Dianne Holley Mountain, MSCIS ’06, wasn’t your typical undergraduate — she was 45 when she went back to school to complete her bachelor’s degree. “Looking around my organic chemistry class,” she remembers, “no one was over 24.” But Dianne didn’t let that stop her. She received her BA in Biology from Southwestern University in 2004 then enrolled in the Master of Science in Computer Information Systems program at St. Edward’s.
Again in the minority — a woman in a field historically dominated by men — Dianne quickly found she was in her element. “I realized long ago that I loved computers,” she says. “There’s always something new to discover.”
That passion for discovery and learning is what initially led Dianne to return to school and later complete her master’s degree. “As I moved forward in my career, I realized my knowledge was narrow in scope. There were times I felt hampered. I had a lot of hands-on experience but no formal training.”
Putting New Skills to Work
The MSCIS courses gave Dianne the broad-based training she was looking for. Now a systems analyst and web developer for Seton Healthcare Network, Dianne says the knowledge she gained in the MSCIS program have improved her efficiency, making her more valuable to her employer. “Broad knowledge is essential,” she says, “The fact that I know how networks work and how databases work allows me to focus on my priorities as a systems analyst.”
Following in the Footsteps of Her Family
While Dianne’s degree path may be different than many, her family history shows she’s in good company. “My grandmother always stressed the importance of education and lifelong learning,” she says. "She returned to college at age 49 and finished her degree. My mother did the same. It’s not so unusual,” she says. “What I wanted to do wasn’t there when I was younger.”
Luckily for Dianne and other women drawn to new technology, today, the opportunities for study and career options in computer information systems are wide open.