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  • January/2018

Meet Jesus Borrego: South University, Austin IT Program Director

by South University
January 25, 2018
A photo of Jesus Borrego.

Jesus Borrego became interested in electronics as a child of five or six, helping his grandfather build radios with off-the-shelf components. By the time he got to college, he decided to earn an electrical engineering degree and, in doing so, discovered computers. Before long, he also held a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science. Later, he would return for a PhD in Information Systems Management with a focus on Information Assurance.

"What I love about IT is that you can never know it all," he says. "There are so many branches that you can take 20 years studying one area and never finish it."

A Rich Career that Crossed Disciplines & Country Lines

Borrego began his technology career in a company with Top Secret clearance contracting for the US Air Force and Pentagon. There, as a Senior Engineer, he worked on flight and satellite replenishment simulations, including simulations of missile defense systems for nuclear attacks.

Across multiple companies, Borrego spent over two decades in satellite communications, telecommunications, and flight software. Yet, these are far from his only specialties. Throughout Borrego’s 35+ year career, he’s led teams and projects in custom software development, database administration, communications and networking, cyber security, and information assurance, including roles at global organizations such as Western Union and HP/Agilent Technologies. He's also presented in English and Spanish at over a dozen national and international conferences.

"What I like is the linkage between one topic and the other,” he explains. “I enjoy going across the field, rather than being an expert in just one area."

At one point, Borrego worked for a company tasked with consolidating Metlife International's worldwide database. In this job, he traveled to Mexico, Chile, and India, spending three months in each country working with peers from around the world.

What I liked about the project was interacting with so many different groups of people, so many different languages, and so many customs,” he says. “It was a very complex technological project, but the biggest takeaway to me was how similar we are worldwide. We have the same dreams, the same pursuits, the same need to provide for our family.

A Dedicated Technology Educator & Personal Mentor

Outside his industry work, Borrego has been teaching since 1989, something he’s loved since the very first class he taught. "It's addictive to see somebody's expression when they get it and the lightbulb goes off," he says.

Today, Borrego is proud to be the Program Director of Information Technology at South University, Austin.

"I've been teaching in technology for 28 years and I believe we have the right curriculum. That’s what attracted me to South," he says. "In particular, the purpose of our bachelor's is to learn the language so you can understand the different branches of technology. Our courses give you the foundation that allows you to move into specialties like cybersecurity or artificial intelligence as well as any new careers emerging inside those fields."

As an instructor, Borrego is tough but compassionate. He pushes his students to actively participate in class, believing that the worst thing a student can do is to not ask questions. "You can tell when somebody's not getting it," he notes. "I tell them, 'Okay, I see that look. You are not getting this one part. We're going to stay here until you get it.'"

He also takes the time to get to know his students and offer advice on their careers as well as balancing their schoolwork with their family lives. Often, he stays in touch with past students. "I've seen them go from entry-level positions up into senior-level and management positions over the years," he says.

While Borrego acknowledges that the IT field can be intimidating, he believes many opportunities await those who have the passion and drive to pursue it, stating "everything is hard before you know it, and then it gets easier."

Giving Back to the Community: Dr. Borrego to Host Cybersecurity Minischool

In everything from consumer shopping to banking to healthcare and more, an electronic security breach can have high consequences for individuals and organizations.

To teach you about protecting personal and enterprise assets, information assurance and cybersecurity industry veteran Dr. Jesus Borrego is hosting a no fee Cybersecurity Minischool on February 16, 2018, from 6pm to 8:30pm at South University, Austin. All members of the community and local businesses are welcome!

Participants will receive a certificate of attendance, helping those who plan to request Continuing Education Units from professional organizations. Get more information and register for this upcoming event today.

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Meet April Stidham: MSN Program Director at South University, Tampa

by South University
January 9, 2018
An image of a healthcare professional assisting a woman.

All of her life, April Stidham, DNP, ARNP, FNP-C, has been drawn to the career of nursing. Even as child, she watched hospital shows like Emergency!, admiring the nurse featured on the show, Nurse Dixie. "She possessed self-confidence, self-assuredness, professionalism, and intelligence. I admired her leadership and interaction with patients, emergency responders, and doctors," she recalls.

Today, Stidham is the Program Director for the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner programs at South University, Tampa, and has 35 years of experience practicing in Virginia, Washington, Tennessee, and Florida.

She got started in the field right out of high school with an associate’s degree program in nursing, earning her degree at 19 and her RN license by age 20. As her responsibilities grew and she took on more administrative roles, Stidham continued her education, earning a BSN in 1995 and completing an MSN-FNP program in 1997.

Over the course of her career, Stidham has worked in several internal medical practices as well as a variety of hospital departments, long-term care settings, and family health clinics. She has had numerous peer-publications and professional presentations, helped to secure a handful of research grants, and been involved in almost a dozen clinical studies.

"I love being a nurse practitioner," she says. "I try to empower my patients through education and letting them take charge and responsibility of managing their health, with me being there to offer support as their primary care provider."

Over time, her interest in educating patients evolved into a desire to educate students as well. She first dabbled in teaching after earning her MSN and taking on adjunct faculty roles from 1998 to 2000 and then 2003 to 2006 at the University of Virginia. These experiences inspired her to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2011 and to pursue additional teaching opportunities.

"I wanted to be able to teach students and give back what I had learned over the years from my nursing career as an RN and as an advanced practice nurse," she explains.

Equipped with her DNP, Stidham accepted a position at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), where she served as an Assistant Professor and later DNP Coordinator over a 5-year period, teaching and developing courses from the bachelor’s to doctoral level.

While there, she was also a family nurse practitioner in the ETSU Nurse Managed Clinics, including the University Student Health Center and Johnson City Community Health Center—providing primary care to uninsured or underinsured adults with multiple chronic conditions and acute and chronic diseases in rural northeast Tennessee. Within these clinics, she ran an interprofessional, student-led clinic, with the university’s DNP, BSN, pharmacy, nutrition, social work, clinical psychology, and medical students. She earned the ETSU College of Nursing Nurse of the Year – Service Award in 2014 and the Nurse of the Year – Practice Award in 2015.

In 2017, Stidham joined South University as Program Director for Tampa's MSN programs. In her role as a mentor and instructor, Stidham enjoys getting to know and interact with each of her MSN students. "It is very rewarding to see my advanced practice nursing students grow, mature, transition to using their new knowledge, and eventually gain confidence in managing patient care," she says.

Being a good nurse, she believes, is in large part driven simply by having the compassion, caring, and desire to take care of others. Education and mentorship are also important keys to success, she advises.

"The best way for a nursing professional to grow their skills and their career is to establish a good relationship with an experienced nurse, to listen to and accept constructive feedback, and to allow yourself to gain experience and confidence as a nurse before moving to the next level of higher education."

Want to know more about the nursing programs and faculty at South University? Explore our College of Nursing and Public Health today!

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