Why Experience Matters

The College of Online and Experiential Learning offers online learning, experiential learning and assessment of prior learning to provide pathways for degree completion. For these professionals, those opportunities were game changers.


David Brintzingoffer

When one is close to retirement, becoming a nurse is not typically on the top of a to-do list. But for Sergeant David Brintzingoffer, retirement presented an opportunity to start a new career.

“I like the intensity and challenge of helping people during emergencies and have always wanted to be an emergency room nurse,” says Brintzingoffer.

Helping people is nothing new for the man who began a career more than 25 years ago as a police officer for Burlington Township (N.J.) and an emergency medical technician for the City of Camden. Before retiring in 2015, he completed the nursing program at Rowan College at Burlington County and immediately began the B.S. in nursing (BSN) program at Wilmington University. That career transition required a flexible online program that recognized his past accomplishments in emergency management, leadership and crisis intervention.

Brintzingoffer has been a basic life support instructor and EMT trainer and is a certified public manager and a graduate of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police Command & Leadership Academy. His accomplishments were identified and leveraged for credit toward the BSN program, which accelerated his path to completion.

“I was impressed that the training programs that I had completed were recognized and valued by WilmU faculty,” he says, “and with the time demands of my new position, the mental boost received from earning credit toward my electives was just what I needed.”

Brintzingoffer, who’s in his third semester, recently accepted a position as an emergency room nurse that coincided with his retirement as a police officer and EMT.


Ryan Del Gallo

Ryan Del Gallo is not your average millennial.

“Business has been a part of my life since I was born,” he says. “When I was 5, I was serving pizza at the Sons of Italy Lodge in Baltimore. At 12, I was going door-to-door washing cars. At 15, I had my own art business. My parents were shocked, but proud that by 16 I had enough money saved to pay for college.”

Now 22, his drive has resulted in a successful career as a business consultant and regional technology liaison at the Harford County Small Business Development Center in Havre de Grace, Md. He led development and recruitment for the county’s first-ever “Shark Tank” event in 2015, and then in that same year, set the record as the youngest person in the United States to pass the 1,000-question, nine-hour Certified Grant Writer examination.

With the help of WilmU College of Business faculty in conjunction with the College of Online and Experiential Learning, Del Gallo was awarded three credits for this achievement. He also earned three credits for his Master Accredited Small Business Consultant credential and completed a prior learning portfolio for Project Management (BBM 412). On Jan. 24, 2016, Del Gallo proudly walked the stage at commencement to accept his B.S. in organizational management degree from WilmU. He will begin pursuing his WilmU MBA this fall.


Waynna Dobson

“Good evening, and welcome to another edition of the Congo Hour,” a sunny voice says, as it greets Comcast Channel 28 viewers every Sunday evening at 8.

The golden voice belongs to the 25-year show host Waynna Dobson, who also happens to be a WilmU student. While taking a break from her education, she developed quite the resume: executive assistant in the office of New Castle County Executive Thomas Gordon; a host of NCCTV’s “Your County at Work;” funeral coordinator at Congo Funeral Home; and a published author.

But above all else, she’s a mother, grandmother and friend. And if there’s a common thread among the hats Dobson wears, it’s, as she says, “service-hood.” She strives to help others in the spirit of compassion, a value instilled during childhood by her grandfather, Howard Dobson. Her work at the funeral home allows her to practice these values as she comforts each grieving family. “If they call me, I will be there,” she says.

Despite her self-assuredness in most areas of her life, she says that the fear of failure was the biggest challenge when returning to school after 25 years. She eventually conquered that fear and now offers words of wisdom to others.

“Don’t just think outside the box,” she says. “You have to get rid of the box.”

Dobson recently completed Prior Learning Assessment Theory and Practice (EXP 100) to begin the process of developing prior learning portfolios for assessment. She earned an A.A. in January and is currently pursuing a B.S. in organizational management, both at WilmU.

Photo by Paul Patton | Wilmington University™
Photo by Paul Patton | Wilmington University™

David Wisor

When it comes to his education, David Wisor says he has only one regret: “I would have returned to school earlier if I knew how convenient online learning and prior learning assessment was at Wilmington University.”

He will complete the degree requirements for the B.S. in human resource management this summer after only two years. Wisor returned to school as a sophomore in 2014, but brought with him a wealth of business experience. Climbing the career ladder over the past 20 years at Mannington Mills, a manufacturer of fine flooring based in Salem, N.J., Wisor developed from sales to positions as a shift supervisor, payroll manager, project manager and his current role as senior human resource director.

Working full-time, returning to college, and not knowing where to begin, was a challenge. Wisor simply wanted to complete his bachelor’s quickly.

“When I was directed to the College of Online and Experiential Learning at Wilmington University, “ he says, “everything changed because I was provided support and a clear pathway forward that was customized to me — and that was exactly what I needed.”

He completed his degree requirements in just two years while working full time by leveraging his prior learning into credits by completing standardized exams. He also earned credit for his recently acquired Senior Professional Human Resource certification. Wisor, in fact, was awarded 30 credits total for the completion of the exams and certification. WU

-By Lindsay Rice and Lauren Haas