December 21, 2015 – Graduating college and finding a job is difficult, especially if you're the first in your family to do it. But one Shaw University graduating senior is doing just that.
Lionel Morgan grew up working on a farm, dreaming of being a mechanic. Recently, though, he landed a gig that he never thought he would have.
From tractors to tracked ROVs, he's now using his farm-grown work ethic in the field of computer science.
"What got me stuck in computer science is that I was really interested in doing web design," Morgan said. "Just like seeing those images come up on the screen, it just really interested me.”
Morgan didn't think of applying to Shaw University until his high school graduation party.
While his interest pulled him into the program, it was a passionate Shaw Chair of Computer and Information Science Lloyd Williams who encouraged him to become one of the school's most remarkable students.
“(Williams) definitely got me to stay here," Morgan said. "He said that, if I worked hard, that would pay off.”
Williams added, "I remember when (Morgan) first came to Shaw, and I look at him now and he has this amazing job and he’s about to graduate.”
As for that job: Fidelity Investments hired Morgan as a systems analyst at a salary that is substantially higher than the state median household income of $46,000.
Williams describes the position as unimaginable – a model for all future students.
For Morgan, a self-proclaimed small-town family man, it’s surreal.
“I’m a first-generation college student," Morgan said. "I wouldn’t say that it makes more of, like, pressure, but more of I have the vision to go and see not only for me, but also for my family."
Morgan and about a dozen other computer science majors at Shaw are set to graduate on May 10.
This story originally appeared on wral.com on December 21, 2015. Reporting by Mikaya Thurmond. Article link