Eastern Kentucky University’s Training Resource Center (TRC), in partnership with the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology, recently instituted a specialized co-op program designed to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities of undergraduate students by providing hands-on experience working with everyday technologies in an organizational setting.
Eric Poynter, TRC technology manager, and Dr. Vigs Chandra, professor and coordinator of computer networking security and electronics, jointly developed the co-op program, which provides a “win-win” for both students and TRC. Participating students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned in their courses and satisfy a degree requirement, while the TRC benefits by receiving additional technological support services.
Since the co-op program’s inception in January 2015, the TRC has provided experiential learning experiences for six students. Each of the six students successfully completed 80 hours of service within the semester and received one hour of co-op credit. Students provided technology-related services, including troubleshooting computer hardware, software and printer issues as well as providing individualized support and technical assistance to TRC staff.
In addition to the technology services provided, students also complete a semester-long project based upon their interests and experience under the supervision of Poynter. Examples of completed projects include: development of a TRC technology webpage, development and deployment of Windows images, deployment of VoIP Lync phones for staff, and research of future relevant technologies for integration in TRC offices.
Casey Spires, a senior Networking, Security and Electronics major in the initial TRC co-op cohort, said his internship experience at TRC “has taught me valuable skills in information technology and professionalism that I will take with me for the rest of my life.” Since completing his co-op, Spires has been hired as a part-time student employee with the TRC.