Tech grad networks to success
The COVID-19 pandemic caused Luke Keaton’s last years of college to be far from
normal, but when it came time to land his dream internship, it fell into place
in the most traditional way – networking with a WVU Tech alumna.
Keaton was a self-described quiet and shy college student. A history and government major with a minor in political science, he stepped out of his comfort zone as an Orientation Leader and again when he ran for student government at WVU Tech. Keaton served as Student Government Association (SGA) president his senior year. He believes his time on Tech’s SGA provided him with invaluable skills in public speaking and leadership.
After graduating from Tech, Keaton attended law school at Liberty University School of Law in Lynchburg, Virginia. When it came time to search for an internship between his first and second years of law school, Keaton had never considered the public defender’s office. Then, a chance meeting at a Tech networking event with Beckley public defender and Tech grad Stacey Fragile provided an “instant connection” to a career path he was drawn to. “I liked their mission – to provide service – and I liked the client interaction part of the job,” says Keaton.
Fragile is a 1996 graduate of WVU Tech, earning her bachelor’s in Industrial Relations and Human Resources. She graduated from WVU School of Law in 2000 and currently serves as the Chief Public Defender in the Raleigh County Public Defender’s office. She is no stranger to giving back to her university, serving on Tech’s Golden Bear Alumni Association executive committee in various roles and remaining active in the Beckley community.
Because of his great experience interning for Fragile, Keaton returned to the public defender’s office as a third-year law student. He is gaining even more real-world court experience this summer. Third year law students can obtain practice certificates allowing them to appear before local courts with a supervising attorney. Keaton is learning the ropes and positioning himself for his future career path. After he completes law school in 2023, he plans to return to Beckley and pursue his passion for public defending.
Keaton’s internship turned into a win-win situation for Fragile – a way to stay connected with her alma mater while gaining a great intern for her office. Fragile’s advice to graduates making their way into the working world? “Network! Put yourself out there and make a great first impression!”