PEMBROKE — UNCP seniors Cori McMonagle and William Schwiegeraht have their sights set on a career in the tech industry which boasts one of the most competitive job markets.
However, thanks to a partnership with Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation, the Information Technology majors can pad their resumes with real-world experience — giving them a leg up in the application process.
McMonagle and Schwiegeraht recently completed a three-month internship in the IT Department at LREMC’s headquarters in Red Springs. LREMC is an electric utility company that serves Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke and Scotland counties.
“This internship was an extremely advantageous opportunity for me,” McMonagle said. “I was able to gain valuable experience in many different subsets of the IT field. In the few months that I have been working with LREMC, I have learned a great deal about fiber optics, as well as the energy field.”
McMonagle was paired with IT techs with more than 15 years of experience in the field. She was tasked with assisting with help desk problems, documentation, design, configuration, and assisting in software and network plans.
“I feel like I have been given an upper hand in my education by being able to learn from the more experienced as well as being able to apply the knowledge that I have learned in the classroom,” she said.
The students spent a lot of time “cleaning” outdated infrastructure, which entailed reformatting hard drives of old machines, wiping data and preparing for disposal.
“We were tasked with cataloging and organizing all IT equipment in the building,” Schwiegeraht said. “We were tasked to install fiber-optic connectors, under supervision of course, for their “Fiber to the Home” venture. We were also tasked with installing a mapping software to multiple computers.”
He said the internship provided him with a glimpse of the inner workings of a professional environment in the IT field.
“This was a great opportunity to be able to get some hands-on experience working in the field,” Schwiegeraht said. “My time at LREMC has shown me factors, which I didn’t think as impactful, when making an IT-related suggestion or decision.”
Schwiegeraht and McMonagle both graduated on Saturday.
Dr. Jeff Frederick, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the internship provided the students with valuable work experience and mentoring.
“UNC Pembroke is more committed than ever to making sure our students are market-ready for the rest of their lives,” Frederick said. “Having this opportunity for our Computer Science and Information Technology students with such a great partner like LREMC is a tremendous way for us to make sure the classroom and the high tech work place fit together hand-in-glove.”
Mark Locklear is a Public Relations specialist at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.