Mondi Employee Takes Leap, Fulfills Educational Goals at Southeast


Cape Girardeau native Cory Brethold enjoys a good challenge.

Being in the workforce while working towards a degree in technology management with an emphasis in telecommunication and computer networking fit the bill.

“I like to solve problems, and there are always problems in networking,” he said. “I enjoy finding new and different solutions to the issues that arise”

Cory says he fell into the field of telecommunications while searching for a new cell phone.

“I first became interested in networking when trying to find my wife and I new cell phones and having to compare costs, operating systems, and networks,” says Cory.

The decision to attend college was one that he had previously considered, but the choice was made when his wife, Southeast Academic Advisor Jessica Brethold, submitted an application on his behalf.

“He has always enjoyed learning but chose to enter the workforce full-time after graduating high school. Through our conversations, I realized he wanted to earn a college degree, he just didn’t know which path to take,” says Jessica.

At that time, Cory was working swing shifts at Mondi Group in Jackson, Missouri.

“He always talked about his love of technology and rebuilding his computer, so, one day in the middle of his night shift, I told him that I had submitted an admission application for him to begin classes in the spring of 2016,” Jessica said.

Cory continued working swing shifts and taking classes online for the first year and a half of his college career until he made the decision to attend classes on campus.

“I prefer to take in-person classes and would not have been able to juggle a commute to another university while also continuing to work at the house that my job requires, especially since I did continue to work full time as long as possible,” Cory said.  “Southeast was local, and I knew that I would want to be on campus for my major classes.”

During his time at Southeast, Cory was able to earn two levels of certification through Cisco as part of his coursework that will be useful to him moving forward.

He says training new employees and ensuring proper safety practices while maintaining job accuracy are demanding, but the flexibility allotted to him while in school has been invaluable.

“Being able to work part-time to allow flexibility to complete my degree has been one of the best parts of my job,” He said,

The busy nature of taking classes and working outside of school does not allow much time for other activities, but Cory says he and his wife have found ways to work them into their lives.

“We were able to squeeze in a trip to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons a few years ago between spring finals and the start of my summer classes,” he said.

When time does permit, he enjoys traveling, hiking and playing video games.

Cory says that one valuable piece of advice that he would offer to future Southeast students is to remember that college is a collaborative effort.

“College is more than just learning in a classroom, it’s also about learning how to work with other people and solving problems together,” he said.

In the future, Cory says he would like to work full-time in the networking field and earn additional certifications.

“I would also like to be able to manage multiple networks within many different corporate and private entities,” he said.

As for future educational goals, Cory says that’s a possibility, but it will be “sometime in the future.”