Cheiko Wade wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she graduated from Lake Gibson High School, so she started working for Publix Super Markets in 2005. Interested in computers, she was quickly promoted from an entry-level position to work in electronic data interchange, which kickstarted her professional and educational growth.
Polk State College provided the affordability, flexibility, and proximity for her to pursue her higher education while raising her family and working full-time.
“I’m a working mother,” she said. “I knew that Polk State would offer me the ability to take courses online as well as evening courses. I knew that Polk State was where I needed to be.”
Wade shared that Polk State provided both the classes and the resources she needed to be successful in programming.
“Polk State has a variety of programming classes that help entry-level programmers to develop the skills for programming,” she explained. “Polk State is wonderful in helping us advance in our careers because they have developed a curriculum and program that helps working people get their degrees and work in the fields of their choosing.”
She also took advantage of tutoring services available through the College’s Teaching Learning Computing Centers or TLCCs.
“That’s one of the greatest things that [Polk State] offers,” Wade added. “We have students who are going through the same program or who have graduated from that program who are willing to help.”
Wade received her Polk State Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management with a concentration in Business Information Technology in 2021.
“I was able to show my children that I can work hard, and I can go to school to learn and continue my education and do it while still being a good mom,” she said.
She currently serves as a software engineer for Publix Super Markets and expressed gratitude for her employer’s support throughout her educational journey as well as for fostering a culture that values professional growth.
Wade added many reasons why she would recommend Polk State.
“One, it’s affordable,” she said. “My company luckily offers tuition reimbursement; however, I had the flexibility to be able to afford a class here or there and it didn’t hurt the pocket as badly as a traditional university.”
“I would also recommend Polk State because of the people,” she added. “They are willing to help you.”
Her advice to students: “persevere and the rewards will pay off in the end.”