Hard Work, Determination, Persistence: Meet 2022 PNW Graduate Josh Phillips

April 26, 2022

Gary native Josh Phillips, ’22, is graduating with a bachelor of science in Computer Information Technology with a concentration in Cybersecurity and a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

As an Honors College student, Phillips served as a peer mentor coordinator and received the Honors College Citizenship Award in April 2021. He was the first PNW student elected to the executive board of the Mid-East Honors Association (MEHA), one of only four scholars chosen from approximately 35 colleges and universities. Phillips was also a member of TRIO where he served as a peer mentor.

In addition to working as a student desktop technician for PNW’s Information Services department, Phillips is completing two internships, the first at BDO Digital as an IT managed service intern and the second at Cimcor, Inc. as a quality assurance intern. After graduation Phillips hopes to work in the field of cybersecurity.

What Do You Like Most About PNW?

“The main thing I like about PNW is the people that I’ve met here – friends, professors and staff. These are people that I can talk to, who make themselves available to me and just make me feel cared about and welcome. The networking opportunities on campus are great. I was able to find a couple of internships and a job on campus through networking. What I enjoy the most though is being on campus, hanging out, meeting friends and just feeling at home here.”

How Do You Think Your Involvement in Campus Organizations and Activities Helped Define Your Success at PNW?

“Serving in several leadership positions in the Honors College helped me become a leader. I was able to sharpen my leadership skills which will serve me well in my career.

As a member of the MEHA executive board, I was able to meet and work with people from different universities, cultures, age groups and people with different perspectives. It was definitely a great learning experience.

My internships helped me take the things I learned in class and apply them in a real world setting — bringing those lessons to life.”

Did You Have Any Challenges While Attending PNW and How Did You Overcome Them?

Phillips.Josh1a“In 2020, I was accepted as one of the peer mentor coordinators in the Honors College. We made a plan for the semester and then the pandemic hit, which knocked out our entire plan. Not only did we have to create a new plan; we had a much larger number of students than ever in Honors College that semester.

Most mentors have two or three students, but that semester each mentor had eight or nine students, with some peer mentor coordinators also having to take on a peer mentor role.

In addition, I was taking 21 credit hours, had an on-campus job and two internships. I was extremely overloaded and just trying to stay afloat – it was one of the hardest times in my life. Quitting wasn’t an option. My father and both of my grandfathers set a great example for me growing up. They taught me to fight through adversity, work hard and never quit. I was able to do that and made it through the semester.”

What Words of Advice Would You Share With Prospective Students Looking to Attend PNW?

“I would tell them to get active! I originally came to college with the mindset of come to class, leave and repeat. That quickly became old and I decided to get involved. It’s when I started to join organizations and participate that my college career took off and it was amazing!”

Was There Anyone at PNW Who Inspired or Encouraged You Along the Way?


Chuck DeCastro, Lecturer, Computer Information Technology

“Chuck DeCastro is my all-time favorite professor in the College of Technology. He was easy to talk to about anything and everything and he even helped me get my first job on campus. He inspired me to keep going and get the best out of my education.”


Debbie Bachmann, Administrator of Honors Student Leadership and Programming

“Debbie is amazing! She was always there with a smile and ready to listen.”

PNW Student

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