Tirza Murdock » Cosmetology
"You make your own future, and you are in charge of how you’re going to be successful. So whatever you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it."
Tirza Murdock landed her dream job just a few months after finishing her Cosmetology program. Lux Beauty Bar in Rancho Santa Fe is a high-end salon owned by Michel Benaroch, one of the best stylists in the San Diego area.
Success didn't come easily for Tirza Murdock--she worked hard. Tirza lived at home so she could pay her own way through school. She took every opportunity that came her way, including SkillsUSA, Davis Hospital volunteer work, and DATC's annual Fashion Show (Tirza turned her sister into Ariel from The Little Mermaid). When she failed her state boards, Tirza was devastated--for a day. But she bounced back quickly, passing the exam the following week. Even after graduation, Tirza's financial situation didn't allow her to move to California as quickly as she'd hoped.
Soon afterward, things started looking up. She found a job at Ulta. Then when a friend of a relative told Tirza that Lux was hiring, the timing worked out perfectly. Tirza believes that her job skills combined with her hard work and positive attitude earned her a spot in one of California's poshest salons.
"It takes blood, sweat, and tears, and blood in my case. You can’t be a stylist and not cut yourself every once in a while. It takes a lot of putting your heart and soul into what you’re doing, and it’s not easy."
Even though she'll work among the rich and famous, Tirza knows it won't always be easy. She'll have to get a California license (more exams!) and move away from home for the first time. Tirza's up for the challenge.
"You’ve got to take risks and you’ve got to do things that are scary and you have to put yourself out there, or one day you’re going to regret not living your life."
Justin Martinez » Advanced Esthetician
“I consider myself a ‘late bloomer’. It’s never too late to go back to school. Your mind absorbs information much easier the older you get. If I knew then what I know now, I would have made different and more effective decisions.”
After completing high school, Justin’s initial plans were to pursue a film career. He attended Weber State University for two years, then took a break to “experience life in Salt Lake City.” This break lasted 11 years. At this point, Justin felt that his life wasn’t going anywhere and that he needed a new direction. He was interested in pursuing an “artistic career in painting or cosmetology;” so, after careful research, Justin decided to attend the Davis Applied Technology College due to the low cost of tuition and high placement rates. He enrolled in the Advanced Esthetician program and was able to pay for it with the help of scholarships and grants. While completing the program, he was inducted into the National Technical Honors Society and awarded Student of the Month.
After graduating, Justin would like to work for a plastic surgeon and continue his education in Nursing. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my education at DATC,” he says. “My teachers are very intelligent and helpful.”
Jenny Parkin » Business Technology
“I hope all single mothers realize they can be just as successful. Never limit yourself. Every goal is achievable. I think a lot of people focus on the negative instead of the positive side of life.”
After graduating from high school, Jenny worked as a telemarketer, cashier, and administrative assistant. She married, started a family, and helped her husband complete his journeyman electrician license. “Life was good,” states Jenny. “However, a couple of years ago my husband and I decided to get a divorce. It was a crazy time in my life. I was working the graveyard shift as a CNA at Dansville Services helping people with disabilities and taking care of my four children. As a single mother, my kids’ needs come first before everything else in my life; however, I wanted to go back school because I wanted more…a career that challenged me!”
Jenny decided to pursue a career as a Medical Biller and Coder at Davis Applied Technology College (DATC) because it would be challenging, allow her to work from home, and continue working at Dansville. “I chose the Medical Coding program at the DATC because it was an accredited program, self-paced, and offered one-on-one time with a faculty member.”
Going back to school wasn’t easy. Jenny says that the first day was “nerve racking, but my instructor’s fun personality and intellect put my mind at ease. I have loved learning Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Business English. Kari and Laurie have been amazing instructors and have encouraged me every step of the way even when I wanted to quit the most.”
Jenny plans to complete her Medical Billing and Coding courses over the next year. After graduation, she hopes to work at home for AviaCode while continuing her education in the DATC Medical Assistant program.
Becky Levengar » Nurse Assistant
“I loved learning about anatomy and physiology in high school, and dreamed of becoming a doctor or nurse.“
“I loved learning about anatomy and physiology in high school, and dreamed of becoming a doctor or nurse,” says Becky. After graduating from high school, she immediately enrolled in the DATC Nurse Assistant program. She completed the course in three weeks and began her clinical training at the Bountiful Lifecare Center.
While working as a Patient Care Technician at a hospital, Becky began her undergraduate degree in pre-med at Brigham Young University (BYU). “I started taking courses in chemistry, bio-chemistry, and microbiology; however, the more I learned about this profession the less I spent with patients. I truly loved working with patients, so I decided to switch my undergraduate degree to philosphy.” She then completed a master’s degree in Business Administration at BYU.
“I paid my entire way through college with zero debt because of my CNA certificate at DATC and teaching assistant position at BYU. I recently received a job offer from a Fortune 500 company in Boston called EMC2. I was accepted into an elite marketing development program that pays triple figures and fast-tracks me into a leadership position. I truly believe that this new job was made possible through the hard work and perseverance that I learned at DATC. Davis Applied Technology College taught me that at the end of the day it is about empowering yourself with the necessary tools to get the job done.”
Becky says that she will always remember where she came from. “I am a South Davis public high school graduate with a valuable certificate from DATC. Those were my launching points in my life. They are what make me who I am today. Don’t ever think that taking a small engine or CNA class is going to prevent you from becoming a Fortune 500 CEO. A DATC certificate empowers you to become something better.”
Graciela Ipaz » Dental Assisting
“I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. It has been hard, but I want to show my family they can go to college too. I want to be a good example to them.”
Graciela didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life until she met her Orthodontist. “I was so fascinated with how the dentist installed the braces, how the mouth worked, and how I could help people get that perfect smile. I talked to my high school counselor and asked if there was a dental program that I could take my junior year. She told me about the Dental Assisting program at DATC.” But Graciela didn’t want to wait until her junior year, so she enrolled during the summer to get a jump-start on her new career. She continued taking courses during her junior and senior year of high school. After graduating, Graciela applied for and received a Pell Grant to pay for her remaining three months of training.
“I have really enjoyed my anatomy and physiology courses. I loved learning about the entire human body. It’s fascinating. I have also enjoyed gaining the hands-on skills to assist the dentist in chairside procedures. My instructor, Cathy Turnbow, is really nice and goes out of her way to help me learn the dental skills. Emma, my clinical partner, has also helped me learn the tougher clinical procedures.”
After completing the program, Graciela plans to work as a Dental Assistant in a pediatric dental practice to help pay for her Dental Hygiene degree at Weber State University. “I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. It has been hard, but I want to show my family they can go to college too. I want to be a good example to them.”
Louie Fitches » Architectural and Engineering Design
“I really loved my architecture classes in high school, but my lottery number came up for Vietnam so I enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school in 1970.”
Architectural and Engineering Design
I really loved my architecture classes in high school,” says Louie, “but my lottery number came up for Vietnam so I enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school in 1970.” Louie served in the Vietnam War as a Boiler Room Technician. After serving his country, Louie spent the next 40 years working as a Welder, Welding Inspector, Machine Shop Inspector, Union Pacific Railroad Conductor, and Nitrogen Technician.
“I was 57 years old when I decided to quit my Nitrogen Technician job because I was always traveling and never saw my family. I have always wanted to go back to school, so I contacted my Veterans Affairs Representative to inquire about obtaining my GI Bill so I could begin my education as a CNC Machinist or Electrical Controller.” Louie soon realized that an injury to his back he suffered while in the military was too severe to work in those fields, so his Vocational Rehab Counselor suggested a career in architecture. “It made sense to me. I loved those classes in high school.”
Louie enrolled in the Architectural and Engineering Design program at DATC and says that he has enjoyed working with the program instructor, Steve Berger. “He takes the time to explain why you are creating a line or using different tools on the computer. He really cares about his students.”
At the age of 60, Louie feels he has found his calling in life. He loves inventing new mechanical objects and plans on specializing as an industrial designer at DATC before continuing his education as a Mechanical Engineer at Weber State University. “Education is the most important thing you can do in your life and you are never too old to go back to school.
Scott Berry » Motor Sports Technician
“I wish people knew of all the options to pay for college at DATC; they can pay by the course, apply for grants and scholarships, or receive sponsorship grants from Department of Workforce Services or Vocational Rehabilitation. I hope to be done with the program in September and I plan to open my own Motor Sports Repair Shop and Landscape Company in Mississippi when I graduate.”
Motor Sports Technician
In 2009, Scott was laid off from his job in Indiana. He was out of work for 16 months before he finally found a job at Malmov at the Freeport Center. He moved his family to Utah, only to be laid off again four years later. At that point, Scott decided to go back to school.
Scott took a tour of the DATC and was immediately interested in the Motor Sports Technician program. “The program was a good fit. It was only 600 hours, and I enjoyed all the hands-on labs. I have really enjoyed my three instructors as they each have their own level of expertise. I love learning the theory in the books and becoming a true technician.”
Scott got a Hot Job Scholarship that paid 50% of his tuition for the first four courses. Now he is using a Pell Grant and Department of Workforce Services Training Grant to pay for the rest of the program. “I wish people knew of all the options to pay for college at DATC. They can pay by the course, apply for grants and scholarships, or receive sponsorship grants from Department of Workforce Services or Vocational Rehabilitation.”
When he finishes the program, Scott plans to open his own repair shop and landscaping company in Mississippi. His advice to young adults is, “Stay in school. The longer you wait to make your choices, the less opportunities you have in life. I kept holding off on school for 26 years, and now at the age of 50 I am being forced to get an education. Don’t make that mistake. It’s important to gain knowledge in order to move further down the road.”
Nate Davis » Pharmacy Technician
"I don’t feel there is an obstacle out there that can shut anyone down completely if you have enough determination to overcome it. The big thing is to realize what your limitations are and achieve what you can – and not be disappointed because you can’t achieve exactly what you want to do."
In 2011, life took an unexpected turn for Nate. He was diagnosed with Lupus and had to quite work and go on disability. “I want to be an example to my kids—if you fall, you get back up,” says Nate. So he started physical therapy and then enrolled in the Information Technology program at DATC. After being in the program a year, he decided to switch directions and enrolled in the Nurse Assistant program with the goal of getting his CNA certificate and then completing the Surgical Technology program. But while doing clinicals for his CNA certificate, Nate realized that, “I couldn’t physically do that work. I really wanted to get into Surg Tech, but I realized I physically couldn’t handle it.” Undeterred, he changed directions again and enrolled in Pharmacy Technician. He graduated from the program in March of 2014 and is currently working at Rite Aid.
When asked what advice he’d give to others dealing with physical challenges, Nate said, “The only advice I can give is to realize no matter what is thrown at you, you can overcome it. I don’t feel there is an obstacle out there that can shut anyone down completely if you have enough determination to overcome it. The big thing is to realize what your limitations are and achieve what you can—and not be disappointed because you can’t achieve exactly what you want to do. That is something that has been hard for me to learn through this process of getting back into the workforce. Can I do exactly what I want to do? No, but I can find something that I like to do and never give up completely.”
Justeen Jones » Advanced Esthetician
“Being able to help people feel better about their appearance means a lot to me. We are always looking for improvement in our lives and I want to be able to provide my clients the solutions to improve their lives,”
After graduating from high school I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I started attending Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) to begin my general requirements,” says Justeen. Then one day she took a tour of her doctor’s new laser clinic—and found her career. “They showed us their laser hair removal procedures and all the skin treatments they offered. At that moment I knew I wanted to be a Master Esthetician so I could help people with the same skin problems I faced in my youth.” She completed her associate degree at SLCC and then enrolled in the Master Esthetician program at DATC.
“When I started at DATC, I was so scared. This is the career I wanted for the rest of my life. That’s a scary thought; but my teachers, Sherene and Tiffin, put my mind at ease. They had so much knowledge about every treatment, product, and ingredient. I just wanted to gain all of their knowledge. They taught me how to give clients the results they are looking for. They have been so helpful. I am so grateful for them.”
After graduating, Justeen plans to continue working at the spa in the Grand America Hotel while she seeks employment at a laser clinic. “Every person I know has skin problems. Being able to help people feel better about their appearance means a lot to me. We are always looking for improvement in our lives and I want to be able to provide my clients the solutions to improve their lives.
Adam Boren » Digital Media Design
“I love music, art and computers. This program will give me chance to create my own music blog, featuring the latest artists and trends. DATC gives me motivation in life. My excitement is inspiring my wife Ashley to become a photographer. Together, we hope that by spreading joy to others we can keep the memory of my son alive.”
Digital Media Design
Adam Boren grew up in South Weber and attended Northridge High School. Adam’s love for construction & architecture at Northridge helped him win the Sate VICA Carpentry Competition and move on to compete at Nationals. After graduation, Adam worked as a Framer, Firefighter, EMT and HAFB Aircraft Technician. Soon afterwards, Adam met his wife, Ashley, and had his first son, Ryken. Two and a half years later, Adam and Ashley were pregnant again. “We were so excited,” states Adam. “That excitement turned to anxiety when our baby was diagnosed with Down syndrome.” The Boren family was sent to U of U Hospital to run additional tests, which ruled out Down syndrome but ran positive for Dural Sinus Thrombosis, a blood clot in the brain.”
On May 18, 2012, Adam and Ashley went for their regular checkup but ended up having to be induced for fear of their son not making it any longer. “I will never forget that day,” says Adam. “I barely had enough time to call my family before delivering my son and placing him on Ashley’s chest. We couldn’t believe how healthy he looked. We just sat there and cried. Seconds turned into minutes and minutes into hours, and our baby was still with us. What do we do now?” After running an Ultrasound, they discovered only ten percent of the baby’s brain was functioning. “We decided that we wanted to spend those last days in the comfort of our own home,” cries Adam. “Our son lived for 4 days before he began to slip from this world. My wife and I sat their crying, pleading for him to stay. We both kept saying, please stay with us so our family can say goodbye. Our son waited until everyone was there before he passed away.”
This was a tough time for Adam and Ashley…planning a funeral, working at Hill Air Force Base, and the endless medical bills. Adam remembers telling his wife after the burial, “I’m afraid to stop. I want to go back to school.” Adam applied for multiple scholarships, but decided to attend DATC because of their quality instructors; self paced training and flexible scheduling. Adam works during the day and attends the Web and Graphic Design program at night. “I love music, art and computers. This program will give me chance to create my own music blog, featuring the latest artists and trends,” says Adam. “DATC gives me motivation in life. My excitement is inspiring my wife Ashley to become a photographer. Together, we hope that by spreading joy to others we can keep the memory of my son alive.”
Sarryn Priest » American Sign Language-Interpreting
“My main goal of getting my Weber State University BIS and DATC Certificate is to learn a little bit about health, social work, education and interpreting so that I can teach the deaf community these topics. This broader perspective of this world will make me a better interpreter. My advice to people that can speak is, open your heart to new people and new things because you never know what can shape and change you.”
American Sign Language-Interpreting
Sarryn Priest fell in love with American Sign Language during her junior year at Layton High School. After graduating from high school, Sarryn accepted a scholarship at Dixie State to complete her required college courses before attending BYU London for two months. Recently, she completed her associate’s degree at Weber State University (WSU) and plans to complete her Bachelors Degree in Integrated Studies (BIS), which will provide her three minors in Health, Family Studies and English.
All of this hard work over the past few years is preparing Sarryn to become a National Certified American Sign Language Interpreter. Her final step is to attend a college that offers national certification. Sarryn decided to enroll in Davis Applied Technology College (DATC), while attending WSU, because they are nationally certified, located five minutes from home, and their instructors are Deaf. “A Deaf instructor is important to me because I truly believe they understand sign language linguistics and body language better,” says Sarryn. Since her June 2011 enrollment, she has completed ASL 2 & 3, ASL Linguistics, and two Interpreting courses. She plans to keep with her interpreting training at DATC. She goes on to say,” I would like to thank my instructors, Jeff and Dan, for their dedication to promoting the American Sign Language-Interpreting program; they are the main reason students come here and are so passionate about sign language.” Dan, the ASL instructor, commends her ambition to improve her ASL skills and gain a strong understanding of Deaf Culture and History. He believes she is a role model that aspiring interpreting students at DATC should follow.
After Sarryn receives her BIS from Weber State and National Certification from DATC, she plans to work for a company or state agency as an interpreter. She also plans to get married, have children and teach them sign language. Sarryn goes on to say, “My main goal of getting my Weber State University BIS and DATC Certificate is to learn a little bit about health, social work, education and interpreting so that I can teach the deaf community these topics. This broader perspective of this world will make me a better interpreter. My advice to people that can speak is, open your heart to new people and new things because you never know what can shape and change you.”
Garrett Lessard » Medical Assistant
"I’m going to work harder this year to be one of the ten-percent that gets accepted into the Radiology program. I truly believe that with additional Davis Applied Technology College (DATC) Nurse Assistant and Medical Assistant Certifications, clinical experience and a WSU college credit that I can increase my odds of being accepted in 2013.”
Garrett Lessard and his family moved to Utah from Orange County California when he was 5 years old. Garrett and his family settled in Riverdale where he was raised and educated. Garrett graduated from Bonneville High School where he enjoyed participating in Karate competitions and Weight Lifting and taking drawing and anatomy classes.
After High School Garrett completed two years of college in general studies at Weber State University, and enrolled into the Medical Assisting program at Davis Applied Technology College (DATC) in preparation for application into Weber State University’s Radiology Technician Program. Garrett says, “Last time I applied there were 500 people that applied for 50 slots. I’m going to work harder this year to be one of the ten-percent that gets accepted into the Radiology program. I truly believe that with additional Davis Applied Technology College (DATC) Nurse Assistant and Medical Assistant Certifications, clinical experience and a WSU college credit that I can increase my odds of being accepted in 2013.”
Garrett is proud of his success at the Davis Applied Technology College and feels that hard work and dedication will lead to more accomplishments in the future. Dee Weaver the Medical Assisting instructor said Garrett is a model student who works hard and is a team player. In addition to going to school; Garrett works full time, is a husband, and still finds time to have fun.