Inspiring Graduate: Nicolas Langenfeld, B.S. Computer Networking & Information Technology

‘This experience has taken my interests from a hobby to a job, to a professional career.’
December 27, 2023

Inspiring Graduate: Nicolas Langenfeld (’23)

After interning with Waupaca Foundry for three years, Nicolas Langenfeld was hired full time before graduation as an information security analyst.

His hands-on experiences in UW-Stout's computer networking and information technology program, his internships and campus involvement in the Collegiate Cyber Defense League allowed him to turn his hobby of tinkering with computers and technology into a professional career in information technology. 

Nicolas Langenfeld
Inspiring graduate Nicholas Langenfeld with Chancellor Katherine Frank at commencement / UW-Stout

With a 4.0 grade-point-average, Langenfeld earned his B.S. in computer networking and information technology from UW-Stout on Dec. 16, along with 526 graduates.

“Nicolas has consistently showcased exemplary academic performance and leadership at UW-Stout. His dedication to his studies is a testament to his commitment and passion for cybersecurity and computer networking,” said CNIT Program Director Holly Yuan.

Waupaca Foundry is the largest producer of gray, ductile and compacted graphite iron castings in the world. 

How well has UW-Stout prepared you to work in your field and why?

My Stout experience has had a profound impact on my life. This experience has taken my interests from a hobby to a job, to a professional career.

Stout prepared me for a career in IT in more ways than I could have ever hoped for. The hands-on experience I got in labs has allowed me to develop many technical skills that I can apply outside of the classroom. The industry certifications that I have had the opportunities to earn allow me to prove to employers that I have the experience they desire, and they also allow me to prove to myself that I can accomplish what I set my mind to. 

The professional development opportunities that Stout provides, both inside and outside of class, including my internship at Waupaca Foundry, have allowed me to develop into a working professional.

Nicolas Langenfeld
Nicholas Langenfeld was hired before graduation as an information security analyst with Waupaca Foundry / UW-Stout

My experience has not only given me the technical skills to be able to do my job, but it has also given me the soft skills to develop as a person and become more sociable.

What stands out about your UW-Stout experience?

The CNIT program at Stout has fantastic labs and learning environments created by the instructors.

When going into a highly technical field such as computer networking, having hands-on experience as an integral part of your education is very important. This is where Stout's polytechnic spirit shines through. 

Throughout my entire degree, I was fully immersed in hands-on learning in labs, and this experience was backed up by instructors that were passionate about the technologies they were teaching and encouraged learning. 

How did your involvement on campus impact your experience?

For the past year, I have been a member of the Collegiate Cyber Defense League, where I helped the team place first in the state of Wisconsin at last year's Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. As president of the student organization, I have been working with members to help them prepare for this year's competition that will be held in the spring semester. 

In 2022, I was a recipient of the Cooperative Education and Internship Student of the Year award given by the Career Services office. 

My involvement reinforced the confidence that I have in myself when it comes to technical, leadership and professional skills.

What challenges did you face in earning your degree and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I faced was the stress of completing projects adequately and the fear of failure. At the beginning of every semester, I would read the syllabus for my classes, and I would be intimidated by the big projects described. 

CCDC team in Chicago
Nicholas Langenfeld (right) with the CCDC team at regional competition, in Chicago, spring 2023. / Holly Yuan

Communication helped me overcome the stress and fear. If I was concerned about anything in my classes, I would talk to the instructor to get more details. My instructors were always happy to give more details, clarify questions and support me when I needed help. I was also often told that they appreciated the questions and feedback that I provided because they don't know what to fix for other students unless they get feedback. 

Communication is key to succeeding in college and in life because if you never ask a question, how can you expect to get an answer?

What are you most proud of as you finish your degree?

I am most proud of the work I did on projects in my high-level classes, including my capstone and independent study. These projects were a great way to gain experience implementing various technologies, and their success is something that I will never forget. 

I was involved in multiple independent research projects, including utilizing artificial intelligence techniques to develop a machine learning model to enhance safety within the manufacturing sector.

I am also very proud of my 4.0 GPA. College is hard; that is a fact. I worked very hard to learn and experience everything I could.

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