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Behind the Lines: Partnership helps Fort Valley State students' careers take off

Ten students already have internships at Robins thanks to the partnership.

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Twenty years ago, Lakina Bembry and Shantoyia Adewunmi wandered the halls of Fort Valley State University as students.

Now, they are employees at Robins Air Force Base working at ambassadors for their alma mater.

"I can make a pathway that wasn't available to me," Bembry said. "Maybe I can make the road a little bit easier for someone else. It's really one of the biggest highlights of my career."

Robins signed an agreement with Fort Valley State in November promising to help students while also getting to share resources.

"We really did not want it to be just a piece of paper and a ceremony," Bembry said.

So, she and Adewunmi went to work creating opportunities like networking events and mentoring sessions.

"So you can see where the benefits of your work and your learning and how it can actually help the warfighter," Adewunmi said.

Through those opportunities, students also learned they can do that in many different ways.

"The focal point was really computer scientists and building that bridge for our students," LuWanna Williams, Director of the Center for Student Engagement, said. "What we saw was that there was growth opportunities for areas beyond computer science."

She says the program already expanded to students majoring in areas like business, math, and those looking for supply chain experience.

Bembry says this partnership benefits Robins just as much as the students.

"We can influence the curriculum for the students, not just a class. Things that Robins Air Force Base may need like specialized topics," she said.

"They can bring a lot of their own knowledge and experience to us so we can build that stronger workforce of the future," Adewunmi said.

So far, ten students have internships at Robins and four students have been hired to start their careers at the base.