SAU Partnership A Second Chance For Terry

Jordan Terry headshotWhen he lost his job four years ago, Jordan Terry knew it was time to press the reset button. Taking the leap to revisit his education, the National Park College (NPC) graduate turned adversity into a new beginning.

“I decided it was time for me to go back to school,” Terry said. “I had attended NPC years before, and even though it didn’t work out for me, it was still fresh on my brain as an option to go back,” Terry said. “My wife went there and recommended teachers for me. I applied for scholarships, started going back to school and the rest is history.”

Back in the classroom, Terry learned of NPC’s four-year degree partnership with Southern Arkansas University (SAU) and began feeling like a brighter future was within reach.

“I knew I wanted to do something with computer science,” Terry said. “The SAU program was enticing to me because it was a generalized computer science program that allowed for more career versatility and it gave me the opportunity to finish my degree without having to move away from my job and my family. Having to relocate to Magnolia would have been difficult on me and my family.”

Pursuing a degree while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic was a daunting task for every student. For Terry, however, it was an opportunity to continue moving forward with his career goals while staying close to home.

“The COVID-19 pandemic enforced the idea that remote learning was possible,” Terry said. “Knowing I could work remotely while still being able to study online made it possible for us to buy our house and stay in the area we are familiar with.”

With a second chance at earning his dream degree, Terry pulled out all the stops to ensure that he excelled every step of the way.

“I strived for success,” Terry said. “I wanted to show that I was willing to put in the work to support my family. That was one of the reasons I was burning the midnight oil at 2 a.m. and making things harder than they needed to be. I wanted to impress my professors and show them that not only can I do this, but I can do it well.”

With a strong support system beside him, Terry never lost sight of his goals as he worked to reach the finish line.

“My wife, NPC computer science teacher Candace Speers-Terry, has been my biggest inspiration,” Terry said. “Everything I do is for us and our future. That’s what keeps me going. If we grow our family in the future, I’m confident that we have the financial foundation to make decisions with peace of mind.”

On May 13, Terry graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science – General as one of five members of the inauguralJordan Terry on the graduation stage with Dr. David Lanoue, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at SAU SAU cohort. With a smile on his face and pep in his step, Terry will never forget the feeling of walking across the stage.

“It’s like that feeling at the end of a movie where the credits begin to roll, but you know there’s a sequel coming,” Terry said. “Everything is wrapped up and we’re starting a new chapter. Having my family able to come see me and support me was a great experience for me.”

With degree in hand, Terry is already hard at work writing the next chapter of his story.

“I am currently looking for software development jobs while continuing to grow my own side projects to strengthen my resume,” Terry said. “I’m really excited to see what happens next.”