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Student spotlight: Transfer student Austin Kerr found purpose, encouragement at his hometown college

"Austin Peay has all the good things that college is supposed to be. I feel comfortable enough on campus to socialize more than had been the norm for me. I was able to refine my personal goals and identify my purpose. The biggest help was having a multitude of education-nurturing and encouraging professors that helped me along the way." - Austin Kerr

Austin Kerr

(Posted on Friday, June 24, 2022)

This summer, recent Austin Peay State University graduate Austin Kerr hopes an internship at VK Integrated Systems in Clarksville will lead to a full-time job.

He’ll spend the summer working with embedded systems engineering and C programming on an ARM (advanced RISC machine) processor.

Kerr also hopes his work toward a master’s degree with a focus on cybersecurity will help during the internship.

“I’m going to be making software for the microcontrollers and programming those microcontrollers,” he said. “I feel like for something that’s going to be a government contract, making it safe and secure is going to be important.”

Kerr answered several of our questions before he embarked on his internship at VK Integrated Systems.

Why did you choose Austin Peay?

Originally, I attended a university out of state. I went for its aerospace program but while there I felt lost and could not grasp a sense of purpose for myself and my future. I decided to transfer back to my home of Clarksville, and while attending APSU, I was able to find a field that called to me. I think a large reason for being so responsive to computer science was largely due to the accessibility and positivity that shines from a lot of the professors in the department.

How has Austin Peay helped you with your career goals?

Austin Peay has all the good things that college is supposed to be. I feel comfortable enough on campus to socialize more than had been the norm for me. I was able to refine my personal goals and identify my purpose. The biggest help was having a multitude of education-nurturing and encouraging professors that helped me along the way. Some were professors I never took courses under, but they still helped me. The communication I had with my advisor (Dr. Alice Lin) could not have been any better, and she helped me figure out a lot of what I wanted to do with myself.

Austin Kerr

What has been your best experience at Austin Peay?

My experiences that speak to me the most is all the student-to-student interaction that I have had while at APSU, especially with those in the car club. Socializing was never something I was very fond of doing, but the campus environment makes it easy to foster new and strong relationships with your pupils. The members of the car club are a great group of people, and I couldn’t have asked for better friends.

How did you feel coming to Austin Peay as a transfer student?

Though my time as an undergraduate here was shorter than most due to being a transfer student, I am so happy I had the opportunity to finish my degree at Austin Peay. The experiences I had with faculty and staff, along with all the great students I met along the way encouraged me to seek further education at APSU.

Editor’s note: Edited the questions and answers for length and clarity.

Major: Computer science; transferred to Austin Peay in 2019.

Graduation: May 2022; now pursuing a master’s degree in computer science and quantitative methods with a concentration in information assurance and security (cybersecurity).

Hometown: Clarksville, Tennessee.

Campus involvement: APSU Car Club, Association of Computing Machinery, National Society of Leadership and Success.

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