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Students Validate Degree: Find Employment Before Graduation
August 16, 2011
With the statistics of the bleak job market and volatile economy persistently scrolling across the news tickers, the feeling of ending your college career amidst such uncertainty is beyond unsettling. Editorials questioning the worth of a college education continue to sprout up in newspapers, news websites and blogs.
Unless you’ve already secured a full-time position at a major conglomerate like Capitol College senior Justin Grove. What was that about an uncertain job market? College degrees losing worth?
The 21-year-old Grove is six classes and a senior design project away from earning his Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology from Capitol College. Working as a system administrator full-time during the summer at Honeywell Tech Solutions, Grove will work part-time during the fall semester, while completing his degree. He hopes to graduate in December.
While Grove is considered a part-time student at Capitol, he’s considered a full-time employee by his coworkers. Since settling into his position in mid-July, the Clear Spring Md. native has begun receiving the training that will continue to make him a valuable asset, both at Honeywell and Capitol.
“My job still falls under the same responsibilities as a full-time systems administrator,” Grove said. “I’m going through training now, and will work part-time during school. But when I graduate they won’t have to train another person.”
Grove honed his interest in computer engineering technology at Capitol’s Space Operations Institute (SOI).
“I was working with the SOI for over a year, and I really enjoyed the job,” Grove said. “I’m probably going to come back to Capitol for my master’s in information assurance. I’m learning a lot of stuff [at Honeywell] that will probably help towards my master’s program.”
NASA’s Tropical Rainforest Measurement Mission (TRMM), which Grove worked with while at the SOI, was the perfect stepping stone into his new career. TRMM is a research satellite that captures data on rainfall and heat release in tropical and semi-tropical regions of Earth. At Honeywell, he is engaged with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which collects detailed information about the environment of the moon and sends an amazing amount of data to American scientists.
As one of the “go-to-guys” for technical problems with the satellite, Grove is fielding questions and concerns from operations engineers, mission management and the people actually flying the satellite. The tasks of maintaining systems, building systems and configuring the satellite’s components are very similar to what he was performing in Capitol’s SOI.
Grove is not alone in parlaying his hands-on learning experiences at Capitol into a full-time position in industry. Recent graduate Joseph Flemke is also working for Honeywell as a systems engineer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. A graduate of the class of 2011, Justin Gensel was offered his position as an integration and test engineer at Integral Systems Inc., several months before accepting his diploma. Nyssa Jones wasn’t job hunting long before she was offered a junior electrical engineer position at Kratos Defense and Security Solutions. The list of students continues.
There’s no debate that America’s unemployment rate and job market have seen better days. But instead of sitting around worrying about their futures, Capitol students are using the innovative facilities, advanced technologies and expert professors at their fingertips to prepare themselves for meaningful jobs in the workforce.
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