The more you learn about Adryan Moorefield, the more you might be tempted to ask one question in particular: How does someone with a fine arts background – an award-winning dancer, no less – end up with a master’s degree in information technology/cybersecurity?
Well, to get to that answer you first have to go back a few years to when Moorefield was a kid watching cartoons.
“I was always that child who had to press all of the buttons and figure out how things worked,” said Moorefield, who grew up in the Lone Star State and now lives in the City of Brotherly Love, where he’s a member of the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO). “There used to be a show called ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’ on the Cartoon Network and I remember being fascinated by him and his far-reaching abilities.
“I loved computers and wanted to be able to hack (as interesting as that sounds). When I decided to go to a performing arts high school, I had actually been accepted into an electronics department at another high school.”
The performing arts proved to be an excellent choice. In 2007, Moorefield’s performance of African dance earned him an award from youngARTS, a program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.
Although he considered double-majoring in fine arts and electrical engineering as an undergrad, it would have demanded too much of his time. His interest in dance and musical theater sealed his choice of bachelor’s degree.
“After graduation, I knew that I wanted to go for a master’s but wasn’t sure for what,” he recalled. “A friend of mine works for the Department of Energy in the field of IT/cybersecurity and told me about what he does. Dreams from my childhood (computers, programs, hacking, ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’) all came flooding back.
“Not to mention that he lives in a smart house that talks to him when things are opened and he can control things in his house from his cell phone,” Moorefield said of his friend. “I think I was sold after that.”
So he enrolled in the Master of Science in Information Technology/Cybersecurity program offered 100% online by the regionally accredited Florida Institute of Technology, which is ranked a Tier 1 Best National University by U.S. News & World Report.
“I couldn’t have made a better choice for my lifestyle,” said Moorefield, who graduated in fall 2014.
“If you can set a goal and actively work to achieve it every day, then a place like Florida Tech is the best solution.”
Of late, the tempo of Moorefield’s life as a professional dancer has been more swing than waltz.
“I just came back from touring Germany for a month and that was amazing,” he said in March 2015.
After receiving his MSIT in Cybersecurity, he made some initial inquiries about a career in the field, including investigating a program manager position with the federal Transportation Security Administration.
“Since then, I haven’t really had the opportunity to look deeper into the field,” he said. “I would love to be able to gain some experience in the IT field considering I am a performing artist. The struggle though is finding the ideal situation where I’m able to have the best of both worlds.
“I think that I would like to work in an area that allows me to be creative; I enjoy leadership as well. So any area that would provide me with leadership, growth and development, and creativity opportunities would be ideal.”
Moorefield took some time to share his success story with us, including how completing his MSIT in Cybersecurity brought him a feeling of empowerment.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your background.
Well, I am the middle child of three and hail from the great land of Dallas, Texas. I studied classical music at a performing arts high school in Dallas. I have enjoyed singing and musical theater for a long time. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2011 and currently live in Philadelphia.
Q. Why did you decide to advance your education through a degree program offered online?
I knew that I wanted to pursue higher education, but at that particular point I wasn’t going to be able to dedicate enough time to physically go to a campus and participate regularly. There was also the factor of finding schools in the area that offered the program I was interested in. I did some searching and Florida Tech popped up. I couldn’t have made a better choice for my lifestyle.
Q. What were the most important factors in your decision to choose Florida Tech?
Well, the availability, or lack thereof, of programs in Philadelphia that offered what I was looking for. To be honest, I didn’t want to have to take the GRE and I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg. I just wanted the pure education. That’s what Florida Tech gave to me.
Q. What was your favorite class and why?
I think my favorite class was Project Management. Most of the coursework throughout the degree had a very strong reading and writing focus. Concepts ruled the world! Unfortunately, I have both an analytical mind and a physical mind, so I learn the best when the two are combined – learning a concept and then putting it into practice. Project Management offered that. We received assignments and then step-by-step tutorials that allowed us to create from the confines of our own space. I really valued that experience.
Q. What surprised you most about taking an online program?
Well, I had taken an online class during my undergraduate studies, so the concept wasn’t that far-fetched, at all. The only difference was that this one was more hands-on with participation. I feel as if I really got a chance to meet and learn from my classmates as if we were all face-to-face.
Q. What was your most valuable takeaway from the program?
For me, I would say the idea that I am mighty and a conqueror. I can dedicate the time and energy to pursue higher education in the midst of the chaos that is my life. I felt so empowered upon completing the degree. I will always remember the struggle and perseverance. It really is challenging but I was capable. We are all capable.
Q. How will your Florida Tech degree make a difference in your career?
Well, this new degree opens a completely new set of doors; doors that, honestly, weren’t even in-focus before I began the process. I’m looking forward to exploring some of those doors.
Q. What advice would you give other students who are considering enrolling in the program?
Do it! It is completely worth it. If you can set a goal and actively work to achieve it every day, then a place like Florida Tech is the best solution. I feel like I’m always asking my coworkers if they want to go back to school … trying my hardest to sell Florida Institute of Technology to them. It really was a rewarding experience. I missed the excitement, frustration, irritation and celebration of being in school.
Q. Who or what inspires you to succeed?
I honestly draw my inspiration from everyone and everything. I see someone doing something that I want to do, I set that goal and then there’s no stopping me. I am my own driving force. In those moments when I become weary, I have an amazing group of supporters who enable me to keep going. I pull from their motivation and, in return, they pull from me. So, to be completely honest, life inspires me – everyone and everything. I pull from the cosmic forces of everything around me. That doesn’t sound weird at all!
Are you a graduate of Florida Tech’s 100% online degree programs? We would love to share your success story in our Student Spotlight series. Contact us at StudentSpotlight@universityalliance.com for additional details.