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A Winding Road to His Passion

American poet Robert Frost is famous for his poem The Road Not Taken, and while published in the early 1900s, it still rings true today. Few journeys have as many twists and turns as Kash Allison, a recent graduate of Tulsa Tech’s Enterprise Network Technologies program.

Allison's journey began as a child in Hawaii. After graduating high school, he didn't know what to do, so he joined the military.

"I decided to join the military and figure that would give me a good first step," Allison said. "But, as it turns out, that was the wrong first step for me."

After his service, he looked for a job and found them first in the corporate world and then in manual labor. "I had to rethink my whole life strategy and find an outcome where I could live happily. I have always had an affinity for I.T. growing up in the tech boom," he said. "As a kid in Hawaii, I loved to play outside. But, when I was not outside playing, I was always asking to play on my dad's computer."

A child of the tech age, Allison first built his own computer at age 24. That affinity led him to Tulsa Tech, searching for a career in Information Technology. That is where his path took another turn.

"Ironically enough, I originally applied for the I.T. System Administrator program, but it was full," Allison said, smiling. "I knew I needed to get my feet wet, so I chose this program, and it turns out it was the right choice."

The six-month Enterprise Network Technologies program is an all-day immersive dive into routers and switches, along with the skills to build, maintain and troubleshoot all types of computer networks. While Allison felt he was prepared, he soon learned the opposite.

"The program's difficulty is we did it in five months, and the overwhelming knowledge is eye-opening," Allison said. "It showed me how very little I knew."

But with the help of his instructors and classmates, Allison thrived, and his skill got him noticed by more than just his peers. Allison was one of only ten or so students selected to be part of the CISCO Dream Team.

"When I noticed I had an email that I was accepted. It felt so surreal because out of all the people, I got selected. I am grateful, but it felt like a dream," he said.

As part of the team, Allison and his fellow students will set up the entire network for CISCO Live, a five-day conference in June for the I.T. industry. He will also get to meet and greet with the CEO of CISCO, Chuck Robbins, and the chance to network with other companies during the event. Though he joked that he prefers computers to people.

"Understanding a router and a switch is easier to understand than people," Allison joked. "That is because you can figure out the problem and then fix it."

While he is unsure where life will take him after his dream team experience, the road behind him is winding, but he has his sights on the future.

"My end goal is to progress further in the I.T. industry," he said. "I want to grow my knowledge and get further certifications with CISCO."