The middle armrest of
a pickup truck makes a pretty lousy study station. It’s not much better as a
pillow. But for now, Dan Del Arroyo was making do.
To his classmates at
Irvine Valley College, he was just an older student who really seemed to know
his stuff when it came to tech. But after class, Del Arroyo was “just trying to
survive.” Living in his truck. Dealing with the overwhelming personal and
financial aftermath of an untimely layoff. Looking for a way out through his
belief in the power of education.
“I stayed in the
library as long as I could,” he recalls about his time at Irvine Valley
College. “I was intimidated and scared, but I wasn’t about to quit.”
Back then, the Marine
Corps veteran and former general manager had decades of tech experience, but no
formal certification. And more importantly, no time. He was looking for the
fastest possible path to IT accreditation and a decent living. He found it at
“My back was against
the wall,” says Del Arroyo, who gravitated toward IVC’s Computer Information Management: CISCO
Academy for its immediate career potential. “I had made a decision that I need
to reinvent myself. I decided I can’t go anywhere but up.”
That meant long hours
in the library and in lab sessions. It meant drawing on his military-tempered
grit to overcome daily challenges, like where to park… and where to eat. Most
of all, according to Del Arroyo, it meant coming to terms with his challenges,
and accepting the support available at IVC.
“Dan was always the
first to arrive to class, and the last to depart,” recalls Carolina Kussoy,
Professor of Computer Information Management at IVC. “He never showed any sign
“As much as Dan
learned from our networking classes, I also learned from Dan.”
Del Arroyo named
Kussoy, along with former IVC associate professor Mohan Reddy, as two key
components in his classroom-to-career success. To hear Del Arroyo tell it,
their effectiveness as educators was as much about their personal stake in
student success as it was about their IT expertise.
professionalism, compassion and dedication to their craft is second to none,”
says Del Arroyo. “They represent an excellent example of the Irvine Valley
College faculty, staff and culture.”
students, veterans, and special populations are the soul of community
colleges,” says Kussoy, who is proud of the opportunities that outcome-focused
programs like those in the CIM department provide. “With access to our
specialized, short-term, industry certificate programs, students can gain the
momentum they need to rejoin the workforce and be an inspiration to their loved
Today, things are a
little less urgent for Del Arroyo. And a lot happier. As a busy Tier 2 Senior
Support Technician working his IT magic for pharmaceutical firm Allergan, Del
Arroyo’s has completed his inspiring comeback story.
On a typical day at
Allergan, he’s handling critical hardware and software fixes, providing
audio-visual and telecommunications support, and managing projects. He’s
setting the pace for IT professionals half his age, continuing to learn new
skills as he earns an Orange County-adequate living. And not a day goes by that
he doesn’t think back to the day he hit the reset button on his life and career
at Irvine Valley College.
“IVC was very
instrumental in enhancing my life during such a dark and depressing time,” he
says. “I am living more comfortably, and it all has to do with IVC.”
It’s a far cry from
those dark days doing homework in his truck, but for Del Arroyo, it was those
very hardships that perhaps laid the foundation for his career education-fueled
tale of redemption.
“It hasn't been an
easy road, but nothing good comes easy,” he says. “I’m proof of that.”
For information on how to get
started in a Computer Information Management program at IVC, visit the program website.