For four years, Aliyu Dabo—a single father—spent his days as a law enforcement officer and his nights as a student at University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). He had a powerful goal: to earn a bachelor’s degree and move ahead in his career.
“When I started my career with the Baltimore City Police Department, it was always at the forefront of my mind that I needed to finish school. While I was still trying to progress my career as a police officer trainee to regular police officer to police detective, I was attending classes at UMGC,” Dabo explained.
On a typical day Dabo might spend 15 hours at work, go get his daughter, and stay up until 3 a.m. to finish his schoolwork.
“If I was in a classroom environment, work would have gotten in the way. But since UMGC was extremely convenient and online, I was able to go at my own pace, at the same time still trying to make sure I reached my deadlines,” Dabo added.
Dabo officially graduated in Dececember with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity from UMGC.
His favorite class, he said, was in certified ethical hacking.
“It allowed me to see how people are getting scammed,” Dabo said. “The class taught me how to help people protect their digital identity and footprint, and how to properly safeguard their information.”
One example used in class hit close to home. It referenced how the Baltimore City Police Department had been hacked.
Dabo said the class fed into digital forensics because it provides understanding on how people break into systems. Dabo’s dream is to become a digital forensics investigator.
While Dabo was enrolled at UMGC, he was also learning outside the classroom. He has had to regularly study and understand new aspects of law enforcement. He said one of the most challenging aspects of his job was “learning laws and different city ordinances, whilst still trying to maintain sanity working in one of the most dangerous cities in the world.”
In the midst of all of the job preparation, Dabo still found time to do homework and be an active parent of a 6-year-old.
“I'm excited about continuing in my field, wherever that takes me, and continuing with my dream of being a digital forensics investigator,” Dabo said.
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