Student Mentors

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At Empire College, your success is important to us. Read about the recent graduates who take the time to mentor current students and help them succeed. 

Derrick

Information Technology Student Mentor

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History at Empire College: I’ve spent much of my life doing a wide variety of tasks before I decided to work on computers. When I was a kid, I was a model that worked on ads for Ford and National Geographic, and I was in the movie Bicentennial Man. When I got older I hauled brush for an arborist company, and then switched over to washing dishes and making pizzas for the Boar’s Breath restaurant in Middletown. I moved down here and started going to Santa Rosa Junior College and working as an Easy Tech Associate at Staples. Coming to Empire College for Information Technology has been a game changer for me. I had experience with Cisco technologies, basic hardware training, and some bare bones networking training, but Empire doesn’t just make you dive in head first, it pushes you off the diving board and into the deep end. Which has been great for me. I always found the best way to learn was getting out of my comfort zone. That is why I am in the Specialized Associate Degree program with Linux as my concentration. I currently hold the CompTIA A+ certification, the CompTIA Net+ certification, the CompTIA Linux+ certification, and the Linux Professional Institute Level 1 certification. Empire College has worked out well for me, as right now I do my own IT side work which is helping pay the bills while I look towards a better, brighter future after graduation. In my free time you can find me working on my next novel, playing video games, or at the local pub enjoying a brew with friends. I like to say I’m a social nerd. I love being able to break the barrier of the “Quiet IT Student” stereotype. So if you see me in the halls don’t be afraid to say hello, ask advice, or just have a chat.

Leilani

Business Student Mentor

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History at Empire College: I grew up on a large ranch along the rural coast of California. I have always been a very hard worker and finished high school early to attend Santa Rosa Junior College for two years. At 18, I was the manager of a small deli, and by 21, I was managing the retail sector of a multimillion dollar company; I now own my own business (and aspire to do great things). I chose to attend Empire College after realizing, although I am very motivated to do a good job and have a strong work ethic, my computer and technology skills were lacking. Growing my business is my priority right now, and Empire College is helping me achieve my goal in a quick and efficient manner. I am taking full advantage of everything that Empire College has to offer.

John

Business Student Mentor

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History at Empire College: I live in Sonoma County and have lived here my whole life. I graduated high school in 2013 and took a year break that turned into two years. During those two years, I realized that if I wanted to be successful I definitely needed to go back to school. Now I’m very motivated for my future, and I can already tell Empire is the perfect school for me. I would like to open my own store in the future, so I especially love the business classes I’ve been taking. There’s so much information I’ve been learning that is going to help me when the time comes for me to open my store.

Jonathan

Information Technology Student Mentor

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History at Empire College: I began Empire College after pursuing a career in outside sales. Following my time in the Army, sales was a good way to springboard into civilian life, but when I realized that I didn't love what I was doing, I knew that I needed to make a change. A career shift at 34 years old was difficult, but the GI Bill provided the funding and support necessary to make it happen. I accidentally discovered that I enjoy IT at my old job, I would spend more time in the office helping people with computers instead of out selling. Empire is the best option locally for I.T., and my time here has been the most fun I've had in a while.

Nichole

Legal Student Mentor

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History at Empire College: Before coming to Empire I worked in the hospitality industry as a chef and an event planner for over 20 years. I enjoyed cooking and planning special events, but I always had a feeling that it was just a job, and not my true dream career. For most of my adult life I was a single mother raising two boys. Even though my wage was decent, I struggled to keep up with bills and the high cost of living in Sonoma County. Last year, due to economics and my medical issues, I needed to find a new career that could sustain my family and not create unnecessary hardship on my body. In 2014, I remarried and was given the opportunity to focus on my health and begin training in any new career I chose. My first thought was Empire College. I had heard so many good things about the quality of education and high success graduate rates. It didn’t take long for me to decide to enroll in the paralegal program. I always wanted to study law and the Constitution. My experience so far has been amazing. All the staff, from teachers to administration have been so supportive at every step. Everything that I am learning is practical everyday knowledge for my career choice.

Nicole

Legal Student Mentor

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History at Empire College: I chose the Paralegal Program through Empire College because I have always loved the law and Empire offered me the schedule nd flexibility I needed to pursue my dreams. I was a stay-at-home mom for many years. I loved being at home and raising my children but something was missing. A few years ago my life changed; I was no longer married and I was working two jobs just to make ends meet when I heard an advertisement for a scholarship to Empire. I decided why not? Although I did not win the scholarship, I was offered a partial scholarship. I decided the time was now! Attending Empire has been one of the greatest blessings of my adult life. I am pursuing my dreams while modeling for my girls that nothing is impossible! When I graduate Empire I will not only have the skills necessary to excel in the legal field but life skills that I can take with me anywhere. I am excited to be a mentor in the Paralegal Program because I want to share my passion for this program with incoming students. The instructors provide individual support both inside and outside the classroom. You will absolutely get from this program what you put into it. If you are committed to achieving your best, Empire and its instructors are committed to you!

Bryan

Medical Student Mentor

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History at Empire College: What's up! My name is Bryan, and for my time at Empire, I am one of the student for medical. I'm a six foot tall dork who wears pink scrubs on Wednesdays. I enjoy working out and playing basketball with friends and also I love music. I'm a very open person and am always there to help you out with any questions you have that are school and non school related. The main reason I came to Empire was to better my situation but also to help my mom with her financial situation. All in all, I want to look back at my time spent at Empire as one of the best investments of my life. I love the school and their staff. I really feel at home at school and wouldn't change that for anything.

Heather

Medical Student Mentor

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History at Empire College: I enrolled in the Medical Assistant degree program with a focus on phlebotomy in February of 2015 and had the pleasure of turning 37 shortly after. My expected graduation date is October 2016. I graduated high school a very long time ago and always talked about going to college. I am the mother of 4 beautiful children and that kept me busy and in the waitressing business for an extensive amount of time. I had some health issues and could not work. During my recovery I decided to just do it! I had the great support of my mom and friends. Empire was the first to contact me and not make me feel pressured to join. I liked that a lot. I came not knowing much of anything besides that I wanted a career. I always wanted to do more for people than serve food. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Being a single mother of 3 girls and 1 boy, I felt the responsibility to do the best that I can and prove that if you put your mind to it, you can do it! All the teachers here are beyond supportive and approachable. Like family, you can literally talk to them about anything. They are a huge part of the support team. The tutoring center is AMAZING! Quiet to study in, ask questions, and possibly meet other people with the same questions. Form a study group if you need to. This school is so full of support. They understand that you can get discouraged if you get a grade lower than you wanted on the test. It happens. You only fail if you stop trying!

What People Are Saying

Marty Paradise

“I love my job in the wine industry; people come in a good mood and leave in a better one. Thanks to Empire, I was able to begin my new career within eight months.”

Marty Paradise, Tasting Room Manager

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