Laura Thompson: Building networks is what she does best

Laura Thompson will be the student speaker at the Fall Commencement ceremony on on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 2 p.m. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Computer Information Systems, summa cum laude.

Hometown: Rittman, Ohio

Graduate: Rittman High School

What’s next? I will be continuing to build my career at FirstEnergy as a network engineering and design specialist.

Q: Did you do an internship or co-op? How did that help you prepare for a career? 

A: I began working as an intern at FirstEnergy in Akron during my junior year, and I’ve worked there ever since. It has been the best learning experience that I ever could have asked for because I’ve gotten to work on real projects with experienced professionals. 

Q: What’s your advice to incoming freshmen?

A: If I could give one piece of advice to incoming freshmen, it’d be to never underestimate yourself. Apply for the internship that seems out of reach, because you might get it. Take the professor whose class is harder, because you’ll probably learn a little more. It’s okay to be nervous, but don’t doubt your potential because you might miss out on something great.

Q: Best advice you ever got from a professor?

A: The best advice I ever received from a professor was to start building your professional network early on. This includes your professors, fellow classmates, and anyone you might meet during an internship, job interview, etc. You never know where the future may lead you, and it always helps to have a lot of connections.

Kate Kosar