ECU Pirate Profile Harrison

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What made you choose ECU?

Originally, family ties. I have two cousins who were students at the time I enrolled. One was a senior and the other was a sophomore. I had been up here several times to visit, had seen the campus, and I liked the area. After more research, I found that ECU had a diverse College of Technology and Computer Science.

Tell us more about your major and future career goals.

My major is information technology with a concentration in computer networking. After I graduate, I am looking to get a job with Cisco Systems, whether it will be with North Carolina or California.

You recently worked with Cisco?

Last January, I went to Raleigh to work for Cisco as a co-op in their Customer Advocacy Lab Operations unit and really enjoyed it. I started thinking about the possibility of going to other Cisco campuses, so I e-mailed my manager in Raleigh and asked her about that. Next semester I will be working as a co-op at Cisco Systems in San Jose, California, while completing my classes online.

How exciting! What kind of work were you doing in the lab at Cisco?

Cisco visits ECU’s campus and holds a recruiting meeting to tell students about this possibility of working with them. They recruit students to work full time, 40 hours a week. The chosen students work in the technical assistance center. We cable together networks that customers are having issues with, if they can’t solve the problems over the phone. We build part of the network physically in the lab.

What are you most excited about for California?

I have never been to the West Coast, so it will be really awesome to be able to go. Hopefully, I will be able to take some weekends and travel around. It’s going to be exciting to see the differences in culture over there. From what I read and been told, it’s very different than living here on East Coast. As far as working at Cisco, every site has their different methods, but I will be doing the same things that I did at RTP.

Upon graduating, what will you miss most about ECU?

The outgoing atmosphere that encompasses East Carolina University. It’s awesome, and it makes it really easy for freshmen to feel welcome and at home. Every professor I have had at ECU is personable and has always been there for me if I had questions about material in classes, or if I needed help understanding specific concepts.

Tell us more about the ECU Pirate Grid project you are involved with.

Part of our major is the capstone project class, so I am part of a group of students that is working to build a foundation for the Pirate Grid, which is ECU’s campus built virtually online. Eventually people will have an avatar and will be able to walk on campus with this avatar, and maybe attend classes like that. ECU currently has a set-up like this in Second Life, but Second Life isn’t open source. Pirate Grid is open source, which means it’s free. We are just building the foundation for the students who come in next year, and they can start where we left off and eventually get the project up and running so we have more options for ECU’s distance education students. We want to continue to give ECU the edge in North Carolina for distance education.