Ermin Velagic graduated in 2020 with an Associate Degree in Network and Database Administration. He immediately took a position with TekSystems. Last winter, Ermin joined IMPACT Strategies, a full-service commercial builder as a Computer Support Specialist.

Ermin tells us his parents emigrated to the United States “seeking a better life,” making him a first-generation college graduate. His academic journey faced serious challenges. Ermin and his fiancé both worked full-time while he attended classes at Ranken to build a more secure future. While juggling this schedule, he distinctly remembers the support he received from Ranken IT faculty member Ashley Reddick, who spent many hours before and after class mentoring and motivating him to pass demanding certification exams. In a personal letter to Mr. Reddick, Ermin’s emotions were clear, “[You] created a never-forgetting impact I will carry with my heart and soul heavily for as long as I will be able to remember it.”

Mr. Reddick says, “I saw his passion, his potential, and his desire to do better for his family . . . I am glad to have been part of his journey. This shows me that when we care about [students], their lives can truly change.” IT Division Head Charles Corrigan was equally impressed, reflecting, “Ermin was not satisfied that he could perform a task, he always wanted to know the ‘why’, the ‘how’ and the ‘what for’ so he would have a total understanding.”

Teresa Whittaker, Controller at IMPACT Strategies, says she’s consistently impressed by Ranken alumni. “Ranken does a great job of preparing their students for the work environment. Ermin is a great team player.” He now oversees 3 Hyper-V servers and foresees an administrative role.

Ermin’s story is inspirational and heartfelt, he shares:

In the moments I get overwhelmed, I take a breather and remind myself that everything I thought I could not accomplish when I was sitting in my chair at Ranken, is now in front of me. Those moments of ‘I’m giving up, I’m not going to make graduation’ are now a whisper in the wind. The thoughts and dreams I had . . . [of reaching] my 5-year goal are now my day-to-day reality. A tremendous amount of material I learned in class is really being applied to what I am doing. I could not be more satisfied with where I was destined to be.

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