Meet Giny Kapili
Giny Kapili was 30 years old and working at a local convenience store, when one day she woke up and decided: "Life is too short. I need to go back to school and do something for myself - something I'm passionate about. It's really never too late," she said.
When she first started at SPC, she was just taking general classes, not pursuing a degree. Then she found her passion: computer programming - and started taking online and 8-week classes that fit her schedule.
"I like the flexibility that St. Petersburg College's online courses provide and the small class sizes that allow for more interaction between the students and the professors," she said. "I love the 8-week mod schedule," she said. "It really gives me the ability to concentrate on the material as opposed to being spread out over four classes."
Kapili said that though most people consider programming as a lone wolf kind of thing, that wasn't her experience at SPC. Her eyes lit up as she explained how one of her professors, Adrian Tillman, had the class working in teams on group projects.
"At the end of the term, we had to get in front of class and go through our code," she explained. "It really built up my confidence. He works hard to get you prepared for the workplace. He doesn't spoon feed you anything."
She took her first class with Tillman in 2012 and has since taken many others, earning her Associate of Arts Degree and a Certificate in Java. She recently completed her Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Technology Development and Management with an emphasis on Software Development.
"Whether online or in class, Tillman's enthusiasm and passion for his field shines through," she said. "Recently I contacted him at his office, and even though I'm not enrolled in any of his courses this semester, he took the time out of his busy day to speak with me about the best way to get feedback from other professionals and gain real world experience."
Giny was taking mostly online and 8-week term classes, and when she completed one of her 8-week online classes in less than a week, SPC Professor Bradley Yourth took notice and recommended her for a tutoring position.
"I love being a tutor," she said. "There are tons of students with different backgrounds. The students that I can relate to the most are the older ones that have a hard time with basic computer skills. When I first started out at SPC I didn't even know how to copy and paste, so it's very rewarding to help them out."
But even as a tutor she finds herself working to break the stereotype of the male-dominated technology field.
Once, while tutoring a male student, another student came up and tapped him on the shoulder and said "When you are done with her can you help me out." She looked up, smiled and said: "I'm the tutor - and I'm happy to help you."
Name: Giny Kapili
Degree: A.A. Degree, Certificate and B.A.S. Degree
Graduation Date: 2013, 2014, 2016