Student Veteran Spotlight: Heather Hamilton

Heather Hamilton

Student Veteran Spotlight: Heather Hamilton

Software Developer

| By: Britten, Casey

After serving in the U.S. Navy for two years, then returning home where she worked in what she refers to as a ‘dead-end job,’ Heather Hamilton recently decided to return to school to create a better life for her daughter and herself. Today, she’s enrolled in the FVTC Software Developer program and works part-time in the Veterans Resource Center. She appreciates the help she has been given as a student veteran at Fox Valley Technical College.

Hometown: Appleton
Current Residence: Menasha
Age: 33
Attended FVTC: Fall 2021-Present
Program: Software Developer

Tell us about your time with the Navy.

I was an Interior Communications Electrician on the ship USS Tortuga (Now USS Ashland). I was in charge of all communication on our ship from phone lines to speakers. We had so many responsibilities. When we would pull into ports, we would hook all lines up to the pier for communication.

We were considered “forward deployed” so we were rarely in our home port. I was stationed in Sasebo, Japan for most of my service, but have been to 10+ countries around the world.

Why did you choose Fox Valley Technical College?

I actually took a semester here back in 2010, before I was sent to boot camp and found the whole campus to be very welcoming. The staff here is always willing to help and easily approachable.

What was it like returning to school after serving your country?

Before I even started at FVTC, the Veterans Resource Center was amazing. I called one day to see what my options were and within a couple of days I already knew what I was eligible for and how to go about getting it started. It was only a few weeks later that I was enrolled in school. They helped me through every process from claiming my benefits to enrollment.

I was really nervous about coming back to school after such a long hiatus in my education, but from day one everyone was so helpful and nice! Anyone I asked for help jumped at the opportunity to show me where I needed to go.

How has Fox Valley Technical College helped you change your life?

I was working a dead-end job, without any sort of promotion ability. I decided it was time to create a better life for my daughter and me. Coming to Fox Valley Tech will help me get a career that I love and hopefully climb a ladder at a company.

Why did you choose the Software Developer career program?

I’ve had a passion for computers since I was a teenager, so I decided to pursue something in that field.

What are you learning about your career field that you find interesting or rewarding?

I have found that my field is very versatile. If you learn software development, the possibilities seem to be unlimited with what you can do with it.

What type of job do you expect to find after graduation? 

I am hoping to get a job where I can help a company build websites. I am taking a class in my program on how to make websites and have found that I have a passion for it. I would not mind a job working with a team to create better apps for a company as well.

In one sentence, what's your best advice for someone who's not sure they're ready for college?

If you take the leap, you will be surprised at what you can accomplish.

Pro Tips

Best on-campus place to study: Veterans Resource Center

One class that challenged you: Data Access for Programmers

One thing every FVTC student must experience on campus before graduating: food from Ione’s Dining Room

Pro-tip for newcomers trying to find their way around campus: Stop and ask someone for help. All staff is willing to help you.