Allison Bransfield always knew she wanted to pursue a career in government. Going into eighth grade, her family moved from Hawaii to Portsmouth when her father, who has served in the Navy for 25 years, was transferred to the Naval Station Newport.
The move allowed Bransfield the opportunity to get a jumpstart on her career as part of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program. Earlier this month, she not only graduated a year early from Rogers High, but she also earned her associate’s degree in cybersecurity through the program.
PTECH, launched in 2016 offers an opportunity for students to obtain a high school diploma and associate’s degree in cybersecurity/ computer networking from the Community College of Rhode Island within four to six years at their own pace. As part of the program, students take classes at Rogers High.
The PTECH program is part of the Newport Area Career and Technical Center, which offers Academy of Information Technology, advertising, design and new media, automotive technology, cosmetology, culinary arts, construction technology and the JROTC Academy.
After seeing the advertisement for the program while attending Portsmouth Middle School, Bransfield decided to enroll at Rogers High. “This was right along the lines of what I wanted to do,” she said.
Currently, 100 students are enrolled in the cybersecurity pathway, and 55 students are enrolled in the information technology path.
“Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing technology careers in the nation. It is growing at a rate of 39 percent through 2029,” said Robert Young, the director of the PTECH program. “We are extremely fortunate to have a PTECH program that will provide opportunities for our students to enter a high growth, high wage and high demand field.
“Our students will be educated in Newport and will have the opportunity to work and live in the city with the large number of job opportunities in the area.”
Taking extra classes at CCRI allowed Bransfield to graduate one year early.
“What do you mean I’m graduating early?” she recalled saying when she found out the news from her advisor.
While she was given the option of staying, she decided to accept early graduation. “It means that I get to start everything else sooner. I really want to go and do as much as I can,” she said.
By taking extra courses through the PTECH program, she earned college credits and became only the second student to finish the cybersecurity program while still in high school.
After three years, she’s happy with her decision. “I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the individuals in the PTECH program,” she said.
Her sister is planning on entering the program next year.
This fall, Bransfield will be starting a new journey, attending Purdue University in Indiana to study computer science. “I’m very excited to move there,” she said.
Although her high school years are over, the 17-year-old said that the PTECH program will always hold a special place in her heart.
“I want to help them as much as I can,” she said.