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Return to classroom puts student at top of class

“It’s a pleasure!” says Nicole Hofmann, a senior computer science major who lives in Binghamton. “I really enjoy it. I needed to go out into the real world to see how it works. It opens your eyes and you grow in the process. When you go back to school after being in the work force, you have a newfound appreciation for what you’re learning.”

That appreciation even extends to textbooks. Hofmann would never think of selling them at the end of a semester.

“Textbooks are like Bibles to me,” she says. “You never know when you’ll go back and refer to them.”

Hofmann graduated from Vestal High School, but medical issues interrupted her college studies. She made her way to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she worked for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Proctor & Gamble. Hofmann started as an administrative assistant for P&G, but eventually worked her way up to become an IT technician. By 2004, though, the company was looking to downsize and offered severance packages to employees.

“I knew I needed more education to get ahead,” she says. “It was a good time to make the move and be closer to my family. It just so happened that Binghamton University has a great computer science program.”

Hofmann became re-acclimated with the classroom by first attending Broome Community College. She began at Binghamton in fall 2007 and admits that she feared she would “get lost in the shuffle.” But two summers of working at Lockheed Martin in Owego has helped her adjust. She has worked on the software development for the A-10, an aircraft that provides support for ground troops.

“You go in there and are just overwhelmed with information that you have to get up to speed with so fast,” she says of Lockheed Martin. “You’re humbled by it and say ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ But at the end of the two months, you rise to the challenge and have a new confidence in yourself.”

That confidence has been noticed in Hofmann’s classes.

“I found that she is very hard working and intelligent,” says Kyoung-Don Kane, assistant professor of computer science. “In the end, she topped in my class.”

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Last Updated: 8/6/12