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Army veteran zips through coding, earns TCC computer science degree

After making sergeant in three years in the Army and completing a nine-month tour in Afghanistan, Harrison Hornsby knew he could excel academically.

College didn’t appeal to him immediately after high school, but after separating from the military, he knew he needed a plan.

Tidewater Community College got him started in May 2014, and on Dec. 19, Hornsby will graduate with his Associate of Science in Science with Specialization in Computer Science. He always enrolled in the maximum amount of classes and attended summer session in order to accelerate his graduation.

He attended TCC and Old Dominion University concurrently this fall, as he’s already moving toward his bachelor’s degree in the field.

“I really like TCC. Students aren’t an afterthought,” Hornsby said. “At TCC, classes are smaller and it’s easier to reach professors.”

He especially liked math Professor John Gallo and computer science Professor Jared Oliverio.

It was Oliverio who introduced Hornsby to the coding club on the Virginia Beach Campus. The new club encourages students to develop new apps.

Harrison Hornsby in his own words

Thanks to the resources at TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE), Hornsby was able to easily enroll at the college and used his GI Bill benefits to pay for his education.

“It’s a one-stop shop,” he said of the CMVE. “You talk to an academic counselor who tells you what classes you need to take. You don’t have to wait a long time.

“I can’t say a bad thing about it.”

Hornsby, who will graduate debt-free, would like a career in software design that ideally includes developing mobile apps.

He found the hands-on computer classes at TCC to be especially helpful.

“In one summer class I wrote five or six programs,” he said.

He is not the only TCC student in the family. His wife, Lauren, will complete her Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography in May.

Harrison Hornsby plans to graduate from ODU in spring 2017.

He encourages potential students to consider starting their computer science education at TCC. “I highly recommend it,” he said. “Go for it.”

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