By DeVry University
For the past 90 years, students have turned to DeVry University to help prepare them for the future. Our commitment to innovation provides our alumni with the skills and real-world experiences they need to pursue their dreams. Many of our graduates have gone on to truly impact their workplaces, families and communities by starting their own companies, supporting causes they believe in and working hard to help and inspire those around them.
As we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we also want to celebrate the achievements of all our students and alumni. Read on for three outstanding examples of alumni who embody what it means to be a DeVry alum: dedicated, innovative, ambitious and growth-minded.
Breaking New Ground and Paving Her Own Way
As the first black female to graduate from the College of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Valarie King-Bailey’s commitment to education shines throughout the story of her life as a student, groundbreaking engineer and entrepreneur. She began her career in 1981 as a Civil Engineer at U.S. Steel South Works, and just two short years later, was promoted to the position of Design Engineer. But when U.S. Steel closed at the end of 1983, she didn’t stop there.
King-Bailey realized the need for an advanced degree, motivating her to enroll at DeVry’s Chicago Loop campus and earn her MBA from our Keller Graduate School of Management in 1985.
"I was WELL PREPARED for the business world thanks to my education at Keller Graduate School of Management."
Master of Business Administration, 1985
CEO, OnShore Technology Group, Inc.
She then entered the tech sector as a Customer Engineer for Intergraph Corporation, where she worked for nearly 14 years. Her upward trajectory led her to accept a position as the Director of Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC), then Director of Industry Development for Process & Power for Documentum.
After three years she was offered a job with Abbott Laboratories where she won Abbott's Chairman's Award for outstanding service two years in a row, but her curious nature ultimately guided her to accept a new position as Chief Marketing Officer for Qumas Ltd in Cork, Ireland.
In 2004, King-Bailey leaned into her entrepreneurial spirit and founded OnShore Technology Group in Chicago where she has been for the past 17 years. Today, she is proud to hold the position of Chief Executive Officer.
"I pursued an MBA at Keller Graduate School of Management for the express purpose of one day owning my own company. I could have never imagined the success I have had and what an impact it played on my career," says King-Bailey. "Keller promoted a practitioner's approach to an MBA. As such, we studied the practical application of business theories to real world problems. This was probably the single most effective aspect of my Keller education. I was WELL PREPARED for the business world thanks to my education at Keller Graduate School of Management."
Inspiring Others Through Determination and Innovation
DeVry’s mission for the last 90 years has been to empower students to meaningfully impact their own lives as well as those of their families, communities and workplaces. Andre Johnson’s journey as a learner mirrors this, as he took the knowledge and skills he honed as a student and turned them into a mission of his own: to help healthcare professionals and their patients who suffer from paralysis-related disabilities.
Johnson’s project was born out of necessity and passion; after suffering a spinal cord injury in 2004, he found himself paralyzed from the waist down and he questioned how he was going to navigate his life-long journey of physical rehab. He recognized that other patients struggled with the same problems, which led him to return to DeVry – where he had already received his associate degree – to pursue a bachelor’s in Electronic Engineering Technology.
"I already knew what to expect [at DeVry] and it felt like a safe transition back into the world."
Associate in Electronics and Computer Technology, 2002
Bachelor's in Electronics Engineering Technology, 2016
His determination and drive motivated him to focus his senior project on something dear to his heart: creating a wheelchair prototype that could be moved without the use of a person’s arms or legs. His hard work helped him earn DeVry’s Innovation Award. It caught the attention of not only his professors, but the dean of the university, who invited him to an annual event where approximately 300 students worked to develop a business idea over one intense weekend. There, Johnson discovered his entrepreneurial spirit when he realized his prototype could inspire the next great technology startup that was focused on streamlining the process for people with paralysis to receive the right equipment for their recovery – and so LiveEquipd was born.
“I remember thinking 'How am I going to get through this, how is this going to work?' At that point, I decided to return to school to continue my education," says Johnson. "I had already earned my associate degree at DeVry and wanted to return to earn my bachelor’s in Electronics Engineering Technology. I already knew what to expect and it felt like a safe transition back into the world.”
Empowering Women Through Education
At DeVry, we pride ourselves on the support we offer to every student, encouraging them to get involved with their peers, dive deeper into their area of study and advance their skillsets in new ways. Asia Ghazi has embodied that spirit throughout her tenure as a master’s student at DeVry and beyond.
In addition to enrolling in classes and completing her assignments, Ghazi was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) and became a peer leader for the DeVry chapter shortly after she started her degree program. As a peer leader, Ghazi ran the NSLS Success Networking Team, providing leadership training and hosting workshops for students taking steps toward induction into the Society.
"It has been such a tremendous honor to be a part of these students’ lives, sharing something so inspiring and meaningful that I hope they see the importance of NSLS as we build our careers together."
Master in Human Resource Management, 2018
Author, Doctoral Student
After graduating from our Keller Graduate School of Management, Ghazi’s ambitions motivated her to keep learning and working hard to raise women in the tech industry up to a higher level. She enrolled at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology as a doctoral student working towards an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership. There, she chose to focus her dissertation on women leaders in the STEM industry, but her interest in empowering fellow students and females in the tech industry extended outside the classroom as well.
In 2015, Toastmasters International, a nonprofit organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills, named her a Distinguished Toastmaster for her presentations on topics related to human resources, women in leadership and leadership development. It is through Toastmasters International that she consulted with entrepreneurs and companies on these topics, offering guidance and resources through workshops and lectures. Ghazi has co-authored pieces focusing on positive leadership in organizational change, women in leadership and higher education.
“When I think about what I want most, it comes down to creating an environment where people connect with people, and leaders look at opportunities to mentor their employees, showing them how to become leaders in their field," says Ghazi. "When I completed my master’s degree in Human Resource Management at Keller in 2018, I solely focused on HR management because I knew I had a calling—to bring the ‘human’ back into human resources. I have an enormous passion for connecting people with the right jobs, training and teaching others, and helping executives become more effective, inspirational leaders within their organizations.”
Become a Part of Our Growing Legacy
Are you ready to join the ranks of DeVry graduates who have the skills and experience to pursue their dreams? Our flexible online degree programs cover a wide variety of subject areas and our Student Support Advisors are here to help get you on track to success.