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Alumni Profiles

Darren McCarthyDarren McCarthy, Graduate

I feel that coming to Clarke University from NICC has been the best career decision I have made. The Computer Information System (CIS) program at Clarke University has provided me with a lot more than just computer skills. Don't get me wrong, I have learned a lot from the CIS program and have gained real life skills and knowledge, but the personal relationships that I have built with the professors at Clarke are treasured assets I will also take away with me after I am finished at Clarke. One professor offered me hope even in my times of struggles with my education. For me, things have not come easily as I have entered into higher education 20 years after being out of school. That hope and support has helped me strive at doing my best.


Josh Welp, Graduate

I didn't go back to school until I was 30 years old, but the CIS program at Clarke has certainly made this a very enjoyable experience for me. Just 3 short years ago, I was an ironworker. Since starting work on my CIS degree, I have worked at IBM, and now work for McKesson Provider Technologies. I have never in my life had the job satisfaction that I now have.

The CIS program has prepared me to be much more comfortable in a professional environment. While I certainly don't have all the answers, I am much better equipped to ask the right questions. When problems arise, the researching skills I have acquired definitely come in handy. I am able to communicate much more effectively with colleagues and superiors alike. With the skills I am acquiring in the CIS program, people are seeing me as more of a resource, and that is a great feeling!


Brenda Strub, GraduateBrenda Strub

The plant that I worked at for sixteen years dispersed and since they sent some of the jobs overseas, it gave me an opportunity to get schooling so that I will not have to worry about not having an education, which is a big requirement these days. Who would have known that through the loss of a job I could be getting a quality education? I was happy that I chose to come to Clarke. I love all my professors and although some of the classes are difficult, after I succeed I look back with a feeling of accomplishment.

The CIS classes that I have taken will be very useful in whatever computer based career I choose, it is almost unlimited. There is database, which would be useful in almost any job. Operating systems, which every computer person needs to learn; to understand anything about the computer you need to know the base from which it is built. There are many more that will allow me to choose my career and also succeed at it.

The classes I have taken at Clarke also include those that are not required at a two-year college. These classes, which include speech, writing, and many others, have helped me to come out of my shell and to communicate well with people that have authority, and not sound like an uneducated person that worked in a dead end job for sixteen years.

*As of end of May 2012


CS Erin DigmanErin Digman, 2007 Graduate
Bachelor of Arts degree in CIS

Right now I am working at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids as a Project Specialist. I work in Program Management in the Government division. While I was still at Clarke, I worked at a small company called Security Coverage in the technical support call desk as an internship. I started full time after I graduated in December 2007. After working there for a few months full time, I decided I wanted to get into a larger company. I started at Rockwell Collins in February 2008. I started as a Software Technician. After a year and a half, I decided I wanted to be more involved in the project execution, so I took a position as a Engineering Project Specialist. After another year and a half, I decided I truly wanted to support our Program Managers. So I moved into the Project Specialist role. Right now I am basically a Jr. Program Manager and in the next five to ten years I plan on taking a Program Manager role at Rockwell. I look forward to what the future has in store for me. If it wouldn't be for my four year education, I wouldn't have be in the position I am today. Clarke prepared me for my Masters in Business Administration which I completed at Upper Iowa University. Clarke helped me to become successful in the business world, which allowed for me to apply for positions at Rockwell which I normally wouldn't be qualified for.


CS Irving DuranIrving Duran, Graduate
Bachelor of Arts degree in CIS

In the IT delivery service at IBM, we follow two methodologies: Lean and Six Sigma methodology. Lean is a methodology which is used in the manufacturing industry for years. Whereas Six Sigma [high-level] is used to identify the measuring aspect. The main core of Lean is to maximize customer value while minimizing wastes. Six Sigma helps us quantify the defects found in our processes and eliminate them as needed.

In IBM, as a Quality Analyst (not to confuse with a QA in software), my main focus is to statistically analyze trends, identify defects, and drive the prevention of those defects from [re]occurring again. This role focuses on improving the quality of service and standardizing processes across accounts based on the services that IBM provides to customers. This is accomplished through the collaboration between account SMEs, technical SMEs, and/or Green Team members locally in Dubuque Delivery Center (DC) or in other DCs around the world. Also, as a QA, I collaborate with other teams within the Dubuque DC and other DCs with best practices for various processes and procedures. This way IBM can standardize by automating the services of our process and procedures on a global level.

As a QA SME I have the opportunity to expand my knowledge in various areas of the business. I could be an Administrator, Technical SME, Transition and Transformation business analyst, Consulting, Project Manager, etc.. Right now my path is more towards research and understanding the way we do/perform business in order to improve quality and productivity.

I graduated from Clarke University (CU) with a degree in Computer Information System (CIS) and a minor in Business Administration (BA). This allowed me to work in several aspects of the business from Application Developer to Project Manager. I personally think that CU influenced me in various aspects:

1. Able to problem solve, analyze, design, test, develop, manage, and execute plans accordantly
2. Able to work independently and collaboratively in professional and ethical manner
3. Able to communicate effectively from the technical aspect to executives on the risk, issues, and ideas on various process or projects
4. Able to research and find logical solutions to real problems

This allowed me to develop my personal and professional skills to keep up and obtain my Master in Information Systems (MIS) months after graduating. Now, I am in the process on considering doing my PhD at some point in the future. I am currently considering a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership/Information Systems and Technology, Management Information Systems/Business Data, Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences, or Computer Science. Without these types of strong core base skills and influence, I don't think I would have been able to be where I am today.


CS Jon ToshmatovJon Toshmatov, Graduate
Bachelor of Arts degree in CIS

I am a Mainframe Storage Administrator/PHP Developer on LAMP at IBM in Dubuque. Clarke helped me build the foundation for my career. Thanks to Sheila, George and Samira for their guidance and hard work in achieving my education goal.


Belinda Maiden, 2012 Graduate
Bachelor of Arts degree in CIS

Three years ago, I lost my job due to the economy. The very next day I set up an appointment to talk to a Clarke University representative and it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. One of the reasons that I chose Clarke was because they offer a CIS Timesaver's program which provided me the opportunity to look for employment during the day time. This has paid off for me ten-fold. I started working for Deere & Company as a part-time student during my course studies and am employed full-time with them after my graduation. I can thank my Clarke University education for that.

Clarke includes in its curriculum courses not offered at other colleges, vocational schools, and universities today. It is because of this that I have experience in legacy and modern programming languages which is advantageous when working in larger corporations. One example of such a course is CIS-230 Business Applications Programming I. It provided me with knowledge about COBOL, a legacy programming language, which I utilize today in my profession. It is because of the communication skills and education that I have obtained from my course work that many doors have opened for me that will provide a better future for not only me but my family also. Thank you Clarke University!


Robert Pelelo, Graduate

I have found my experience at Clarke to be very beneficial in both a personal and professional way. There is no doubt that I have gained very valuable technical knowledge and understanding. I have also gained experience in collaborating with others and meeting deadlines. Perhaps most importantly, I have learned that hard work and dedication to the task at hand can yield very satisfying results. The CIS program at Clarke has helped me learn to manage my time better. It has helped me to gain new insight into the broad swath that information technology custs through our society. Information technology professionals are often at the very center of decision making in today's business and professional world. I am thankful and feel fortunate to be completing my CIS degree at Clarke and I feel well-prepared for my future in the professional world.

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