October 4, 2021
Raytheon Technologies technician Dan Cuny is no stranger to accomplishing the unexpected: he figured out how to grow pineapples in his sunny home state of Tucson, Arizona, USA.
“I like to grow pineapples; it’s taken me over 12 years to learn how to do it here in Tucson because they don’t like the sun, but I have a little pineapple plantation in my house.”
Just like Dan found a way to grow pineapples in less-than-ideal conditions, he found a way to continue his education through BYU-Pathway Worldwide, despite having started nearly 30 years ago! Education has always been important to Dan and he’s taken classes throughout his life, but he never finished his schooling because he was focused on providing for his family. But today, he’s earned the first of three certificates — a basic accounting certificate — that will count toward his bachelor’s degree in applied business management from BYU-Idaho, supported by BYU-Pathway.
Expect the unexpected: Using skills from the basic accounting certificate
As an engineering technician working with electronics, basic accounting doesn’t seem like it would directly apply to Dan’s current position — he chose it because it will go toward the necessary degree for the promotion he wants. Despite that, the skills he’s gained from his certificate courses have made Dan’s job easier.
“I’ve applied it in my job because a lot of what I record of my daily duties and production flow goes into these different Excel spreadsheets,” Dan said. In the past, if something went wrong with these spreadsheets, the engineers would have to come fix it — but now Dan is able to do it on his own.
Opening doors and helping friends
Even just being able to say he has a basic accounting certificate is opening doors for Dan and is giving him opportunities to help others.
“I have a friend who would like to start a micro-farm, and she has asked for help in setting up accounts in QuickBooks,” he said. The courses gave him the necessary skills in programs, such as Excel and Quickbooks, to help his friend.
When he finishes his applied business management degree, Dan plans to use it, along with his electronics training, to move into a manufacturing engineering position. He said, “I’ve already spoken with a few managers. When you’ve worked for 40 years at the same company, you get to know lots of people — and the outlook is positive.”
Conquering challenging courses
Going back to school after so long was already a little difficult for Dan, but all degrees have hard courses. For him, Econ 150: Microeconomics was especially challenging. But he was determined to succeed in the class, so he intentionally reorganized his life that semester. In order to focus more on that class, he spent less time on additional side projects outside of work and lightened his daily schedule as much as possible. By prioritizing the class and working hard, Dan made it through!
As he works toward his business and leadership skills certificate next, Dan said that having an accounting background gave him the knowledge and abilities he’s needed for those courses.
Pineapples and persistence
Dan’s advice for those pursuing the basic accounting certificate is to jump in, keep going when it’s hard, and network with other students, because they can help support you.
“If I can learn how to grow pineapples in Tucson, you can learn how to get a certificate through BYU-Pathway.”