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‘Conversations With CAEL’: Adult Learner Alphur Willock

Posted by CAEL

Topics: Adult Student Success, Employee Motivation, career development, Adult Learning Success, Student Stories

In between raising six kids, thwarting carjackers (more on that later), and working full time, widowed father Alphur Willock (who goes by “Slim”) has somehow found time to take advantage of work-based degree programs. Recently, he completed a B.S. in computer science from Pace University, a Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) institutional member. It was just the latest step in a learning journey that intertwines career and coursework.

Twenty-six years ago, Slim was working as a security guard. He had taken the job while completing his associate of arts degree. While on the job Slim had regular interaction with employees of the New York Telephone Company (now Verizon), who worked in the same building. 

“They would always see me studying and suggested I should take the employment test,” says Slim. He took their advice, and after passing the test he joined the company as an operator for directory assistance. This decision would turn out to play a chance role in launching a different career path, one that has allowed him to pursue two of his passions: learning and interacting with people from all walks of life. 

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