Isis overcame pandemic challenges to start a career she loves


“I live by a quote that says, ‘If it matters to you, you’ll find a way. If it doesn’t, you’ll find an excuse.’ So I just found a way to do what I love to do the most.”


Isis had her first experience with Networking Academy at high school, where she heard long-time Instructor Jim Elkins’ pitch to prospective students: “He said the two seconds that it takes to load a webpage is what we will learn in two years. I was like, that sounds pretty interesting! Why not do that?”

Motivated by networking

Isis had other motivations too.

“I went to a technical high school, so it had different programs like cosmetology, culinary, nursing, Cisco networking, web and computer programming. But I knew I didn’t want to be like pretty much every other girl and go through nursing or cosmetology, so I thought why not be different and do Cisco networking?”

Isis was on track to sit for her CCNA certification when the pandemic struck. “The whole Covid thing messed me up big time,” she says, and she struggled for a while to figure out what to do going forward.

Having started on networking, Isis decided that networking was her future. “I was like, okay, I want to continue to learn more about networking, so I enrolled in Ranken Technical College in the fall of 2021 and started my journey there.”

As was the case at high school, Isis found she was the only woman in the class. “It was challenging, because the guys pretty much believed that I didn’t know what I was talking about, or I didn’t know what I was doing. That gave me the motivation to push myself more, improve myself more,” she says.

Determined to certify

That doesn’t mean Isis found the experience easy. To Cisco Networking Academy students, she says, “Don’t give up! It will get hard, and you will get frustrated, it’s going to suck for now, but at the end it will be worth it.”

“In college, my instructor gave me pretty much a dad talk, like ‘You’ve come this far! Why stop now?’ My parents also pushed me. Between those two, or those three, that got me through. And knowing where I wanted to be got me through.”

“In December of 2022 I got my CCNA,” she says.

Landing a job

It didn’t take long for Isis to land a job with a large third-party administrator working on a Defense Department contract as a Network Controller.

At Cisco Networking Academy, Isis appreciated being able to take the theory and apply it in the labs, “being able to physically see what I’m learning and how it’s done. And now… I’m taking what I’ve learned in practice and applying it to real-world situations for the government.”

On top of her full-time work, Isis has enrolled at Lindenwood University studying for a bachelor’s degree in computer science with an emphasis on cybersecurity. That interest in what happens in two seconds when downloading a webpage has taken her a long way.



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