SJR STATE ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS
Rian Giddings (2013)
Computer Systems Analyst
Each week, St. Johns River State College will honor one of its own in an alumni salute, celebrating the career milestones, community contributions and personal reflections of those who began their collegiate journey as SJR State Vikings.
Rian Giddings, SJR State’s first Collier-Blocker In-District Minority Scholarship graduate, is another shining example of the College’s “This Is Where It Starts” campaign. “My time at SJR State prepared me well for launching into an IT career soon after I graduated. Today, it serves as a solid foundation of knowledge and experience for continuing to develop and expand upon my skills as an IT professional.”
“My time at SJR State taught me most what it means to represent something bigger than myself,” Rian continued. “It was also a point in life when I seriously began to rationalize the idea of learning and using technology to develop solutions that could influence the world around me. I have since realized this idea into a life-long passion and a full-time career choice.”
RIAN, WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE AT SJR STATE?
I think my most memorable moment at SJR State was graduation day. Moving across the stage, I could feel that my accomplishment, while a great personal token of success, also helped to solidify the benefit and result of a school choosing to create an opportunity such as the Collier-Blocker Scholarship. I am proud to have set an example for those who followed, and I was honored to be able to speak about my experience to some of them during my time at SJR State.
WHO WAS MOST INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING YOU REACH YOUR GOALS AT SJR STATE AND BEYOND?
My mother -- For all the days she spent working and all the nights she spent praying for my success. President Joe Pickens and Dr. Melanie Brown were also both integral to my success at SJR State. President Pickens extended the opportunity for me to continue my education and reshape my life, and I wouldn't have made it without his full trust and support in my ability to succeed. Dr. Brown is a very special person to me, and she helped me plan and execute my success story at SJR State each step of the way. I owe so much of my continued success to her generosity, compassion and support.
Also worth mentioning is Professor Phillip Lyons, who inspired me, challenged me and gave me confidence in my ability to analyze, decompose and solve complex mathematical problems. His passion for mathematics is contagious, and I am forever grateful to him for the ideas he taught and the patience and kindness he delivered along with them.
WHICH AWARDS OR ACCOLADES DID YOU RECEIVE WHILE ATTENDING SJR STATE?
In addition to receiving the Collier-Blocker Minority In-District Scholarship and being the first graduate of the program, I also made the Dean's List a time or two.
Note: The Collier-Blocker Scholarship was created in 2012 in honor of one of the state’s 12 original Black Junior Colleges located in Putnam County. The college opened in 1960, offering postsecondary educational opportunities for Black students from surrounding counties, and later merged with St. Johns River Junior College in 1965. The scholarship is awarded each year to students from Clay, Putnam, and St. Johns counties.
WHAT WAS NEXT ON YOUR AGENDA AFTER GRADUATING FROM SJR STATE?
In 2014, I started working in IT Systems Support at my present employer. In 2015, I was presented with the opportunity to relocate to Seattle, WA, with the same company. Later that year, I took on my current role as a Computer Systems Analyst.
I am now responsible for provisioning and maintaining various collections of infrastructure; deploying and troubleshooting highly distributed, highly available in-house and vendor-based software systems; identifying and automating business workflows into reliable, repeatable solutions; and often working closely with other software engineers, business analysts, network engineers and database administrators to deliver constantly evolving IT systems that meet the needs of both internal and external customers of the American Public Power industry.
WHAT DO YOU ULTIMATELY SEE YOURSELF DOING, CAREER-WISE?
Looking forward, I ultimately want to continue expanding my skills and knowledge in the IT space here in Seattle for a few more years. The career opportunities are abundant, and the technology is constantly evolving.
Eventually, I plan to channel my experience into building a consultancy service for small business technical design and solutions. I’ve contemplated bringing this type of service back to Florida and specifically offering my skillset to my hometown first.
ARE YOU AN SJR STATE ALUMNUS?
Click on the link below to share your recent accomplishments and join the SJR State Alumni Association today - we'd love to hear from you! SJRstate.edu/alumni.html
Director of Public Relations and Publications