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When Bulls Fly: Three Recent JCSU Grads Takeoff with Airline Careers

By: Johnson C.Smith University

Tasia Bolling ’22 was nearing the end of senior year, and found herself connecting with the Smith Tech Innovation Center to hone her skills in hopes of finding a job after graduation.

With the help of Terik Tidwell, the Center’s director, and with a lot of preparation, the Computer Science/Information Systems major, along with classmates Alton Smith-Bey ’22 and Moncrief P. Frazier ’22, were selected for jobs in IT with American Airlines.

“Mr. Tidwell told me American Airlines was coming to our campus actively looking to hire students,” Bolling said. “We put together a plan and every day for weeks I would start taking on projects that enhanced my skills in preparation for the interview. When I learned that I got the job, I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I was more than grateful for the opportunity.”

Executives with American Airlines flew to several HBCUs as a part of its American Airlines Development Program for Technology (ADEPT) with the goal of developing a technical talent pipeline for recent Information Technology grads.

Tomias Davis, American Airlines’ ADEPT director, said the program focuses mainly on graduating seniors looking for full-time career opportunities and juniors who are interested in internships.

During the ADEPT interview process, students learned about American Airlines, completed mock interviews, had the opportunity to ask questions and attended a networking event.

“When I found out I got into the program, I was excited and thrilled, knowing that all I had to do was apply myself and take advantage of the opportunity given to me,” said Smith-Bey.

Bolling and Smith-Bey said they are using their programming skills and working on an interactive vocal recognition system under the Contact Center Technology department.

Both have enjoyed learning more about the airline industry, and acknowledge that JCSU was foundational in their understanding and application of their new day-to-day responsibilities.

“JCSU laid the groundwork for me to be here,” said Bolling. “Just learning what I learned there, I’m able to catch on to concepts quickly.”

“I’ve used many of the programming skills that I picked up over the years at JCSU during this program,” added Smith-Bey.

Now that Bolling is in her first corporate job with American Airlines, she looks back and is proud that she connected with campus resources and used her confidence to get her where she is today.

“You have to own your development and where your career will take you,” she said. “The opportunities provided at JCSU and my willingness to learn really enhanced my skill set and my confidence to further my career within software development. I would like to tell all of my fellow Smithites to take advantage of any opportunity that will enhance your skills and create connections.”

Johnson C. Smith University is a leading institution in producing graduates in STEM fields. For more information about JCSU’s Computer Science/Information Systems program, visit JCSU.edu/cs-is.

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