April 15, 2021
Catawba College student Justin Gray says that his work as an IT intern at Walser Technology Group in Salisbury has the potential for life-saving training experiences for law enforcement and military personnel.
Justin, who is spending 15 hours per week as an intern at the tech company, hopes to land a job in Information Technology Systems, after he graduates in May with a degree in Information Systems & Technology.
As the first Catawba College intern with Walser Technology Group, he assists with the assembly, testing, and packaging of Street Smarts Virtual Reality training kits. The kits provide simulated training experiences to prepare law enforcement and military for effective de-escalation of high stress situations. Each kit contains about 30 components.
The kits are distributed throughout the world, he says, and contain a virtual reality headset, trackers, and a PC preloaded with software that allows instructors to simulate real world situations for students in a virtual environment for law enforcement or military training.
“There’s a very real and potentially life-saving difference that I am making by getting these training kits out the door, especially because police de-escalation and training reform is extremely relevant right now in the news cycle,” he says.
The internship is teaching him to work in a professional environment, he says. “Just having this exposure and being able to talk to people in the IT industry every day has been beneficial. I’ve learned a lot about the day-to-day operations of a business.”
In addition to working with the team at Walser Technology Group assembling and testing the virtual reality training kits, he also assists with internal support tasks for the organization.
He learned of the internship from his advisor, Dr. Pamela Thompson, Associate Professor of Information Systems, Ralph W. Ketner School of Business. “When this one came up, I jumped on it,” he says. He recommends that other students aggressively pursue internship opportunities.
Brad Walser, President of Walser Technology, said of the internship, “It is great to help shape and teach the minds of tomorrow’s technology staff. I was fortunate to have an internship and co-op learning experiences while attending college and feel it is an important step to ready graduates for the real world.”
Dr. Eric Hake, Dean of the Ketner School of Business, said, “Catawba College prides itself on providing students with the opportunities to apply their classroom knowledge in practical, real world situations. While internships and other practical experience are available for all of our students, several programs include it as a requirement to graduate. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration is one of those degrees. We could not serve our students or mission of blending liberal studies and professional application without the collaborative support of our surrounding community. For that support and cooperation, we are grateful.”
Dr. Thompson said that Justin will be one of the College’s first graduates in the new Information Systems and Technology degree program. “Studies include Augmented and Virtual Reality, and the Walser Technology internship provides real world experience with this cutting-edge technology,” she said. “Our program and students benefit tremendously from internship opportunities with exceptional organizations like this. Justin represents the talent we have in our program, and our graduates will be making a difference as they continue after Catawba in a career or graduate school. Many thanks to Brad Walser and Walser Technology Group for providing this opportunity to our students and we are proud of Justin’s hard work.”