Keiser University student LaTonya Alexander had two choices, stand up to the challenge of facing her fears, or live with the regret of never accomplishing a lifelong goal.
The latter, she says, was not going to be an option.
In February 2023 Alexander took her first step, enrolling in the Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity degree program at Keiser University Jacksonville with no previous IT experience.
“If I’m honest it was terrifying,” Alexander said. “I wanted to go to a career college that could help me get to where I was at my age, age was a big factor for me. Starting over was hard, but I came here, and Keiser has been like a family to me. They grabbed hold of me, they have mentored me, age doesn’t mean anything to them.”
Alexander, 52, worked in finance and mortgage banking for thirty years. After recently being laid off, she decided the time is now to finally step back into academia.
“For awhile I was a single parent, and I’ve always tried to go back to school to inspire them to go to school. Unfortunately, I always had to stop because of finances,” Alexander said. “My kids were like, mom, you’ve sacrificed so much for us, you’ve made sure we went to school, now it’s time for you to life. It brings tears to my eyes because I finally get to do stuff for me.”
Alexander says her two adult children are her biggest supporters and sources of encouragement, as well as her inspiration to join the cybersecurity field.
“There’s so many opportunities for African-American women because we are the low stats of it. I wanted to be part of something that’s up and growing, I wanted to be able to make a difference,” Alexander said. “There’s so many different avenues in cybersecurity that it doesn’t hold you back.”
The Keiser University Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity program prepares students to become cybersecurity practitioners, attain professional certifications, and help global organizations manage cybersecurity risk. The curriculum is designed to enhance students’ ability to identify, protect, respond, and recover from cybersecurity risks.
Keiser University’s Chancellor, Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., says Keiser University is committed to filling critical roles in Florida’s workforce. The cybersecurity program is one example of how the university is preparing students to fill these positions.
“Keiser University is proud to serve a student body dedicated to the needs of their communities,” Keiser said. “LaTonya Alexander is a shining example that it is never too late to invest in yourself and your education. We are grateful to have students like Alexander choose Keiser University and are committed to preparing them for important careers ahead.”
Apprehensive to begin her journey into higher education and this fast-paced field, Alexander says the support she found at Keiser University allowed her to continue on the path to success.
“All my professors have mentored me, and they know my passion. I believe that when people know your passion and your drive, they will do everything they can to help you get there,” Alexander said. “I can inspire so many young adults that want to come out and say I can’t do this. I’m 52 years old, you can whatever you have, it’s never too late. Doubt is always going to seep in, it’s up to you to overcome that doubt.”
Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associates to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in Social Mobility by U.S. News and World Reports in 2023.