Where does one begin when it comes to these pages… Well, my name is Michael Virnoche and you’ve found my website showcasing what I’ve accomplished and created throughout a six year college experience, so thanks for stopping by. The time I’ve spent at the University of Advancing Technology has been a very long, six year adventure. Normally a bachelors degree should take four years, and with this program being year round and taking between 18 and 21 credits a semester, mine has had its road blocks but you’ll find those out a little later.
My journey with UAT started when I found out about them in the 9th grade after receiving a letter about their Network Security program. On that day, after flipping through their program, I knew where I was going. In my junior year I applied and got accepted without an issue, which was good since I hadn’t considered any other schools. Once I arrived in Tempe, AZ I immediately started enjoying all that the school had to offer. Though I was initially a Network Security student, I took a robotics class during orientation and was hooked, so I switched my major the first week to Robotics and Embedded Systems. There has always been an interest in Network Security and hacking, so I ended up dual majoring and never looked back from there. After my first semester, I had to take my first LoA (Leave of Absence) from the program due to medical complications. It turned out, my heart which I was always told was fine, had decided to form itself into a candy cane like aorta which no one had seen before, and something I was told needed open heart reconstructive surgery to fix.
As you can tell, the heart on the right really doesn’t look anything close to a normal heart, pictured left, and this is what stopped my degree dead in it tracks.After almost six months or tests, specialists, and appointments all over the country they decided that ‘since it works, not to mess with it’ and I was cleared again to resume my studies. I quickly started with the next semester and got right back into the swing of things.I started taking every robotics course that I could and was already working on 300 and 400 level courses in my first year of college. The projects were a ton of fun and I was learning more about embedded systems that I had ever known to be possible.
With all the robotics though I didn’t forget my roots with NetSec and worked on several projects with those students, including an internship that lasted over 18 months working in the school’s IT department in every roll from client systems administrator, to server and network administrator as those employees were all leaving for better positions. I learned quite a lot while I was in there, and that’s where I really got my feet wet with virtualization; something I now use every single day.
While I was away in Arizona though, my girlfriend was still in NY pursuing her dreams of being a nurse, and for my 20th birthday she flew out to Las Vegas were I asked her to be my wife! And on December 3rd, 2011 she became my wife! Leading up to our marriage though, I was on another LoA from UAT which lasted almost two years, and this one was again medically related, but on a much different level. It turned out after a year of testing that I had something called Moyamoya disease, a disease which shuts down the blood flow to the brain and in my case was causing seizures about 16 hours a day making it impossible for me to do anything. After having back to back brain surgeries at Stanford Hospital under Gary Steinberg, my life started coming back together, and once again I was re-applying to be a student again and finish my degrees finally.
It has been a very long time coming, and a journey which has taken both my wife and I through many things no one should ever experience, but we both can’t wait to finally put this chapter of our lives behind us and move onto the next!