Jaron transferred to Evergreen after earning his associate’s degree in graphic technologies, and is taking advantage of Evergreen’s Upside Down degree program to complete his bachelor’s degree. His first program was Computer Science Foundations, where he is learning about software development and is able to incorporate his graphic design skills into the programs he creates.
“Evergreen’s interdisciplinary approach to education was a main attraction,” he says. “I was exhausted after earning an associate’s degree – take these classes, at this time, toward this degree. I wanted an education that was less traditional and more open to letting me choose the programs to take towards earning a bachelor’s. At Evergreen, I can study and explore career choices that relate to my interests.”
Jaron also plans to continue his studies in art, a field he’s worked in all his life, but decided for his first program that he wanted to try something new. “If I were to take a class that I’m already familiar with, it’s not as much of a challenge,” he says. “I am learning how Java programming, computer architecture, and analyzing algorithms, combined with philosophy and ethics, can solve real-world problems. This approach to learning – finding those connections and seeing how all the pieces relate and are important to each other – truly prepares students for careers in any field.”
He was also able to develop a learning community with other students. “You really have to find that group of people beyond just faculty to discuss your program with, to share opinions, have emotional support and help find answers. I’ve been able to do that here. In computer labs we have students who have taken the program before who are helpful and who can relate – it’s good to seek those people out.”
Without Evergreen’s narrative evaluations, Jaron probably wouldn’t have even taken on a program so far outside his educational background. “As a typical overachiever, I put a lot of pressure on myself in high school and community college to maintain a high GPA. Evergreen’s evaluations instead of grades really attracted me,” he says. “In my computer science program, I’ve learned at my own pace, and my evaluation shows what I have done well – which is much better than a grade. I was willing to take the risk of going into a field that will challenge me, and it's possible to do that at Evergreen.”