IT ‘success story’ regularly honors his Penn College roots
Anthony S. Riegel, a 2019 graduate in information technology: network specialist concentration, made a visit to campus to talk with students in Stephen R. Cheskiewicz’s Network Design & Management course.
Riegel has done so each year since graduating.
“I do it to give back to the community that provided for me while I was here,” said Riegel, a consulting engineer for Cisco who says he enjoyed hearing from alumni when he was a student.
I do it to give back to the community that provided for me while I was here.
Anthony S. Riegel , information technology: network specialist concentration, 2019
Stephen R. Cheskiewicz, associate professor of computer information technology, joins 2019 grad Anthony S. Riegel in the college’s recently updated networking lab before Riegel offered real-world perspectives to students in a capstone class.
“He is a success story,” Cheskiewicz said, recalling how Riegel had dreamed of working for Cisco even before he began his Penn College studies. After a lengthy interview process, Riegel landed a job with Cisco in North Carolina before he graduated and has accepted a series of promotions while there. He’s also recently become a homeowner and is planning a wedding. “He is the perfect person to talk to them.”
Riegel’s dream of working for Cisco began in high school, when he took part in a career and technical education program in networking that focused on Cisco. “I had a close affinity at that point to the brand,” he said, describing it as a “juggernaut” for networking equipment, software and services.
As a consulting engineer, Riegel works with Cisco customers to help them solve their problems, from fixing issues to helping them use products in new ways to meet new goals. He learns from clients’ documentation and conversation what they have and what they want to accomplish.
“There’s a lot of mentoring, talking through, hand-holding,” he says.
With students, he covered early-career lessons that he’s learned, the transition to corporate life, and tips and encouragement for the job application and interview process. Among them:
- Learn to collaborate.
- Diversity of thought is critical.
- If you find a problem, suggest a solution or workaround.
- Be a mentor.
- Practice to become a good presenter/communicator.
- Keep learning (GPA is irrelevant after you get your first offer, he says.)
- You are hired to complete a task, but career growth does not come from doing just the assigned work.
- Build a network.
- Review your resume all the time, even when not looking for a job. Maintain a long resume that includes everything (Riegel even includes his job at Sheetz on Maynard Street while a Penn College student), and pull from that to create shorter resumes customized to each job opening.
- Practice for the interview – with Career Services, with fellow students, etc.
The trip was partly made possible through Cisco’s “Time2Give” benefit, which allows its employees to give work hours to volunteer efforts.
Riegel answers student questions following a talk in Cheskiewicz’s Network Design & Management class.