By Jayna Morris
Assistant Editor, NKU Magazine

Five recent Northern Kentucky University alumni were recently accepted into General Electric’s full-time, two-year Digital Technology Leadership Program (DTLP).

These alumni have the chance to gain real-world experience through rotational job assignments that focus on GE’s top digital initiatives. We sat down with two of those five graduates—Rachel Boylson and Katie Schoster—to see what led them to NKU, what they miss the most and what they’re up to at GE.

Rachel Boylson ('17)

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Can you tell us a little bit about what you studied at NKU?

My major was media informatics, which is specific to NKU.  It's a combination of communication, graphic design and front-end programming which results in skills such as web development, animation, game development, user experience and interaction design. I also have a computer science minor and a studio arts minor.  The studio arts minor has given me the opportunity to learn about art history as well as take classes such as sculpture and ceramics, which I have really enjoyed.

If a prospective student asked you if you recommend NKU, what would you tell him or her?

If you plan on going into any informatics-related field, NKU is the place for you. There are a lot of majors within the College of Informatics which cover pretty much anything technology related. Big companies (such as GE) recruit very heavily from students in this college.

What advice would you have for an incoming NKU freshman?

If you’re not sure what you want to do, come into college with an open mind—don’t feel the need to declare a major right away. Take your foundations courses, explore different disciplines and find what really works for you.

What are a few things every NKU student should do here before he or she graduates?

Study abroad! We have a great study abroad program at NKU with a lot of different types of trips: two-week trips up to year-long trips.

What are you going to miss the most about NKU?

For the last two years, I worked at NKU’s Center for Applied Informatics within the College of Informatics. I’m really going to miss the people, environment and projects.

Can you talk about what you’re doing—or will be doing—at GE?

Every six months, I will get a new job within GE Aviation, and that includes traveling to different locations around the world. These jobs include anything from software development to project management. These different jobs will allow me to figure out what my forte is as a GE employee and also allow me to network with the hundreds of people in the DTLP program and also other GE employees.  After I complete my program, I will move into a position within GE Aviation with a wider knowledge of how the company works and a better understanding of how I want my career to go.

Katie Schoster ('17)

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What prompted you to attend NKU?



I chose NKU because of its leading edge technology and the beautiful Griffin Hall. NKU was one of the only schools I found with an informatics program that was transdisciplinary. This means it incorporates many different majors into one. I knew I wanted to work with technology, and NKU was able to provide me with a degree that was technical and hands-on without getting too far in depth with programming or focusing too much on the business side. It was the perfect combination, and I knew this degree and school would allow me to grow and work with real-world applications.

Could you tell us about the best of your experiences as an NKU student?

I think my favorite experience at NKU was assisting in starting up the Peer Coach program for the College of Informatics and all the opportunities it provided for me—like presenting at the Board of Regents meeting and networking with students and faculty/staff.  

Can you tell us a little about what you studied at NKU?

I studied computer information technology in the network and security track. This track in general focuses on building, designing and troubleshooting computer networks so that users can access the internet and other tools. The other part of my major is the security aspect. Cybersecurity it a huge topic in our world today, so being able to learn how to secure these devices and prevent attacks is extremely beneficial and also very relevant and important. For example, this past summer I was interning at GE in their IT Risk unit, and I was able to use some of my cybersecurity knowledge to look at vulnerabilities in web applications and assess the importance of patching them.

What advice would you have for an incoming NKU freshman?

My biggest advice to any incoming freshman is to get involved. This is the biggest mistake I made my first semester because without getting involved college just becomes this boring and repetitive task. Once I made the choice to join a student organization, my whole outlook on college changed, and I became more confident and happy with my choices. My second piece of advice is to get to know at least one faculty or staff member. This is probably the most crucial task because it can open the door to many opportunities like jobs or internships, research and letters of recommendation. I was lucky enough during my sophomore year to get to know Scot Cunningham, a networking professor. He was the one who actually recommended to me to look at GE for internships. I thought I was too young, but his encouragement allowed to me apply and get accepted into the program for the summers of 2015 and 2016. This eventually led to a full-time job offer at GE in the DTLP program after graduation.

What are a few things every NKU student should do here before he or she graduates?

  • Join a club to build your network.
  • Get to know your professors.
  • Use resources like Career Services so you can build a stellar resume and practice interviewing.
  • Go to the job fairs—especially the STEM-NG one for computer majors.

What are you going to miss the most about NKU?

I think I am going to miss all of the connections I made at NKU—the faculty, staff and classmates. This is something that will be irreplaceable, but I know I will always be a part of the NKU family.

Can you talk about what you're doing—or will be doing—at GE?

When I found out I was accepted into GE’s DTLP program, I was ecstatic. It proved to me that all my hard work had paid off. It also made me realize how special NKU’s program is because we were one of the few colleges with a 100 percent acceptance this year, which is huge. We beat out [other regional universities]. The DTLP program is a rotational program, which means for the next two years I will be working in different areas of IT in six-month intervals. I hope I'll be able to work with the IT Risk unit again!