May 2023 Student of the Month: Rachel VanHorn


May 31, 2023

7Minute Read

May 2023 Student of the Month: Rachel VanHorn

Student of the Month: Rachel VanHorn’s Inspiring Journey into Coding

Are you someone who believes that learning something new, especially in a challenging field, is beyond your capabilities? Meet Rachel VanHorn, our student of the month, who defied all odds and embarked on an incredible journey into the world of coding. Rachel’s story is a testament to the fact that with determination and passion, anyone can achieve their dreams, regardless of their background or previous experience.

From Zookeeper to Aspiring Coder

Rachel VanHorn’s journey began with a background in zoology, earning her a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University back in 2003. For almost 20 years, Rachel dedicated her life to caring for animals as a zookeeper. However, in 2021, she made the difficult decision to step away from her career due to compassion fatigue. Rachel understood that being a zookeeper required genuine care and dedication, and she realized it was time for a change.

A Quest for Balance and Family Time

As a loving wife and mother of three, Rachel sought a career that would allow her to contribute to her family’s well-being while balancing her personal life. She explored various options, including a brief stint in the fertility industry, but found the demands on her family time overwhelming. Undeterred, Rachel continued her search for a fulfilling career that would align with her family’s needs.

Discovering Coding through Unexpected Channels

It was during her search for family-friendly job opportunities that Rachel stumbled upon the world of coding. She had googled “good jobs for stay-at-home moms” and noticed how coding-related content seemed to appear everywhere. Intrigued, she decided to explore further. One day, while scrolling through her Facebook feed, an advertisement for a College of Southern Nevada (CSN) program caught her attention. Rachel took the test and, to her surprise, scored remarkably high. That’s when Mike, her recruiter, reached out to her, and she took it as a sign to pursue this newfound path.

Thriving in the Program

Rachel’s journey into coding truly began when she enrolled in the program. Week after week, she pushed herself to learn and grow. As she progressed through the program, Rachel found herself gaining confidence and adapting to the flipped classroom model, which she initially approached with skepticism. The program’s structure, mentorship, and access to instructors proved instrumental in Rachel’s success. Despite juggling her responsibilities as a full-time mother, Rachel devoted herself to both the Front-End and Back-End programs, recognizing the value they brought to each other.

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Success

While coding became an intuitive process for Rachel, she did face some hurdles along the way. As someone who struggled with spatial concepts, she encountered difficulties with multi-dimensional arrays and class instantiation. However, Rachel’s determination led her to overcome these challenges through hard work and perseverance. She found the rewards of coding to be unparalleled, experiencing an instant dopamine rush whenever her code produced the desired output or when she built something from scratch.

Empowering Others and Building a Supportive Community

Rachel’s coding journey not only impacted her own life but also inspired those around her. Her 12-year-old child was fascinated by her newfound passion, realizing that coding was not just a hobby but a tangible skill that could change lives. Rachel’s experience in the coding program introduced her to a supportive community of like-minded individuals. Through study groups and platforms like Slack, she connected with fantastic people who were always ready to help each other succeed. Rachel’s LinkedIn network flourished as she expanded her connections in the tech industry.

Future Aspirations: Merging Science and Technology

Looking ahead, Rachel envisions a dream career where she can combine her scientific background with coding. She aspires to develop tools and software that aid scientists in their research endeavors, particularly in biotechnology and environmental studies. Leveraging her rich experience as a zookeeper, Rachel hopes to build meaningful relationships and bridge the gap between her scientific expertise and technological skills. Importantly, she aims to maintain the flexibility to work from home, allowing her to be present for her family’s important moments.

Rachel’s Words of Encouragement

Rachel’s journey has been a transformative experience. Through her own experiences and as a dedicated mother, she firmly believes that we are all capable of much more than we think. Rachel’s advice to anyone considering learning to code or pursuing any challenging endeavor is simple: just go for it. She urges individuals not to underestimate their potential to learn something new, even if it appears difficult or unknown. Rachel’s philosophy centers around putting in the effort and doing one’s best, rather than striving for perfection.

Rachel’s story exemplifies the power of perseverance, the joy of learning, and the potential for personal growth. As she continues to embrace coding, Rachel VanHorn proves that with determination, passion, and the right support, anyone can overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.

Start Your Journey Today

Interested in changing careers and becoming a software developer? Learn more about Promineo Tech’s programs and how we help students make this transition through affordable, low-risk technology education: Start Your Journey: Exploring Promineo Tech’s Coding Programs for Career Transition

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