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Off to a great start
Article Published: 04/12/2016
Getting career experience early can make a big impact on a student’s career path. Computer Network Tech student Skylar LaRock (Norwalk HS) feels like she’s finding her way and getting the experience she needs to be successful.
Because of her interest in technology, LaRock decided to pursue EHOVE’s Computer Network Tech program. Traditionally a male-dominated career field, she didn’t think twice until the first day when she walked into the classroom. “It was all guys,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I love how my class has turned into a family, but we definitely need more girls to go into technology areas. We can do it just as well, if not better.”
LaRock excelled in her program as well as her academic classes, qualifying to take college courses at BGSU Firelands and earning the privilege of being able to work a job in her career field instead of attending the Computer Network Tech classes. She was thrilled to be hired as a Student Technology Assistant for EHOVE’s Information Technology Department.
Through her part-time position, she handles troubleshooting computer and technology problems for teachers, students and staff members, setting up PCs, fixing printers, controlling the presentations and lighting at public events, and helping the department staff with other technology projects. After the department staff leave for the day, LaRock is entrusted to be the technology contact point for Adult Education staff and students into the evening.
EHOVE practices what it preaches when it comes to helping students getting real-world experience. “The students are exposed to many of the skills they are learning in their program in a real world environment,” said David Jenkins, Director of Operations. “They also get exposed to many items that aren’t covered in the normal curriculum. Soft skills can be practiced and honed before reaching the workforce, too.”
Feeling like she is getting great technology experience, LaRock also appreciates the atmosphere and says that the staff always answer her questions and give her resources to learn more.
“Skylar has been a great addition to the department,” said Jenkins. “She is prompt, is a self-starter, and asks questions when she doesn’t know how to fix something. She has been able to expand her skill set in many areas since starting this past summer. She was part of a team that installed all of the wiring needed for the recent Wi-Fi upgrades. She has also demonstrated excellent customer service skills.”
LaRock has been accepted to Ohio State University Mansfield Campus and will major in biomedical engineering next year. She is motivated to study and improve prosthetics from an experience that inspired her years ago. “Randomly, I saw a man struggling with the prosthetic he was wearing,” she said. “It obviously wasn’t comfortable. It was tough for him. I want to help people and not sit at a desk all day. If there’s something I can do to make a prosthetic more comfortable, I want to improve that. I want to work on connecting them to the brain in a better way to make it better for the person wearing it.”
In addition to her classes and job at EHOVE, she is Vice President of the EHOVE chapter of Business Professionals of America, an EHOVE Ambassador and participated in the Teen Leadership Corps class. Also, she is very active on EHOVE’s robotics team, Mavericks #2252, where she helped build the robot and was on the pit crew. She also live tweeted the team’s progress on EHOVE’s Twitter account during their last competition.
“EHOVE’s brought me out in a good way,” she said. “Public speaking, people skills, work skills and real experience. It all adds up.”