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Jaqueline Dulay

Jacqueline Dulay is all too familiar with balancing the pursuit of her education at Columbus State with the realities of a working life.

At age 24, she has been steadily building her own personal business of fixing computers while finishing degree in Electro-Mechanical Engineering from Columbus State.

“I get about three to four repairs in a week,” said the Columbus resident. “I pretty much work two jobs and finding time to commit to school is difficult, but Columbus State made it easy.”

Columbus State prepared her for the real world and the practical knowledge she received there has been invaluable, she says.

“Columbus State was an excellent starting point for me. It wasn't just the textbook knowledge that I cared about, but application,” she said. “That's what makes it unique. Columbus State sets the standard high and challenges students not just to learn, but to apply.”

Dulay began attending Columbus State in 2007 to further her experience in computers and she learned of a wide world of opportunities in the field.

“There are lots of positions in the IT field that I had no idea even existed. I focused on Desktop Support -- fixing hardware and software,” she said. “Troubleshooting has always been my passion.”

During that time at Columbus State she connected with a strong mentor in Prof. Debra Dyer.

“Deb and I had very good rapport: she took me under her wing during my first class with her three years ago,” Dulay said. “When I needed help, she always made me (and other students) her priority. She took my strengths and my weaknesses and gave me good, honest feedback.”

In Dyer’s PC Essentials class, Dulay and other students refurbished computers in preparation for their CompTIA A+ certification. The computers were later donated and raffled to first-generation and low-income students via the TRiO program.

It was by Dyer’s suggestion that Dulay eventually sought to transfer to Franklin University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering. Dyer suggested this route due to Franklin’s 3+1 articulation agreements, which allow students to do three years at Columbus State, then a final year at Franklin to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“Deb said it was a lot easier, and she was right,” Dulay said.