Antonela Maria Duni always admired the accomplishments of the people she met at her previous job at the National Visa Center where she helped process Visa applications for the U.S. Department of State.
She met people who were doing well in their lives and careers, and felt inspired by their success to raise her own expectations of herself. “I was working with really successful people every day, and I decided I needed go to back to school,” Duni said.
Because of its proximity to Duni’s full-time job on the Tradeport, Great Bay appealed to her. During a break from work one day, she stopped in, took a look around and found both the campus and the educational atmosphere inspiring. In summer 2015, Duni enrolled at Great Bay, and began a journey that she expects will lead to a career as a data analyst.
Duni is working toward her associate’s degree with a dual major on data analysis and liberal arts. She expects to graduate from Great Bay no later than spring 2018 and transfer to the University of New Hampshire- Manchester, where she will work toward her bachelor’s degree.
When she began at Great Bay, she continued to work full time, choosing courses that suited her lifestyle and needs. She has since moved to part-time work, so she can dedicate more time to her studies.
Great Bay made sense for Duni’s busy life because of convenience, the commitment of the people who advised her and the quality of her education.
“Working full time, I didn’t have to quit or sacrifice anything. I could take a class, and then go back to work. It was five minutes away. That was great for me,” she said. “The schedule that Great Bay offered worked perfectly for me. I could find classes in the morning, and also after 3:30 – at 5 or 7 o’clock at night. That was a big thing.”
As much as she benefited from the flexibility of the schedule, Duni also benefited from a team of academic advisors who helped her find a course of study that made sense for her interests and aptitudes. Great Bay’s advising director, Deanna Friedman, helped Duni settle on her pursuit of a double-major, in data analysis and liberal arts. “It’s amazing the access you have to your professors and instructors and your advisors. They provide you with all the help you need outside the class,” she said.
Duni wanted a career where she would feel intellectually stimulated and inspired to contribute to the success of a business or organization. Data analysts help companies make better decisions by making sense of numbers.
“I like numbers, and I have always loved math. I am very happy when I solve a math problem. It’s very creative,” Duni said. “A lot of people think this is boring, but data is not boring, because in order to get the information you want you have to ask the right questions in the right way. You have to use critical thinking and you have to be creative to find the solution.”
After she receives her associate’s degree, Duni plans to study at the University of New Hampshire-Manchester, which offers a bachelor’s in data analysis. The opportunity to continue her education after Great Bay was a principal reason she enrolled, she said. “The people at Great Bay really helped me realize the pathway that exists between Great Bay and UNH. It’s working perfectly for me, exactly as I envisioned it.”
Going back to school has helped her see a brighter future for herself and her daughter, who is in second grade. Duni, who lives in Seabrook, plans to graduate from Great Bay no later than spring 2018, and enroll immediately at UNH-Manchester.
She is not thinking beyond that – yet.
“One step at a time,” she said. “My main goal is get my degree from Great Bay, then transfer to UNH- Manchester. I’ll start thinking more about my career then. One of the nice things about data analysis is that you go into any industry. Analytics can be used across a broad spectrum, from industry to technology to finance. You can use it anywhere.”