients, she might have realized sooner that social work wasn’t right for her.
“She is confident that she is finally on the right track. The professors in the BOAT program have assisted her in refining her technical skills through intentional, personal instruction and exposure to workforce experience.”
“Get out of your comfort zone and get a grasp on what you’re good at and what you like, even if you don’t think you’ll like it,” she says. If in doubt, get lots of advice from folks in different fields who will not try to push you down a certain path, but who will let you figure out what’s best for you. Vachon’s Ivy Tech advisor presented her with options, and then let her make up her own mind.
A lot of the credits from her previous degree transferred to her new course of study, so she expects to complete her associate degree by the end of the year. She also
has completed several Microsoft certifications.
“I’m really grateful for Ivy Tech, really grateful,” Vachon says. “The advisers in the BOAT program have helped guide me, checked in on whether I found an internship. I’m really impressed with the intentionality of Ivy Tech.”
She is confident that she is finally on the right track. The professors in the BOAT program have assisted her in refining her technical skills through intentional, personal instruction and exposure to workforce experience.
“I thoroughly enjoy it,” Vachon says. “I’m sad I didn’t realize (the need to change) sooner, but I’m really glad I found the program. I’m learning skills I didn’t know (employers) looked for. I enjoy learning about the ins and outs of things.”
Empowered with fresh knowledge and a new degree, Vachon will be on the hunt for her first job in administration, possibly in human resources. Ultimately, she hopes to combine the best of both of her degrees by working as an administrator of a non-profit.
Get with the Program
Fishers-based Eleven Fifty Academy was named one of the 51 Best Coding Bootcamps in the United States for 2018-2019 by the website Course Report. Founded in 2015 by Indiana native and tech entrepreneur Scott Jones, Eleven Fifty Academy plans to expand its bootcamps to Evansville, Fort Wayne and Gary. It partners with Salesforce’s Pathfinder Training Program to train Hoosiers for software-development careers.
Ivy Tech Community College offers Ivy Works in partnership with Indy Women in Tech. It’s designed to help students earn credentials and build careers in fast-growing fields, including Information Technology. The program includes strategic professional development, business networking and wraparound support opportunities.
“Regardless of age, race, social or economic conditions, a career in tech is open to all. The average starting salary is over $50k, with this only increasing with experience.”
—Abi Tambasco, vice president of growth, Eleven Fifty Academy