Some University of Pittsburgh at Bradford students followed one of their professors into the world of work for an internship during the summer of 2021.
Their professor, Jeremy Callinan, is an independent information technology contractor and adjunct instructor at Pitt-Bradford in its computer information systems and technology class.
Earlier this year, Callinan’s client AR Trucking in Warren approached him about helping with updating software and its outdated payroll system.
“They were upgrading all of their information technology so that a new finance director could come in and understand it, and I was helping them through that process,” Callinan said. “They asked if I knew any Pitt-Bradford students who knew about Excel, Microsoft Office and IT stuff. I said, ‘Yeah, I know a whole bunch.’”
Callinan enlisted three students to work on the project who worked remotely for the most part throughout the summer with the occasional visit to meet with a client.
“It was pretty cool to use what we’ve been doing in class,” said Edem Agbemabiese, a senior from Williamsport. Students appreciated the chance to use their classroom learning in a real-life setting, and also felt they will be able to transfer what they learned over the summer back to the classroom.
Agbemabiese learned something else: He enjoyed the personal interaction with a client.
“Actually going there and being in person made it feel a lot more personal,” he said. Taylor Tyczka, a senior from Cowlesville, N.Y., echoed his comment. She made the trip from her home to Warren several times to meet with AR Trucking.
“It definitely adds to the work when you get to meet the client,” she said. “It’s something a lot of us haven’t been able to do in the last year.”
While the two students enjoyed working with their client in person, the bulk of the work they did for them was virtual, as well as weekly virtual meetings with Callinan about their projects. Since even small businesses are now taking advantage of using remote storage and software housed on remote server farms (also referred to as “the cloud”), tasks such as updating the company’s computers to a new version of Microsoft Windows could be handled from anywhere.
Tyczka said that classes she took before the internship that were especially helpful were Design and Management and Systems Analysis.
She said she used different diagrams and charts to break down the payroll project into steps and understand what was needed before the Pitt-Bradford team built a new system for the firm. Tyczka is spending her final semester on a capstone project involving database design and management. Since she lives in a rural area, she wants to make a mobile application to manage livestock and crops. Several local businesses from her home have begun calling her for help, she said, and she has thought about working for herself like Callinan does.
“More people are living and working in the gig economy,” Callinan said.
Craig Faris, a junior from Greensburg, also worked on the project with AR Trucking.