IT Career Exploration | College of Information Sciences and Technology
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IT Career Exploration

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The IT Career Exploration program is an opportunity for College of IST students to explore their career options by shadowing a Penn State IT professional in their daily work before looking for or taking on an internship.

Selected students will spend several hours working with IT professionals on real-world projects, such as developing UI code, attending project meetings, and analyzing security threat data. Through the program, students will be able to make more informed decisions about their future curriculum and careers, gain professional workplace experience, practice transferrable skills, and meet professionals in the field to build their network.

The career shadow application available through Additional details are listed below:

Program Application

Applications for the IT Career Exploration program are available at Click "Jobs" and type "IT Career Exploration" in the keyword search. Applications are due by Friday, Nov. 15.

Students must be enrolled full time in the College of Information Sciences and Technology to be eligible to participate in the job shadowing. Preference will be given to first- and second-year students.

There are seven shadowing opportunities available. Students can apply to multiple opportunities, but each requires a separate application:

  • IT Career Exploration - UX Shadowing
  • IT Career Exploration - Database Shadowing
  • IT Career Exploration - Programming Shadowing
  • IT Career Exploration - Cloud / Kubernetes Shadowing
  • IT Career Exploration - IT Project Management Shadowing
  • IT Career Exploration - Security (Policy) Shadowing
  • IT Career Exploration - Security (Technical) Shadowing

Shadowing and reflective paper

Selected students will shadow a Penn State IT professional in their area of interest in January 2020. Shadowing may occur over a single day or be spread out over a few days.

Students will get an overview of Penn State IT’s organizational structure, tour the Technology Support Building, and get an introduction to the common tools and software used daily by IT professionals before working on individual projects with their career exploration host.

After shadowing, participants will provide the individual Penn State IT unit leaders with a reflective paper, which will include observations and serve to foster future conversations between the students and the IT professionals.

Panelists and Exploration Hosts

Brian Beiswenger
Brian Beiswenger leads a talented group of software engineers focused on systems and integrations that enable Penn State to be efficient and effective. Drawing from his past experience in manufacturing, Brian leverages a common-sense IT approach, pushing his team to innovate, evolve, and improve Penn State IT services.

Marc Burns
Marc Burns works in software engineering on the .net Development Team as a full-stack software engineer where his primary development platform is the WISA stack, using Visual Studio. Burns also focuses on the use of html 5, CSS, and the bootstrap CSS framework for improving the user experience for the University community.

Kyle Crain
Kyle Crain leads a team of IT professionals in Penn State IT’s Consulting and Architecture group, which focuses on cloud architecture, Office 365 security, information classification, enterprise initiatives, requests for purchase, security enclave design, and more. He’s also worked in Penn State’s Office of Information Security as an analyst, engineer, and the group’s information security architect.

Paul Crum
Paul Crum serves as a cloud solution architect on the Customer and Solution Engagement Team. He oversees a team of programmers who work closely with faculty and staff to help them better leverage cloud solutions to meet their goals and objectives while working directly with clients to condense their needs into well-written specifications for deployment. Additionally, Paul is helping improve Penn State IT’s Cloud Service Offering within Amazon Web Services to ensure users maximize their effectiveness while using the resource.

Dom DePasquale
Dom DePasquale is a DevOps architect for Penn State IT where he designs and implements DevOps-style workflows to securely push compiled code to a running server in short time frames. He has helped direct the migration to AWS Cloud Services and is an expert on microservices, Kubernetes, and containerization.

Chris Harm
As Penn State IT’s software infrastructure manager, Chris Harm oversees a highly technical group of software engineers tasked with creating and maintaining custom software for the University. Harm’s team is currently developing systems to support Identity Management and Starfish.

Pennart Klanwari
Pennart Klanwari is a Penn State senior majoring in Information Sciences and Technology and minoring in Security and Risk Analysis. She has previously supported Penn State IT as an IT project management intern on Starfish and a new project management website.

Joseph Meyer
Joseph Meyer develops user interfaces for Penn State Information Technology where he works primarily in Angular and Typescript. He’s helped create some of the most widely used interfaces at Penn State, including WebAccess, Account Management and IT Help Desk applications.

James Orr
Jay Orr is Penn State Software Engineering’s user experience manager. He oversees a group of designers and developers that creates web applications for the University community. Orr’s responsibilities include creating content for applications such as Account Management (including creating new accounts and updating passwords that have expired or been forgotten), and DIMC, an application used by the Service Desk to resolve issues with students’ accounts.

Ronda Reid
Ronda Reid is an IT project manager with Penn State IT's Project Management Office (PMO). The PMO works closely with IT leadership and key business stakeholders in the planning, resourcing, and execution of projects within Penn State IT and partnering units throughout the University. She is Project Management Professional certified and holds a master’s degree in education. She has more than two decades of experience in technology-related fields and currently teaches IST 110 for Penn State World Campus.

Scott Reid
Scott Reid has been a programmer/analyst at Penn State for the past 17 years and has experience with multiple types of databases and programming languages. Prior to joining Penn State, he spent 10 years as a programmer and engineer for several consulting firms working for the federal government in Washington D.C. He holds a degree in engineering and a master’s degree in business administration from Penn State.

Shawn Smith
As Penn State’s director of Software Engineering, Shawn Smith leads a team tasked with evolving and advancing software solutions for the Penn State community with an emphasis on system reliability, user satisfaction, and timely deliverability on budget. He has delivered production software solutions in eight programming languages, is an adjunct professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, contributes to The Apache Software Foundation, and is a technical editor for Manning Publishing.

Holly Swires
As the chief privacy officer and assistant chief information security officer at Penn State, Holly Swires oversees the protection of University information against cyberattacks and provides oversight for regulatory compliance efforts including federally mandated program requirements. She also leads the University’s development and implementation of privacy and data protection policies and oversees Penn State’s Risk Assessment Program.

Sherry Tirko
Sherry Tirko is an IT manager in Software Engineering who has also worked as part of Penn State’s Identity and Access Management group. Well-versed in Java, Sherry works on Penn State’s Central Person Registry and is now primarily working on a new mobile application, Penn State Go.

Jason Vinnedge
As an IT manager, Jason Vinnedge leads a team of three database specialists in Software Engineering. Vinnedge and his team help manage over 30 databases that fulfill informational needs across the University’s IT community and provide data analysis and visualization services.



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