Lancaster – Jeani Allen is a rarity. The Lancaster native calls herself a "woman in a man's world." But, she's 100 % okay with that. The Lancaster City Schools computer technician said she learned that there was nothing she couldn't achieve when she went back to school at Ohio University Lancaster.
"My marriage didn't work out, so I had to get back into the work force," said Allen. "I picked up a pamphlet on computer technology."
At the time, Allen was 40 and had an 11 year old son. She had been a stay at home mom for those 11 years. She wanted to get a degree in something that would support her family for a while. Allen said it did not concern her that computer technology jobs were mainly held by men.
"Computers aren't going anywhere. Technology is only getting more and more advanced and more abundant in our lifestyles, so I thought I would go with that," said Allen. "I'm a woman working in a man's world. The computer technology world is very much a man's world. But, women are just as smart as men and just as capable as men to do that job."
Allen said she was able to go back to school and complete her degree because of support she got from family and support she got from Computer Science Technology Associate Professor Christine Wolfe.
"Christine Wolfe is still my mentor. I love her to death. She was always there lending an ear or a nice word. She was probably the biggest supporter," said Allen. "I never felt out of place.As you get older, you think maybe you don't really feel comfortable going back into this situation and you wonder how you'll be welcomed by the other students even. But, I never, ever felt out of place here. Not once."
While getting her associate's degree in Computer Science Technology, Allen got her job at Lancaster City Schools.
"When I got my diploma, I cried. It was because I had completed something that brought back a lot of self-esteem for me," said Allen. "I had lost so much of that in my marriage. It boosted me 10 fold."
Allen called her experience at O.U. Lancaster life changing. She said that others in her kind of situation should not think twice about taking the plunge and getting a college degree.
"There is nothing better you can do for yourself or your child than to go back and learn a skill so you can have the means to take of that child and not have to rely on anybody else," said Allen.