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Brandon Culvey finished high school wanting nothing to do with higher education. The guitarist decided to pursue music instead, hitting the road at age 21 to perform with professional Christian musicians.

Two decades later, Culvey is now pursuing a bachelor's degree in organizational management while working at Whitworth as a technical support specialist.

Culvey decided to return to school in 2016, soon after he started working at Whitworth. Within a week of the birth of his second child, daughter Sparrow, he began to believe that God had a purpose for him at Whitworth, both as an employee and as a student.

The benefit of free tuition as an employee played a major role in his decision, especially since his wife was staying at home with their new baby and older son.

"The free tuition was a huge perk," he says. Culvey, who has completed a year of school, sees how his education will allow him to improve at his job and be of greater benefit to the university. Courses in conflict management and operational management have proved particularly helpful.

He is also developing a deeper understanding of himself. "The degree helps define and put meaning to the many life experiences I've had," he says.

Although he never thought he would earn a bachelor's degree, Culvey is now even thinking about pursuing a master's degree. His schooling, he has noticed, is giving him a dramatic boost of confidence in all areas of his life.

Culvey is not alone in his experience. Dolores Humiston, Whitworth's associate vice president for human resources, says a high number of staff achieve degrees while working at Whitworth. "Employees are extremely appreciative of the opportunity for additional education, a valuable benefit that will remain with them throughout their lives," she says.