Thomas Student Learning the Ropes in IT at Sappi’s Somerset Mill in Skowhegan

Published: Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hunter Quinlan ’18 began his first internship ever after his first year in college.

A Computer Science and Security & Cyber Defense double major at Thomas College, Quinlan was able to get hands-on experience in Sappi’s Somerset Mill this summer.

He did various tasks ranging from desktop support and setting up a documentation program through SharePoint to working with the company’s server infrastructure and security camera setup.

After the summer, Quinlan was offered to stay on part time while continuing his studies at Thomas. Now, he works about ten hours per week and takes five classes. He says it’s a lot of work, but it is a great experience.

Quinlan’s next big project at the mill is coding. He is taking a look at a former intern’s and Thomas grad’s code and making necessary changes.

Quinlan says he works with a team of six or seven employees in the IT department. “They are very skilled at what they do,” said Quinlan. “And they help me out when I have questions. I am learning a lot.”

Quinlan says his time at Thomas – although short so far – has already made an impact on him. He says he has grown into a more confident person and student. Thomas has also given him opportunities to help him with furthering his skills and career.

“Everybody here, from the staff to the professors, is willing to help you with whatever it is you want to strive for in your future,” he said.

Besides working and going to school, Quinlan is also involved with Thomas College’s Thomas Cup, an overnight gaming and technology competition for high school students hosted on campus.

This year, Quinlan is handling evidence for a new event at the Thomas Cup: the crime scene investigation competition.

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From Canaan, ME, Quinlan chose Thomas because it is close to home with a small student body. He also said it offers the best broad package of computer- and technology-related programs.

“My classes are interactive, and the professors continually introduce cutting-edge concepts and technology,” said Quinlan. He went on to say that the professors also encourage him and his classmates to network in the cybersecurity field.

“It’s beneficial because you get both the experience in the classroom and the experience out talking to professionals in the field who are doing the job you might do one day.”

Quinlan says he’s not sure what he will do after graduation quite yet, but he is happy for the experience he is getting already.

“I’ve been able to get my feet wet in a number of different areas to see which ones I like – which I’m very thankful for and excited about.”

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