Dona Miller, administrative support specialist at the NC State University (NCSU) Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI), is a self-described late bloomer.
Originally from China Grove, a small town near Kannapolis, she first graduated from Rowan-Cabarrus in 2002 with an associate degree in information systems and again in 2010 with an associate degree in office administration.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a long time,” she said. “So I cleaned houses and waitressed. So this is really my first job that went with those degrees.”
She began working at PHHI through the cooperative education program, which turned into a part-time job and then a full-time position in July 2011. Her job duties range from assisting with bookkeeping to managing reservations for the NCSU faculty house to publishing PHHI’s internal newsletter.
“This job opened a lot of new avenues like working with grants and research administration,” she said. “It’s been like an avenue showing me what all is out there. It’s been an awesome learning opportunity here.”
At 30, she’s only beginning to pursue her education and shape her career. She’s currently enrolled in additional classes at Rowan-Cabarrus that are preparing her for a four-year degree through an online program of Appalachian State University in management.
“I highly recommend the co-op program at Rowan-Cabarrus,” she said. “Unless you know someone in the field or have your foot in the door, it is hard to get a job these days. So having an opportunity to network and gain hands-on experience through internships is an invaluable resource. The school was great. I loved my teachers, and it’s a lot more economic option.”