I can remember my dad always fixing things around the house. I remember feeling so proud that he was able to fix anything (at least in my mind he could fix anything). If I was visiting a friend and we realized that something was broken, I would proudly offer my dad’s services to fix it. I recall telling them, “My dad can fix that for you!” He was in the U.S. Air Force for 23 years and worked as an Aircraft Equipment Technician. We used to live just outside the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and there was a B52 Bomber that was put on display at the north entrance of the base. My dad told me that he worked on that exact plane. He showed us paperwork that had the same serial number as the plane. I was so proud to repeat that story to all my friends. Now, as an adult, I continue to be proud when I repeat that story.
When I think back about my dad’s “fix it” abilities, I realize that he worked mostly on electronics. I don’t think we ever purchased more than one VCR, microwave or toaster. If it broke, he fixed it. We got one of the first VCRs that was sold, and I remember long after the newer technology had come out and the VCRs were getting smaller; we still had our huge top-loading machine. Any time it seemed to have an issue, he’d take it away and bring it back working. After he retired from the Air Force, my dad went to work for a company repairing microscopes. Sometimes he would bring his work home and I’d sit with him and talk about what he was working on. I enjoyed learning and watching him take apart and repair the microscopes.
When I was 19, my dad passed away after a long battle with cancer. Before he died, he told me how proud he was of me and that he did not worry about my future because he knew I was strong and that I could take care of myself. When my dad died I lost my biggest supporter. I held on to what my dad said and have stayed strong. I have always taken pride in working hard to support myself and my family – just as he did.
I started my family young and never was able to make the time to finish a college education. I would take courses when I could make time and could afford them but never earned a degree. In my last job, I worked myself up to a security analyst position within a cybersecurity organization. I feel this was a huge accomplishment considering that I started as an administrative assistant without a college education. Nonetheless, the company restructured and sold off different divisions of the company and my position was no longer needed. When I spoke to others within this field of work, I found that it was going to be nearly impossible for me to continue in that field without at least a bachelor’s degree in information technology.
I realized that I had to go to school and complete my education or I would always be spinning my wheels and not moving forward. I decided that if I was going to go to school that I was going to work toward a degree in a field that would be satisfying to me. I liked to work with my hands. I enjoyed taking things apart to see if I could fix them. When I was researching programs at Texas State Technical College, I saw the biomedical equipment technician program and realized this was the same type of work that my dad did. I remembered him talking about going to medical labs to work on the equipment. It became an obvious decision. I have found the career that I want to be in and it feels extra special because of the memories of my dad that come with it.
Dawn Taylor is a student at Texas State Technical College. She is the recipient of the TechNation Scholarship awarded annually to a TSTC student.
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