SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College information technology student Kendrick Steele has been named the 2023 William D. Weston Outstanding Student of the Year by the North Carolina Work-Based Learning Association, marking the fourth time in five years that a Rowan-Cabarrus student has won the state award.

During the Fall 2022 semester, Steele interned with Lutheran Services Carolinas, a faith-based health and human services organization that assists senior citizens in North Carolina and children and families in North and South Carolina. There, he kept the computer network operating efficiently and was a key contributor to a network expansion project that provided senior residents their own access points in their rooms in Lutheran Services facilities. Soon after his internship, he was offered a permanent position at Lutheran Services Carolinas and recently was promoted to the role of IT security technician.

Steele graduated from Rowan-Cabarrus in May 2023 with associate degrees in general education, networking and visualization, and cybersecurity, along with eight certifications and two diplomas. He also was honored with the TRIO Outstanding Leader Award for exceptional leadership and service to the TRIO Student Advisory Board.

The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Work-Based Learning program integrates classroom learning with real-world work experience to give students a chance to perform relevant duties in fields of interest while also earning academic credits.

As the state winner of the Weston Award, Steele will receive a plaque and a cash award.

“Kendrick Steele is an inspiration to us all and a remarkable example of the success students can achieve when they are able to gain hands-on work experience,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Work-based learning internships allow students to build their confidence, explore careers, and increase their marketability after graduation.

For more information about the Work-Based Learning program, visit For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).