Two local college students are getting hands-on experience at TMC Technologies Inc. as part of an internship program co-sponsored by the Fairmont-based information technology services company and the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium at West Virginia University.

Nathan Larew, a WVU student from Newburg, Preston County, and Bradley Rhoades, a Fairmont State University student from Fairview, are interning over the summer at TMC as part of the Aerospace Workforce Development Program.

Im really honored to have this opportunity,Larew said.So far, Ive been setting up hardware, writing code for various projects and helping the TMC Network Group with some of their work.

I want to thank TMC for allowing me to work on a variety of projects,he added.Im getting real job experience, additional knowledge and help in figuring out what part of the technical industry I best fit into.

Larew will graduate in the fall with a dual major in computer science and electrical engineering. He is a graduate of Preston High School and enjoys working on the family farm, riding motorcycles and helping people with their computer questions and problems.

Rhodes said the internship program is a great opportunity.

Im getting hands-on experience in software development, and its giving me a broader view of the software development process,he said.

Rhodes is majoring in computer science at FSU and is expected to graduate in December. He graduated from North Marion High School in 1992, then spent more than six years on active duty in the U.S. Army working as a signals interceptor/analyst.

The internship program is made possible by a $67,000 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and $25,000 in cost sharing from other partners. TMC is providing both mentoring and support for the students valued at $10,000.

Were very pleased to have TMC Technologies as a partner,said Majid Jaraiedi, director of the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, housed in WVU s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Education and experience for future space engineers is crucial not only for their success, but the success of companies they will eventually work for,said TMC President Wade Linger.Were fortunate to have both Bradley and Nathan with us for the summer.

NASA awarded 32 Space Grant consortia across the country, including West Virginia. Collectively, the recipients will be awarded $3 million this year for aerospace work force development to support the Vision for Space Exploration.

For more information, contact John Dahlia at (304) 368-1862 ext. 14, (304) 657-7095 (cell) or or Majid Jaraiedi at (304) 293-4099 ext. 3737 or .