Pictured: (from left) Kennan Collins, Chad Hunt, Gene Deese, Terry Locklear and Jerry Locklear
Five UNC Pembroke computer science majors added another stepping-stone in their career paths.
The students traveled to New Mexico for a seminar to meet with representatives from IBM to discuss career opportunities and internships.
They attended the "IBM Native American Project View," a diversity recruitment program that brings hiring managers together with Native American college students, graduates and other professionals. They discussed internships, co-ops and permanent employment opportunities.
UNCP's chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) helped promote and coordinate the student's participation.
Kennan Collins, a senior from Rowland, Gene Deese, a senior from Pembroke, Chad Hunt, a junior from Red Springs, Jerry Locklear, a senior from Lumberton, and Terry Locklear, senior from Pembroke, applied to attend the "IBM Native American Project View" in Albuquerque in January.
The program is open to academic areas, including accounting, business administration, mathematics, marketing, electrical and computer engineering, chemistry and finance. IBM picked up all costs.
There were 50 participants and 23 hiring managers at the event. Each participant set up an interview based on individual interests.
Gene Deese said it was a great experience for undergraduates.
"The experience we gained from the interview sessions will benefit us as we begin our career paths, " Deese said.
The young men also made an impression on the IBM staff. All of them have had follow-up contact with IBM since they returned home.
"Our prospects look promising," said Terry Locklear.
"It's exciting to get feedback. It let's you know how valuable the company thinks you are," stated Jerry Locklear.
Chad Hunt thanked UNCP's AISES program for the opportunity. The UNCP AISES chapter attended the national AISES conference in November and brought back information about this program. Hunt, who is also working on a minor in business, hopes more of UNCP's Native American students apply next year.
"All the young men agreed that they really enjoyed the experience and considered it beneficial to them," Hunt said.
"The IBM project is "a good opportunity for Native peoples," said Kennan Collins. "It also puts our school's name out there."