At 25 years old, Tyler Rozboril thought he finally had it all figured out.
Seven years before, Rozboril enrolled in college right out of high school, but quickly lost interest and dropped out. He then enlisted in the United States Air Force and was stationed in the northern mountains of Misawa, Japan, where he met and married his wife, Ami, and realized that a career in military intelligence wasn’t for him, either.
Tyler and Ami moved back to the U.S. in September 2014, to Knoxville, Tenn., where his parents lived. Ami found work as a preschool teacher, and he signed up for classes at the University of Tennessee. Always enamored with computers, Rozboril entered the computer engineering track and found that not only was he good at programming—it was actually something he could see himself doing for the rest of his life. “Engineering is fun,” he says. “But computer engineering, learning C++, is really fun.”
By October 2015, Rozboril carried a 3.8 grade point average and was one year closer to his degree when his world stopped—Ami told him that she was pregnant with their first child.
Rozboril says they had planned on eventually having kids, but not this soon, while he was a full-time student and her job didn’t offer competitive pay, benefits or maternity leave. Suddenly, he would have to put his newfound dream on hold. He withdrew from classes. “It was tough because I felt that I was wasting a lot, and I was just getting into stuff I was enjoying,” he says. “But I felt that this was what was right for my family.”
It took about three weeks of selling massage chairs for Rozboril to wonder, “What have I done?” and conclude that there had to be another answer. That’s around the time one of Rozboril’s old Air Force buddies called from Denver. The friend was a programmer who had interviewed with several companies based at the Galvanize Denver campuses. He told Rozboril about the cool work space and the string of successful people and businesses that have come through the doors. Perhaps more interesting to Rozboril, the friend also talked about Galvanize’s intensive six-week bootcamp. After a bit of online research, Rozboril was convinced.
Rozboril and his wife saved their money, and in January, they loaded their lives into a 17-foot U-Haul, hitched up their car, and made the 20-hour trek to Colorado. They moved into Rozboril’s friends’ basement the day before classes started for Galvanize’s spring web development bootcamp. Still experiencing morning sickness, Ami found a job at a local preschool while her husband threw himself into school.
“Galvanize is more exciting than college,” says Rozboril. “College is slow, with hours of homework. Galvanize rekindled my fire to succeed as a programmer.”
Rozboril initially intended to fund his Galvanize experience through private loans. However, mere weeks into his program, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs approved Galvanize Denver to accept GI Bill education benefits. “As soon as we got approval, I asked if we had any veterans in class,” says Joanna Shea, regulatory affairs manager for Galvanize Inc. Shea reached out to Rozboril, who could now pay off at least part of his tuition. She says that this GI Bill approval is a tremendous validation—both for the veterans and for Galvanize. “This is a stamp of approval for veterans who are looking to revamp their skills,” she says. “And for us to be able to serve our veterans and their dependents is important.”
The baby was due on June 17, the same day Tyler was slated to graduate from Galvanize. But daughter Mia came five days early. The infant’s first field trip out of the house was to attend her father’s Galvanize graduation.
After a rocky first month, Mia’s now sleeping through the night—a relief to her mother, who is staying home to care for her, and to her father, who started his new job at a nearby company, using his military security clearance and Galvanize training to develop software for the government intelligence community.
Recently, Rozboril received more good news: Rather than just pay a pro-rated portion of his tuition, his GI Bill benefits will cover all of his schooling and housing expenses while he attended Galvanize. He says he’s grateful to Galvanize, not only the instructors, but also Shea and other administrators who helped coordinate the financial side of things.
And while more fellow veterans in Colorado can now see Galvanize as an option, Rozboril is ready to face the future with his new family—no matter what surprises life has in store.