Christopher Rice - Discovery

Growing up in a small town, senior Christopher Rice’s exposure to advanced mathematics and scientific engineering came through his involvement with an organization called Interdisciplinary Scientific Environmental Technology (ISET).

“We would come to A&T’s campus about twice a month whenever we had the opportunity to see presentations on meteorology and different sciences, and that sparked my interests in the university and engineering,” he said.

Rice, 21, is a computer science major and is currently deciding between multiple career paths.

”With computer science, you can take two different paths – information technology is so popular with this generation. A lot of computer science majors will take jobs as IT analysts while some will work in software development and engineering,” he said. “I am trying to decide which one I would like more and move into management in one of those fields.

His interest in computers manifested using social media.

“Back in the MySpace days, there was code behind the profiles and that was in the html language. It triggered my interest because I enjoyed looking at the code behind those pages and making mine look really nice,” he said.

Since entering North Carolina A&T State University, Rice has completed an internship with ADTRAN in Huntsville, Ala., and two with Marathon Petroleum in Findlay, Ohio, and Texas City, Texas. He credits his success to the organizations in which he holds memberships and his first work experience.

“My most rewarding experience would have to be being able to be a resident assistant as a sophomore and a junior,” he said. “It opened a lot of doors for me.”

Rice says that students who work with science and technology are stereotyped as being antisocial and detached. The resident assistant experience helped to counter that belief.

 “It increased my interpersonal skills and taught me how to work with diverse students and coworkers,” he said. “It also exposed me to the daily experience of working every day.”

In fact, it was Rice’s experience as a resident assistant that caused recruiters to take a second look at him during the career fairs that netted him his three internships.

“It triggered a lot of recruiters to be interested in talking to me because they knew I had leadership experience,” Rice said.

In addition to that job experience, he credits organizations like TRiO, Chi Alpha Epsilon, the Golden Key and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies as well as the Honors Program and the National Society of Black Engineers with making him a leader.

“All of them have helped me to have an impact,” he said. “A lot of the organizations are academically based and they have helped me realize the importance of excellence in the classroom and they keep me on my toes to perform at the level I am expected to perform.”

He also credits the Office of Career Services with preparing him for his interviews and encounters with professionals.

“They’ve helped me become mature and professional. If it were not for them, I don’t think I would have performed at that level,” Rice said.

Even though Rice hasn’t received any full-time job offers, he does have the internship and will continue to look for opportunities in North Carolina and California.

“I want to begin in the industry for at least a year to get some full-time experience to the work environment and then I want to get a master’s degree in computer science or management information systems through a company that would provide reimbursement,” he said.