Sarah Choy had already earned a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from the University of Minnesota before returning to the classroom as a City Colleges student. She decided to learn a trade skill in stenography—or short-hand writing—soon after graduation because she knew a master’s degree program would be too expensive for her budget.

However, like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on Sarah’s life and career choices. Consequently, she realized she needed to learn a new skill to move forward in the constantly evolving professional world.

Determined and motivated, Sarah decided to pursue the Cybersecurity Associate in Applied Science program at Kennedy-King College’s Tech Launchpad. Kennedy-King was close to her home in Hyde Park, and she was excited to learn about the vast number of resources and support available at City Colleges.

Becoming a college student again, however, did not come without its obstacles. Paying for rent, utilities, groceries, and college tuition and fees brought financial difficulties to Sarah and her wife. When she learned about the opportunity to receive home internet at no cost through the Chicago Connected program at City Colleges, she was relieved—it meant she had one less bill to pay.

“I don’t think internet is a luxury anymore,” Sarah said. “As a student who cannot work, internet becomes a lot more expensive quickly and can be cumbersome. Chicago Connected has really been a godsend—it has taken pressure off my budget.”

Sarah appreciates the support she’s able to receive as a City Colleges student, including one-on-one help from the Tech Launchpad program director and from the Tech Equity team, which coordinates the Chicago Connected program at City Colleges. She encourages other students to seek out similar opportunities.

With a few more semesters to go, Sarah is looking forward to learning more about the many career paths that her cybersecurity degree will prepare her for.