The faculty and staff genuinely want to see you succeed. They demonstrate that by simply being available … [and] these connections are incredibly rich and provide the student with a dedicated time to not only chat about coursework and career paths, but they are also a space of candor to speak about wellbeing and life and identity.”
I decided to enroll in the College of IST because I heard the story about my dad’s coworker’s son — an alumnus in the college — landing a job at Boeing right after he graduated. This piqued my interest, and I connected with him to learn more. I came out of that conversation finding out that IST’s programs have the elements I seek that will prepare me for the career I want.
I have been selected to participate in two IST-sponsored trips and one company-sponsored trip. In the spring of 2019, I went with seven other first-year students on the IST Alternative Spring Break to Austin, Texas, a U.S. tech hub. We toured Google, Dell, Indeed, a cybersecurity startup and an IT services company. That fall, I was one of 16 female IST students selected to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing—the world’s largest gathering of women technologists—in Orlando, Florida. There, I was able to meet with companies from the entertainment and media industry that I’m most interested in. Nintendo, Riot, Ubisoft, DreamWorks and Pixar were companies that I learned were looking for developers! I also participated in PPG Primers Week at their headquarters in Pittsburgh in the summer of 2019. I was one of 70 first-year students across the U.S. chosen to attend a weeklong deep dive at their company, which included tours of plants, research centers and offices as well as networking events with staff.
Object-Oriented Design and Software Applications definitely packed a punch. Not only did we learn to implement various data structures in Java, but we also learned software engineering principles, the software development lifecycle, and became proficient at git/GitHub. And, my instructor, Daniel Welch, held office hours from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. to help every single student that showed up. I deeply appreciated his dedication to help and his kindness to his students.
I have wanted to be a software developer since I was 16 years old. I intend to continue down that path. I’m generally very open to any industry but would love to chart my way into development for entertainment and media companies. And it’s helpful to know that, with my degree, if I ever get tired of the technical skill-based jobs that I could switch to a more high-level tech role, like a scrum master, project manager, or product designer. I’m open to changes and redirections guided by self-discovery and growth.
The faculty and staff who genuinely want to see you succeed. They demonstrate that by simply being available—through instructor office hours and appointments with staff like academic advisers and career coaches. These connections are incredibly rich and provide the student with a dedicated time to not only chat about coursework and career paths, but they are also a space of candor to speak about wellbeing and life and identity.
I’ve been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I’ve gone to therapy and took antidepressants for several months. I say this because I want my story to convey the truth that seasons of adversity will arise. When they did for me, it required me to assess, act on what I really needed, and adapt to what provokes a mental health crisis. I relied on trusted advisers to help guide my path through these seasons; I have taken a gap semester and have had semesters where I was a part-time student. I made these decisions that were best for me based on my personal circumstances, and to this day I continue to navigate life with a mindfulness of my mental health. I want other students who may be suffering in silence to know they are not alone and provide them with some resources—including Crisis Services for Penn State Students and Centre Helps (the local call center for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) — if they are in a moment of crisis. Asking for help is one of the strongest things you can do.
Last updated November 2022