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Student Spotlight – Thomas Karagiorgios

He spoke with Val Woodside, our Customer Success Specialist at about his experience in the certificate program.

  • Tell us about your experience at

It was excellent. For me it was the first time that I studied through this online process. You have to study on your own and then you can send in the homework. It was very impressive for me and that’s why I decided to continue with this certificate.  Generally, it was easy to follow.  Some courses are more difficult but that made sense to me – some things are easy and some things are more tough. But I liked it a lot and I enjoyed it.  It was a bit of a long process for me, to earn the certificate.

  • So how long did it take you to complete the certification process?

For me, it was almost three years. Valerie Troiano, the Registrar,  provided me with a recommended schedule for when to take courses but I couldn’t make it the first year. But then I started to follow and be involved more and more.

  • Were you also working when you were studying?

Every time.

  • What was that like – juggling work and school?

It was hard because sometimes in the outdoor industry it’s a seasonal job.  It’s very demanding – 8-12 hours per day. And sometimes you need to study the materials for statistics as well.  So it was sometimes overwhelming for me, but I made it!

  • When the course was overwhelming, did you ever reach out to the teachers or teacher assistants? Did you get any support that way?

A lot. A lot of support.  Especially because I was trying to combine my work, my life, and this extra study. When I did something wrong, immediately the teacher assistant would help me or mention my mistake.  They provided me a lot of feedback and at the end I made it with all the courses.

  • In some courses the teacher assistant will review homework if you submit it early – is that what you are talking about?

No, I spoke about when I submitted my assignment, they would give me feedback.   That was very helpful at the end of the certification because I learned the statistics more in-depth.

  • What was it like for you as an international student since all of our courses are taught in English?

As you realize, my English is not the best, but I could easily understand everything.  If something bothered me or I didn’t understand, I pray to Google Translate!

Generally it was easy to follow the text, the materials, the notes, everything.  Even when I had to learn a new software for statistics, the notes were well addressed for me.  Most of the software in statistics have similar buttons or settings so it was not so difficult.

  • Have you had a chance to apply the knowledge you gained from your certificate course to your work?

Yes of course. That’s why I wanted this certificate. It helped me complete my PhD. I worked at the university for two years in research programs for the European Union and I applied all my statistics knowledge also.  Overall, I gained confidence and in-depth [knowledge] in some parts of statistics.

  • Do you have any advice for students considering the statistics program or people who are just beginning their certificate?

My advice would be to follow the certification in one or maximum 1.5 years because you are involved with one class after another.  Then it is easier to follow the certification.  With the way I did with one course, then the next one a year later, and the next two months after that, it was hard to follow and to be involved in statistics every time.  My advice would be to follow in a stricter way and finish more quickly.

  • Any feedback for

Keep up the good work.  For me it was a very positive experience. I am very proud that I earned this certificate. I think that if I need to learn something more I would certainly check the website to see if they had any updated courses.  If I was interested I would take another course.  Not a whole certificate!  But another course.