EL DORADO, Ark. (11/15/19) A student from South Arkansas Community College was selected to participate on this year’s Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team. The student that earned the coveted spot was Will Clayton, a senior in the college’s computer technology department.
Handling technical equipment may seem like a headache for some but for him, it’s all he’s ever know.
“I’ve always tinkered with computers, cell phones anything to do with technology I’ve always been into,” he said.
That same passion and drive is what earned him a spot on this year’s Cisco Talent Bridge Dream Team.
Clayton was one of five students in the country who was selected to be the tech guru at the Cisco Summit. The opportunity gave them a chance to meet people from all over the world.
“These are people that came from Japan, from Singapore, Eastern European countries as well as here in America,” the Director of the Communication Information Technology Department, Vicki Badgley said.
Professor Badgley was one who saw the opportunity and couldn’t help but pass it along to Clayton.
“When I read about the opportunity, he had all of the qualifications and I went this is too good not for him to apply and at least try to get it,” she said. “Even when I handed it to him I said you’ll apply and you’ll get it.”
She’s been working at South Ark for almost 30 years and has never had a student even apply for the grand opportunity.
Those selected worked alongside Cisco engineers to set up for Cisco events. Clayton remembers how much the experience blew him away. He and the other four selected went to Las Vegas at the beginning of November.
“We ran a lot of cable, set up access points, IP phones, quite a few switches,” he said. “It was a great experience.”
The opportunity wasn’t just a big deal for him but for other students in the computer technology department.
“It also excited the other students in our program saying gosh that’s one of us,” Professor Badgley said. “One of the students said a victory for him is a victory for us all.”
Clayton attributes his success to the hands on experiences he receives at South Ark. He said the college may not have a powerhouse name, but they have all the necessary tools for students to live out their dreams.
“It may not be one of those really big schools,” Clayton said. “However, they have every resource available to succeed as I’m proof of.”
Clayton will graduate in December. He’s already accepted a position as a data center technician at Amazon in Santa Clara, California.