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USU IT Student Employees Prepare For Careers in Technology World

Thursday, Dec. 06, 2012

Callee Christensen

USU IT student designer, Callee Christensen, works on designs for the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business website.

Shahriar Kabir and John Pope

USU IT Student programmer, Shahriar Kabir, is mentored and assisted by full-time IT programmer John Pope on USU IT programming project.

There are plenty of odd and irrelevant student jobs in a college town, but what about jobs that provide students with experience and mentoring to jump-start a post-graduation career with companies like Google, Oracle or Apple? Students working in Utah State University’s Information Technology department find that kind of college job experience.

In addition to a full-time staff of more than 70, USU IT also employs about 130 part-time students, including 9 student programmers and designers who assist in professional-level projects for USU organizations and departments.

“We place a lot of trust in our student employees to help with big programming and design projects for the university and its organizations,” said Kevin Reeve, USU IT enterprise architect. “The students really benefit from the resume-building experience.”

Mike Fotinakis, a USU computer science graduate, worked three years as a USU IT web developer/programmer analyst before he graduated in 2010 and was hired as a web developer for Google. Fotinakis said the experience he gained developing and maintaining websites, apps and computer systems for USU IT prepared him for work with a Fortune 500 company.

“I probably learned more from working at USU IT than through my actual major,” Fotinakis said. “The flexibility of the team and the project opportunities definitely helped me gain experience that was valuable when I graduated and came to work at Google.”

John Pope, USU IT programmer analyst, said he mentors other student employees, training them in the skills necessary to find a job in today’s competitive market.

“Our part-time student employees say the main benefit of working for USU IT is the real experience they’re getting in a field they’re interested in while they’re at school,” he said. “It’s great preparation for the real world.”

Callee Christensen, a senior in graphic design and photography, has worked as a part-time designer for USU IT since March 2012. She says her experience working with IT programmers on the Huntsman School of Business and other university and department websites has prepared her for design in the commercial world.

“IT entrusts us with responsibilities so we can learn and gain experience; I have the same responsibilities as the other full-time designers,” Christensen said. “Now, I get to my design classes and I know how to utilize design in the commercial world. I’m able to design better than I was before.”

For more information about USU IT and its student employees, contact Kevin Reeve,

Writer and Contact: Karlie Brand, IT Communications Assistant

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