Constructing her future using a BASTL foundation



As soon as Shyese Brown started her internship at a Harrisburg-area builder, she found herself using some of the skills she learned in her Bachelor of Applied Science in Technical Leadership (BASTL) program.

Not only was she organizing demolition and construction work with the Microsoft Project software she had learned to use, but the material on dealing with people with different backgrounds – as well as how to recognize her own work and leadership style – proved invaluable.

“I can honestly say this was a great opportunity to advance my education and I gained some good skills in the program,’’ said Brown, 25, who learned about Bloomsburg’s BASTL program while finishing her associate degree in architecture at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC).

Working two jobs while attending classes, the Harrisburg resident said she realized midway through her architecture program that she wanted to angle her career more toward construction management. Architecture was interesting, but she didn’t want to be confined to a drafting table.

Brown said it was as she was considering what path to take that she learned about the BASTL program and it looked like an excellent opportunity. Not only would all her associate credits transfer but having half the BASTL classes taught at HACC and the other half online would give her the flexibility she needed to continue juggling work and school.

“Management skills can help you anywhere and even if you get your base education in one subject, these skills can help you anywhere,’’ Brown said. “When I enrolled, I thought I’ll be working in an office and if I get a degree in management, I can start at the bottom and work my way up and I’ll have the academic skills to help me along the way.’’

Brown, who received her BASTL degree in May 2017, continues to work multiple jobs as she applies for positions in the construction and architecture fields. She notes that what she learned from Bloomsburg continues to help her deal with customers, fellow employees and managers and believes it will make her a better supervisor one day.

She also does not doubt that obtaining her bachelor’s degree is a crucial step in realizing her goals.

“I’ve been job searching for months and only came across one job that offered a management position where someone didn’t need a degree, but you had to have 15 to 20 years of experience,’’ Brown said. “With the way the work force is shifting here is such an emphasis on having a degree. Pursuing the degree in management was the boost I needed.’’