Kevin Pebley is a lead architect in our solutions and service engineering group. He's always tried to instill his never-stop-learning belief in his daughters. His daughter, Kara, took it to heart.
She is double-majoring in math and computer science at the University of Georgia. But that's not how her journey started.
Her mom and dad had taken her to Savannah College of Art and Design – at her request – to look at their art program. On the way home, they asked, "Why art?"
Kevin nearly ran off the road when his daughter told him, "I wanted to be an engineer, but somebody told me I couldn't do math because I was a girl."
"That ticked us off," says Kevin. "In this day and age, we were shocked that someone would tell her something like that. We've always been supportive of our girls and told them they could be anything they wanted as long as they worked hard."
Fast forward. Kevin's little girl is now settling into her senior year.
While guiding Kara down her educational path, Kevin became one of the first graduates of the master's degree program in enterprise architecture from Penn State University. Plus, he was taking the ATO technology skills transformation training. He was learning more about Big Data, cloud technology and virtualization.
As Kevin tackled his job-related transformational training and Penn State homework, he would spend 15-20 hours during the week studying, in addition to 20 or more hours on the weekend. "With the pace of business and trying to keep up my studies, it got pretty grueling at times," Kevin said.
Meanwhile, Kara focused on her computer science studies – using data to solve problems has become her passion.
Kevin's and Kara's educational journeys intersected. They supported each other, sending texts and having at-length conversations about the fields they now shared in common.
Kevin would give Kara examples of practical data applications in the real world. She opened up a whole new world of math to her dad.
And Kara – who used to think her dad was just on conference calls all day – gained a new respect for what he had accomplished.
"We've always been close," says Kevin. "But going through college at the same time gives you a lot in common. I have to admit, when I started college, I couldn't do the math and stuff she's rattling off. But she keeps impressing me. I hope she knows how proud we are of her."
Kara says she's ready to move forward in the computer science field. "I see myself staying in technology. I like that it doesn't stay still. I like that you're always moving on to the next cool thing."
She says her dad's continuing his education has shown her that even if you are in a good place, you should always strive for more.
"I'm from a small town in East Tennessee," said Kevin. "If you'd told me back in college that I'd be creating global architecture solutions at a major company like this, I'd have told you that was crazy. But I'm happy that I was able to experience all of this and now give my daughter a sense of potential."