When senior Anthony Luigi Reda got an internship with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), he never expected his job would include cyber security.
But from the time the information technology (IT) major started working last April, he was putting those skills to use.
“My first month there I actually saved them from a pretty nasty virus,” he says. “I was able to identify it, contain it and remove it before it wrecked their infrastructure.”
This was not a typical internship experience, he explains.
“They actually lost their main IT staff, so when I got there, I became the IT staff,” Reda said. “I got a lot of experience dealing with IT issues hands-on as an administrator, which I never would have dreamed of doing as an intern.”
His Towson University classes had given him the knowledge he needed to deal with the breach.
“In a system admin class, we talked about the specific virus I ran into on the internship,” Reda said.
NLS’s Maryland branch, The Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH), lends braille, audio and large type books to legally blind, visually limited, physically limited and reading disabled people. Many of its books are provided by the Library of Congress and others are recorded there, Reda said.
While serving as an IT tech for LBPH, Reda’s tasks included protecting the organization’s infrastructure from viruses, fixing problems with its programs and training the new IT staff member who was hired in August.
But he considers his opportunity to help NLS just as valuable as the experience he gained
“They were great people and I got there at a time when they really needed someone to get them out of the hole they were in,” he said.
Reda has been interested in IT from a young age, following in the footsteps of his father.
“Because he was a programmer his entire life, I was around computers as a child, so I got experience with them growing up,” he said.
In the future, he intends to work with accessibility issues and may attend graduate school.
For other students hoping to go into IT, Reda’s advice is to also pursue an internship—he found the NLS internship through one of his classes, which toured the Maryland State Library building.
“You can read about this stuff all you want, but when you actually encounter it, it’s a completely different experience and it really boosts your confidence,” he said.