David Singer

From wondering if a degree was even a possibility, to now teaching and pursuing a doctorate, David Singer is the Northland Pioneer College Outstanding Alumnus for the 2015 Spring Semester.

David Singer
David Singer

In 2001, Singer would look across the street from his workplace and observe the construction of the new Holbrook NPC campus. “As I watched from the window across the street,” said Singer, “I often thought about continuing my education and would wonder where an education would take me.” Years after those initial impressions on obtaining a degree, Singer, along with his wife Patty, decided to attend NPC full-time in the Fall 2004 semester.

Balancing the demands of being full-time students and full-time parents for two developmentally disabled children, Singer remembers the challenges that came from making the decision to pursue a degree. “I was age 47 when I first started in 2004, I was truly a ‘second-chancer.’ And while we had to play give-and-take in our careers and education, we knew it was for our collective greater good.”

Still, amidst a busy life attending NPC, Singer was able to maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA and was an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, organizing a Christmas Toy Drive and School Supply drive with Patty. This helped both Singers receive All-Arizona Academic Team honors in 2007 to continue their educations.

An avid photographer, 40 of David’s digital and film photographs were featured in a solo-artist show at the Painted Desert Campus Library in Fall 2005. “I had a widely-diverse selection of themes to present to the community, from the digitally-abstracted American Indian dancers to the soulfully-tender eyes of my daughter, to the Blue Ridge Reservoir fantasy to the sepia-tone historic imagery of Northern Arizona. This diversity is part of what made the exhibition a success,” noted David, describing the exhibit.

David graduated from NPC in May 2007 with his degree in Computer Technology. Eager to put his degree to use, Singer was hired at NPC as a Support Center Operator and Audiovisual Technician. “[Being an employee at NPC] was my first opportunity to actually make a difference and help support other students in their educations,” recalls Singer.

As he was able to interact with students and develop relationships with staff and faculty at NPC, Singer was impressed by the diversity and environment at a community college and enjoyed the opportunities to assist others that were once in his position. This work experience instilled a desire to one day become an instructor himself, but Singer knew that more education and training would be required.

After gaining more work experience, Singer went on to obtain his bachelor’s in Computer Technology at Northern Arizona University. Not stopping at a Bachelor’s degree, Singer also enrolled in graduate courses from the Online Harvard University Extension School and was also admitted to the Pennsylvania State University Online Software Engineering Program, where he eventually received his Master’s degree. Singer is now looking for opportunities to begin a doctorate degree program is his discipline.

In 2013, Singer was able to reach his goal of becoming an instructor and now works at Rio Salado College as a Certified Instructional Assistant to teach Microsoft Office, HTML and Windows Operating Systems to online students. Singer also teaches basic computer skills to senior citizens and enjoys the opportunity to assist and support the diverse student population at Rio Salado College.

As Singer continues teaching at Rio Salado, he expresses his gratitude for the experiences he had at NPC and hopes his story can help inspire others. “I never would have thought that back in 2001 and looking through that window would have led me toward the goal of becoming a college instructor. I know there are many current and potential students who have stories similar to mine and I just want to say to them that no matter how hard it may seem at the time, the end results are well worth it!”

As the spring 2015 Alumnus Award recipient, Singer will receive a plaque recognizing his selection, a tuition gift certificate and mementos of the college.

By NPC Staff Writer Michael Nilsson