This story contains excerpts from a article published on June 12, 2019 and entitled ‘Cisco Live 2019: Global Academy’s Most Elite Students Get Chance of a Lifetime’ written by Bob Keaveney, Managing Editor of Biz Tech magazine.

Travis Polash wasn’t what many of us would define as a typical college student. “As a 40-year-old, single father of one, who wanted to make a drastic career change, I was definitely not the 18-year-old, fresh out of high school student,” shared Polash.

Travis chose to attend Mid and complete the Computer Information Systems (CIS) Program as he reinvented his career.

“I knew I really wanted to reinvent myself, and I knew that I liked technology,” Polash said in an interview at Cisco Live 2019, the massive user conference that has drawn more than 20,000 tech professionals to San Diego for this year’s event. “So I retired, and two weeks later I was a full-time student.” Today he’s a member of the Dream Team, one of a small handful of students in the Cisco Networking Academy to be selected to work on the IT operations of Cisco Live 2019.

Mid’s CIS Program & Pathways prepare students to work as network and IT infrastructure administrators, technicians, programmers, and software developers. The College is an official, recognized Cisco Networking Academy location, and students also earn Cisco industry certifications while completing associate degrees at Mid.

The Cisco Networking Academy provides educational support and curriculum for millions of young people and adults around the world who have an interest in technology. Partnering with universities and community colleges, high schools, nonprofits and even prisons, there are now 11,000 academies in 180 countries, according to Katherine Toch, Cisco’s director of corporate affairs. “One unique thing about the academy is that it’s hands-on,” Toch said. “So, they get Cisco equipment that they can work on.”

Only 67 people in the U.S. and Canada are selected yearly for membership on the Dream Team; those who make it participate at Cisco events, including Cisco Live. They work hard — putting on an event of this size is a massive technical undertaking — but they’re exposed to the kind of work they’ll be doing in IT careers and get mentored by experienced pros. Dream Team members like Polash are straightforward about their objective in participating in the academy: to land jobs soon at companies like Cisco.

Polash (pictured right) noted, "“Thanks to my time at Mid I now have the opportunity to spend a full week in San Diego, at the largest conference in my field, as a member of the 2019 Cisco Dream Team! I will be working with and learning from the absolute best in the business. There is no way to express the gratitude I feel towards Mid for helping me along this path!”
Travis Polash reflects on his time at Mid.

“With nearly 50 Programs & Pathways, including Software Development and IT Infrastructure & Cybersecurity, flexible scheduling options, evening and online classes, credit for prior work experience, and a dedicated team focused on student success, adults and working students can count on being supported throughout their time at Mid,” noted Karry Kiste-Toner, Director of Student Mentoring & Retention at Mid.

“I went from police work to full-time student to fully employed in the IT field as a Network Support Associate for American Mitsuba in just over 13 months! I still can’t believe it! I use what I learned at Mid on a daily basis. The smaller classes allowed for much more one-on-one instruction with a real emphasis on understanding the concepts, rather than just passing tests. I transferred to complete my bachelor’s degree and found the classes at Mid just as challenging, informative, and worthwhile as anything I took at my 4-year university,” explained Polash.

Registration for the Fall Semester is currently underway and interested students can request additional information at, apply online at, or contact Admissions at or (989) 386-6661.

For more information about the CIS Program & Pathways, visit or contact Instructor Chris Goffnett at or (989) 317-4607.

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