Raylon Catlett: The Convergence of Education and Professional Development
1/16/13 10:40 AM
By Mike Lesczinski, Excelsior Life News Staff--
Raylon Catlett of Schenectady, New York knows a thing or two about taking exams. A quality specialist for Riversource Life Insurance, he grew accustomed over the years to enrolling in college courses and seeking education programs that would earn him industry-recognized designations. It was part professional development, part desire for lifelong learning – and it eventually translated to academic success.
A friend encouraged him to see what, if any, value his eclectic education background might be worth towards college credit. He was intrigued by the idea and began to research schools, discovering his insurance courses were approved for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). That meant Excelsior College would count them towards a degree. Realizing how close he was to his dream, Raylon looked into completion options; Excelsior College Examinations (ECEs) caught his eye.
Independent study and testing was a familiar concept, and in time, Raylon completed his associates through ECEs and returned to the workforce, seemingly content with his two-year degree. But the desire to continue on with his educational journey soon returned and he found himself back at Excelsior – this time in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.
Raylon knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park; marriage, holding down full-time employment and raising a daughter (now a student at Seton Hall) required he find the right balance. For him, that meant implementing a study routine consisting of daytime employment, evening school work and nightly family time. It didn’t matter whether it was posting to a discussion board, reading the assigned text or writing a paper, if it was on his study schedule, Raylon would complete it. He kept his books by his side just in case he needed a quick stop at the Library driving home from work or finishing errands around town.
Now with his diploma in hand, Raylon says he has earned additional respect from his colleagues and added depth to his professional credentials. He is already planning to pursue his master’s in the hopes of becoming a consultant or even an adjunct instructor.
“I feel like between my education and my experiences, I have something to give back,” says Raylon.
This past July, Raylon walked across the stage for a second time as an Excelsior graduate.
“I didn’t want to the first time, but then you walk across that stage and share that moment with so many other students and you begin to realize what it all means,” he says. “I had to do it again.”