Student Stories: Cindy Jaunich

Cindy Jaunich

Major: Computer Science

Cindy Jaunich found herself in a place in life that she never thought she’d reach.

“I realized my future would not hold what I thought it would and that I needed a way to take care of my two children and me and provide us with a solid and stable future,” she said. “I had no formal education. In the past, I had managed restaurants and bars and did not care for that type of lifestyle anymore. So I had to make some hard decisions and decided I needed to get my education for their sake and mine.”

Jaunich had a good friend who was a student at College of DuPage and spoke highly of the school. She recommended that Jaunich take the Myers Briggs test to find out what career she should pursue and meet with a counselor to guide her in the right direction.

Jaunich decided to sign up for one class at COD, starting with her weakest subject – math.

“I was very nervous about returning to school,” she explained. “I was older and I was a terrible student when I was younger. Math terrified me, so I wanted to see if I could pass one class. I was very fortunate and had an excellent math teacher, Vicki Garringer, who gave me confidence and taught me the study skills I needed to succeed.”

Having passed her math course successfully, Jaunich began taking more classes and selected computer science as a major. She always loved learning about computers and enjoyed solving problems.

“The work was quite challenging, but I also found it very rewarding when I finally solved the problem I had been working on,” she said. “I was also very fortunate to take Mary Ann Zlotow’s ‘Intro to Computers’ class. She encouraged me and found my enthusiasm for learning appealing. She was an excellent resource for me and in many aspects a mentor.

“I like the fact that with computers your career can take you in so many different directions. I also like that I can work in so many different fields with my skills. I think that web design will incorporate my creativity into my work and that I would enjoy it the most.”

Jaunich earned her associate degree and has worked as a team lead of a Windows 7, Tier II service desk for Kellogg’s in Oak Brook as well as for Wilton Brands LLC in Woodridge. She is now employed by Griffith Foods, where she initially was a Service Desk Technician and currently is an IT consultant, supporting the supply chain equipment and applications for more than 25 plants globally. 

“I finally put some of my programming knowledge to work and learned SQL server while on the job,” she said. “I find this job extremely satisfying and challenging and feel as though I am expanding my knowledge significantly.” 

Returning to school was a tremendous learning and life experience for Jaunich. 

“I had a lot of family members look at me strangely for going back to school so late in my life, but I never let other people’s opinions stop me before,” she said. “I knew that those years would be of extreme sacrifice and would probably cost me in my personal life, but it was the best thing I had ever done and I think I have set an excellent example for my two sons. I have shown them the importance of education and that if you work hard enough and want something badly enough, you will succeed.”

Jaunich also achieved her final educational goal by earning a Bachelor of Science in Information Management, graduating summa cum laude.

“I feel as though my journey that began with COD is complete,” she said. “Now that I am finished, these degrees are mine. I earned them with my own hard work and discipline and no one can ever take that from me. 

“I plan on continuing my education so I can keep up with the ever-changing world of computer science. I had some excellent teachers at COD and made great friends, and I look forward to always being involved with COD at some level.”

More about the Computer Science program