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Junior relishes return to higher education

Spending more than a decade in the working world has given Nicole Hofmann a new perspective on life in the classroom.

“It’s a pleasure!” said Hofmann, a 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 workforce, you have a newfound appreciation for what you’re learning.”

That appreciation even extends to textbooks. Hofmann, a non-traditional junior, would never think of selling them.

“Textbooks are like bibles to me,” she said. “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 got a job with Procter & Gamble. Hofmann started as an administrative assistant, 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 said. “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 reacclimated with the classroom by first attending Broome Community College. She began at Binghamton in the fall of 2007 and admitted that she feared she would “get lost in the shuffle.” But two summers of working at Lockheed Martin in Owego have helped Hofmann’s adjustment. She has worked on 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 said 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,” said Kyoung-Don Kang, assistant professor of computer science. “In the end, she was top in my class.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08