Passion, persistence leads to success for ECU student
By Margaret Turner
ECU College of Engineering and Technology
At the end of July, at least one East Carolina University senior will be working full time in the Research Triangle area for Cisco, an international networking company.
Anthony Peterson Jr., a Sampson County native and first generation college student, is expected to graduate magna cum laude May 9 with a bachelor’s degree in information and computer technology. The program is in the Department of Technology Systems in the College of Engineering and Technology. Peterson spent a year at Cisco as an intern in their Customer Advocacy Lab Operations.
Peterson developed a passion for technology in high school. “I tinkered around a lot with computers in high school so I knew I wanted to work in information technology when I came to ECU,” he said. “The program is really hands-on, which is what attracted me.”
After initially being turned down for an internship with Cisco, Peterson was persistent and tried a second time. John Pickard, a teaching instructor in the information and computer technology program, encouraged him to “go for it and get your name out there.”
He was hired and agreed to intern for six months, while taking night and online classes so he wouldn’t have to postpone his graduation date. After his first six months, he stayed on for another six-month internship, earning several certifications through Cisco along the way.
Peterson credits his strong work ethic to his parents, Anthony Peterson Sr. and Charlene Peterson, both of whom work for the public school system in Sampson County. “I’ve seen them work hard their entire lives,” he added.
While at Cisco, Peterson became well known for his work ethic. He even mentored fellow interns. “Working at Cisco provided me with real world examples and lots of lessons of how to succeed in this world,” Peterson said. “It also showed me a glimpse of what’s in store for my future. My interpersonal skills grew and I just grew better as a person.”
After the internship, Peterson was able to share his newfound knowledge and skills with underclassmen when he returned to ECU and worked as a lab monitor.
“Anthony is an outstanding student and has excelled in our ICT program,” Pickard said. “His high level of maturity and ability to handle responsibility led me to hire him as a lab worker in our networking lab for multiple semesters. His hard work and determination have definitely paid off, and I know he will excel in his next endeavor.”
Peterson set several goals early on to “finish high school, then college, and then, to get a good degree with a job in hand.
“I know my parents are proud of me, and it makes me happy to make them proud,” he said.