2014 Shareholder Employment and Development College Support Program: Preston Lyons

78081405731301PrestonLyons.jpgMeet Preston Lyons, an intern with SAVA, in Herndon, VA, working this summer as a project coordinator. We had a conversation about leaving college with the unknown ahead, some of the challenges he’s met along the way, and how he’s using his criminal justice degree at SAVA.

Preston graduated this spring from the University of Nevada Reno with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.  His parents, William and Donna Lyons, raised him in Dayton, Nevada, and his maternal grandparents, Homer and Norma Mills, are from Kotzebue.

Employing shareholders is a central goal of NANA. Its summer internship program is for NANA shareholders, spouses and their descendants.

SAVA, a NANA company, provides enterprise information technology, program management, and mission support solutions to the federal government—focusing on the Department of Defense, law enforcement, and intelligence communities.

“I initially went to school to be an engineer,” Preston says about getting his undergrad degree. He didn’t decide right away on his major, but floated around for a little bit. “I figured a criminal justice degree is really broad, and there are so many different fields that it encompasses, plus it would be a really good major to get: it’s pretty relevant. And I just thought it would be a really good degree to have, especially in this day and age.”  Criminal justice degrees can be used anywhere from forensics, to law enforcement, to government. “I mean there’s really no limit to what you can do with a criminal justice degree,” he said.

The hard part about college for him was leaving. “My biggest fear was figuring out what I was going to do after I graduated.” To take that step from school out into ‘the real world’, into the big unknown, is a big deal. “Once you’re out there on your own, you just have to figure it out, so I think that was the scariest thing. All that freedom coming at you all at once,” he said.

NANA’s internship turned out to be a big help for him professionally. “And then this came up, internship, and I’m really, really glad that I got it, because it’s given me vital experience, insight into what it’s like to actually work in a criminal justice related field, like government contracting,” Preston said.

Preston is doing a few different things at SAVA this summer. “Learning the different programs, like SharePoint, and then using that to upload different resumes. What I’m doing is kind of specialized or focused more on cyber-crime and giving the background on that, and different ways to combat cyber-crime. At the end of the paper, you offer what SAVA does, which is a lot of IT counter intelligence. So it requires a lot of research.”

The great benefit of working at SAVA has been the people around him, mentoring and guiding his internship. They have been helping him develop industry standard skills in a very positive way. “I’m here, fresh out of college, and I don’t know anything. Some people have been in this industry for years, so it’s an amazing, amazing opportunity to work with a great bunch of people here, really friendly,” said Preston about his SAVA crew.

His advice on making the leap from school to work: “From my own experience I would say get more involved. That’s one thing I didn’t do. I didn’t get involved in any of the clubs or anything on campus. I was kinda focused on school work, and I mean that’s a good thing to do, but it’s not the greatest thing. Because branching out, networking, that’s what gets people jobs, is networking, meeting the right people. So if I was going to say anything I’d say get more involved, meet people, see what’s out there.”

During school, Preston volunteered with Project Solutions and the Reno Bike Project. Project Solution helps homeless and low-income youth. Reno Bike Project is built around the belief that the bicycle is the world’s greatest, most utilized mode of transportation and that every individual, regardless of age, gender, race, or class has a right to afford, maintain, and enjoy one. 

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For more information: http://www.savasolutions.com/