RALEIGH -- Jakia Bowers is one of 263 students earning a degree from Shaw University on Saturday.

Unlike most of her classmates, the computer science major from Virginia Beach has already experienced how delicate life can be.

While working as a software tester at Eastern Carolina University over the summer, Bowers was called upon to help fix a machine that was malfunctioning during open heart surgery.

"They don't do open heart surgery with their hands. They use computers now. And as the machine was going, the machine stopped the pressure of her heart, so excessive bleeding and I had to find it, reprogram it, finsh the surgery and she made it,” says Bowers.

Bowers says it was her first time in that type of situation and admits she was scared, but knew she wasn't alone.

"Being I was behind so many good people that worked behind the machine before me. And they was guiding me along to find bugs and learning a new program language, it was really excellent and I'm really proud to be apart of that,"says Bowers.

She says still keeps in touch with the 29-year-old patient, who just completed her first triathalon a few months ago.

Bowers and the thousands in attendace at the Raleigh Convention Center Saturday listened to keynote speaker Congressman G.K. Butterfield as he encouraged the group to remain faithful.

"Be faithful to their family, must be faithful to the University, be faithful to humanity, be faithful to their faith, but most of all, be faithful to themselves,” says Congressman Butterfield.

And as Jakia Bowers name was called, she let out a big smile.

She encourages those seeking higher education to stay focused, and says she strives to make her family proud.

Bowers says she will intern in Oklahoma City this summer to learn more about detecting bus and security awareness in medical equipment.

She also plans to continue her education in the fall at the University of Maryland in College Park.