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An Online Graduate’s Story of Applying Knowledge to Industry

Lonny Carter measures fabric on a desk. The fabric is black and white striped.
Lonny Carter works to create new, innovative products to solve problems and increase safety in jails, prisons and mental institutions across the country. She will graduate this December with a Master of Textiles degree completed entirely Online at NC State.

Lonny Carter, a product manager at Bob Barker Company, will graduate this December with a Master of Textiles degree completed entirely online at NC State.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in 2008 from the Wilson College of Textiles, continuing her education with NC State Online was a no brainer. 

“I had such a rewarding experience during undergrad that there was no other school I considered for a master’s program,” Carter says. 

Carter completed the program while also working full time as a product manager for inmate uniforms, clothing, and suicide prevention products. The Bob Barker Company, located in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, is the nation’s largest supplier of products for corrections and other facilities. 

“I am challenged to bring new, innovative products to this specialized industry that solve problems and increase safety in America’s jails, prisons and mental institutions,” she says. “The corrections industry requires an in-depth textile knowledge for safety and comfort, so I wanted to learn more about the fibers, fabric processing and nonwovens areas of textiles.” 

Since her undergraduate degree focused more on the apparel and marketing side of textiles, Carter needed to refresh her knowledge and update her skills within textile technology and the Master of Textiles program provided just that and more. 

“Completing the program after years in the industry has helped me to look at things in different, more creative ways. I was guilty, as we often are, of becoming routine in my work and going back to school has provided the challenge I needed,” says Carter. 

Carter admits that it was intimidating at first to think about what online education and using technology to complete her entire degree would be like — especially since it had been more than 10 years since completing her on-campus undergraduate degree.  

“After the first couple of weeks, it felt like I had never left school,” she says. “I also made sure to stay in constant communication with my professors, who were always responsive, with any questions or to clarify assignments and expectations.”

Carter doesn’t plan to stop here with her master’s degree. She will be continuing into the Doctor of Philosophy in Textile Technology Management at NC State. 

“Since beginning my career at Bob Barker, I have learned that there is a lack of research that has been published in the corrections industry, particularly in the area of textiles,” she says. “I would like to bring knowledge from inside correctional facilities to the world of academia and business professionals in hopes to connect this vulnerable population to the rest of the world.”

Are you interested in an online and distance education program at NC State? Visit for a complete listing of program, certificate and licensure opportunities.