Working for ITaP’s TLT team ‘had a big positive effect on me’       

When she came to Purdue as a freshman, Miranda Mott knew that she wanted to study computer science, but she was fairly clueless on which track – programing, information systems, computational science – she wanted to pursue.

Not until she was hired as a student employee in ITaP’s Informatics group – dedicated to creating educational software and apps for use at Purdue and beyond – did Mott, now a software engineer for Garmin, find her calling.

“ITaP definitely helped me get to where I am today,” says Mott. “Having that experience on my resume helped me land an internship at Garmin the summer before my senior year, which led to a job after graduation.”

Mott’s experience working for ITaP’s Teaching and Learning Technologies division ­– which includes Informatics, ITaP Student Software Trainers, an educational technology consulting team and more – has been shared by many student employees and interns who’ve used the experience to launch rewarding careers.

For Prashast Vaidya that meant highlighting his experience as a student web developer working on ITaP’s Passport app to garner an interview at Facebook, where he is now interning.  But Vaidya says what he learned working for ITaP went far beyond technical skills.

“Working on a team had a big positive effect on me,” says Vaidya. “Coordinating with my mentor about my work and my progress and getting feedback from other employees and interns was a steep learning curve. But sitting in a room with all the interns from different parts of the world helped me build confidence while talking to them and sharing my ideas and listening to their solutions.”

For Samantha Stark, her preference for the people side of information technology became apparent as a student working for ITaP’s Student Software Trainers team, which provides training and consultations to faculty, staff and students about a host of different software, like Adobe’s Photoshop and InDesign.

“I picked up a lot of knowledge by working with the educational technologists,” says Stark. “At a basic level, they taught me how to deliver training and develop a training plan. I learned about technical writing and using authoring tools like Captivate.”

But more broadly, Stark says her time as a student software trainer helped her realize her gift for training and working with people – a skillset she now uses as the manager of curriculum and training at Strata Decision Technology, a healthcare IT vendor that has grown from 60 employees when she joined in 2010 to more than 200 today.

“I’ve spent the last four years defining the training experience for our staff and clients,” Stark says. “This has included creating training programs for our staff such as new team member onboarding, new consultant training, new release training as well as educating and coaching our consultants to deliver world-class training to our clients through our train-the-trainer program.”

Stark says her current job is a reflection of what she learned at ITaP, an experience she said she couldn’t have had in the classroom alone.

“I learned that what I enjoy about coaching is having empathy for others and helping them overcome a challenge,” Stark says. “And in a day and age where it is easy to sit behind a computer screen and instant message someone, one of the most important lessons I learned is how invaluable it is working with folks face to face as much as possible in order to build a relationship and communicate efficiently.”

Visit this ITaP student employment site for information on how to find jobs with ITaP.

Writer: Dave Stephens, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue, 765-496-7998, steph103@purdue.edu

Last updated: June 30, 2017

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