In advance of the 2021 Summer graduation ceremony the online CICS students submitted votes for the outstanding graduating students. This award is chosen by the students and faculty. This year we have a tie. Once you read more about these two incredible students, you will understand why the CICS faculty elected to allow the tie and the award to be shared, and if you know these two you know that they are happy to share the honors.
To help explain why Paul Faira is receiving this award, we share some of the responses collected from his CICS student colleagues:
“Relentless positivity, boundless curiosity, and limitless potential are all phrases that come to mind when thinking of Paul. He makes fast friends with everyone he meets and I was immediately impressed with him the day that we walked into orientation in January of 2020. Paul brings out the best in everyone he meets and strives to not just complete the work, but to gain deep understanding and wisdom at every step. Paul is also exhausting, not in an irritating or boring way, but because he has an insatiable thirst to know more and to strive for better—both in what he does and to better himself. (If he wins and you read this out loud with him listening for the first time, I fully expect that brilliant grin to be spread wide across his face and those curious eyes as wide as saucers, likely mouthing “no way” repeatedly with his infectious laughter..)”
Other nominations went on to describe Paul “He has been the most engaging and encouraging person I’ve had class with thus far. He is authentic, vulnerable and has a smile that immediately creates a level of trust with me.” and “Paul Faria- Is an awesome partner and one of the best comrades I’ve had in this program. He puts his all into everything he does. He also knows how to motivate everyone he meets, and he encourages everyone around him. He’s smart, creative, and has contributed so much to CICS as a student, and I’m sure he’ll continue to do so afterwards.”
Paul not only completed the CICS online program in just five semesters but he did so with a perfect 4.0 GPA. In addition to his full time job, many special projects such as the Horizon Report and competing on the winning team in the ITERA Case Competition, Paul likely set a record for the number of networking calls and even found time to complete more than one internship!
Along with Paul, LaJoi Shelton Robinson received an Outstanding Online Graduate Award for the 2021 graduating class. LaJoi is also one of our 4.0 perfect GPA students, completing the program in just five semesters. However, LaJoi completed most of the program while teaching high school computer science courses during a pandemic, much of which was virtual or hybrid. LaJoi completed a TechPoint SOS internship where she collaborated on a team challenged to give a technological solution to the issues presented during the COVID-19 crisis in working from home. While teaching and taking graduate courses, LaJoi still found time to earn certifications as AWS Cloud Practitioner, AWS Solutions Architect, Professional SCRUM Master-1, and more.
Of LaJoi, one of her CICS online colleagues said: “She’s a total powerhouse and incredible leader. She has a gift for being able to employ her knowledge from all angles to be able to execute excellent solutions. She shows tenacity in EVERYTHING she does. She’s a wife, mom, teacher, now in tech, and was an amazing team leader, teammate, and friend. I can’t think of anyone more outstanding!”
LaJoi has already joined Accenture as a Software Architect Analyst.
Congratulations to both of these Outstanding Online Graduate Award recipients!