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What started with a single TCC class grew into a cyber-security career for Air Force veteran

One-third of TCC’s students are military-related. This week we highlight some of them in honor of Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Air Force veteran Kendall Shook spent her career serving her country and community.

She started as a Russian cryptologic linguist in the service and later worked as an emergency dispatcher for the Department of Defense and City of Chesapeake, where she was also on the SWAT team.

Today, she is a cyber security specialist with an industry credential who protects data and computer networks.

Shook originally came to Tidewater Community College to take one computer class.

That sparked her interest in one of the most in-demand fields in the nation given the relentless security breaches that continue to threaten data.

 “Once I came here, I decided to keep going and it’s all because of Professor Guess’ passion for cyber and the way he engages with his students,” Shook said.

Kendall Shook

Taking online classes at TCC enabled Shook to continue working full time while pursuing her degree.

 “My professors are standouts in the field,” Shook said. “I really enjoyed the mix of ages and backgrounds of my classmates. It pushed all of us to view things from different perspectives.”

Shook found her current career opportunity at a “Lunch and Learn” event held on the Chesapeake Campus. Today, she is employed at a busy network operation center, using her TCC degree and CompTIA Security+ certification.

Shook worked with TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE) to use her GI Bill benefits to pay her tuition. She learned about the CMVE while visiting a TCC transfer event with her son, Ethan, who was also studying cyber security at the college.

After earning an Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security, the Chesapeake native transferred to Old Dominion University to complete a bachelor’s in cyber security.

“I can tell you TCC was a good value and prepared me for work in the field,” Shook said. “I’m also just as confident in my studies at Old Dominion as those who started at the university.”

Shook plans a future as a malware analyst or reverse computer engineer. She encourages her classmates to take those entry level help desk positions, as they often lead to other possibilities in the field.

“It’s all about networking and getting involved in the industry as soon as possible,” she said. “Your TCC degree is proof to everyone of what you are capable of learning. And it all starts with a single class!”

For special support services for military-related students, visit the CMVE or call 757-822-7645. You can also email military@tcc.edu