Student Success Story – Byan Alajlouni

Byan is our Financial Business Manager.  However, when she came with her family to Lafayette, Indiana, from her home country of Jordan, she faced a Catch-22 challenge typical of many highly-educated individuals from other countries:  she was able to work, but her lack of work experience in the United States made it difficult for her to get a job. Being resourceful, she enrolled in classes at Lafayette Adult Resource Academy in February 2018, pre-tested out of TABE Math and Reading, and chose to focus on language in the morning career-bound class. But Byan did not stop there; she also attended the English Language Learning conversation and grammar class to supplement her language studies and improve her speaking skills.  In addition, she took LARA’s Microsoft Office Suite class knowing that her goal was to land a job in accounting, her degree area.

When the new TABE 11&12 tests were introduced in July 2018, Byan’s pre-tests showed high scores yet also presented room for improvement in both Reading and Language; she buckled down and faithfully attended LARA’s morning College and Career Bound class from July 2018 into the 2019 spring semester.  With future graduate studies in mind, she also studied for the GMAT.  Her teacher, River Karner, states, “Byan was a determined student.  She put effort into every day and was always a willing participant in class discussions.”

This determination and hard work qualified her to carry over her skills into LARA’s February 2019 Office Administration IET, a training that would certify her in QuickBooks and aid her in seeking a job in her field of expertise. For Byan, the friendly atmosphere was the best part of the class and as she states, “[it] helped me wake up at 6 A.M. every day!” IET teacher Anita Sanford immediately took notice of Byan: “[She] was an outstanding student, very persistent in her skills. I recommended her for employment [at LARA] because of her work ethic.”

Indeed, that recommendation was well-received when both teacher assistant and temporary front desk receptionist positions needed to be filled at LARA in late spring.  Byan had been volunteering in classrooms and seemed to be a perfect fit; after interviewing, she was hired for both positions. As River states about Byan, “She’s very bright, reliable, funny, and friendly”–all qualities that are desirable in adult education employees.  Lindsey Brown, the ELL teacher she assists, has made note of Byan’s excellent organizational skills and also states about her, “She’s awesome—the heart and soul of the classroom. An inspiration for all the ELL students.  She always comes in with a smile on her face, always encourages the students, and, of course, keeps me in line.”  As a receptionist, her friendliness and competence shine through and serve as a positive welcome for anyone entering or calling LARA for information.

Byan shares that her time as a student at LARA “was a really pleasant experience which made me want to work here and help people the way I was helped.” Byan is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in accounting at the Krannert School of Management in  Purdue University.  For now, LARA is grateful that Byan can share her talents with the organization and her advice with anyone in the Lafayette area in a similar situation to hers: “Come to LARA and be willing to let the teachers help you with whatever you need.”  Byan’s vision for her future and willingness to help herself has also contributed to what appears will be a very successfully traveled career path.