Adult Student Continues Succeeding In Workplace Thanks To Formal Education

Carrie Perez was an adult student who has been in the information technology field for about 16 years. Carrie is currently employed at St. Luke's University Health Network in Bethlehem, PA as a senior applications analyst and has been offered a job with Siemens in Harrisburg, PA as an ancillary applications systems analyst.

When she was let go from her job in 2011, Carrie decided to go back to school. She wanted a school that had a reputable technology program, and since Penn State's Information Sciences and Technology (IST) program is recognized nationwide, she felt that this was the perfect choice.

During her time here at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Carrie used multiple outlets and resources provided and recommended for adult students. She attended career fairs that Career Services hosts for all students and which are extremely beneficial for our adult students.

"I attended an IST career fair. I think it was called Future Forum. I've actually been to University Park a few times for a few different fairs. Very impressive turnouts! Penn State seems to really bring out the companies that tech graduates want to work for. In addition, I've had IST faculty members Frouke DeQuillettes and Wei-Fan Chen both write me recommendation letters. I have also used the IST Simplicity site — they actually caught a small error in my résumé."

These career fairs aided in securing her positions within the IST field. In Ms. Perez's positions at both the Health Network and Siemens, she supports a huge array of medical software applications.

"I always describe it this way — there is no Microsoft Windows that runs all the various departments in a hospital and there are literally hundreds of different applications for all the various departments, all from different vendors, and they all have to securely communicate with each other. It's a rather challenging environment. Another element of my job is in researching and establishing recommendations on software and upgrades."

After graduating from Penn State Wilkes-Barre in May 2013 with an A.S. in IST, Ms.Perez really credited her success to her Penn State degree.

"Professionally, I feel that I had gone as far as I could without a college degree, and my career has really soared since Penn State made its appearance on my résumé. I've been to Redmond, WA to interview with Microsoft and have had interviews with many impressive organizations, and I attribute it all to Penn State. I simply would not have been afforded these opportunities without Penn State."

Even a year after graduating, Ms. Perez cannot thank her teachers, and the campus as a whole, enough. Her teachers were not only there to support her academically, but also there in times of need.

"In September of 2012, my mother fell ill, very ill actually, and I was truly on the brink of dropping out of Penn State. My adviser and instructor Frouke DeQuillettes really guided me through a difficult time and encouraged me to stay in school. I am certain that without her guidance, I would have dropped out. Furthermore, I am sure that I would not have been exposed to the amazing opportunities that I have been."

Ms. Perez explains how Penn State has an exceptional IST program and faculty that prepared her well for her future in the IST field.

"I did come to Penn State with a strong foundation of skills, but I do have to say that the course content and general instruction were definitely relevant and useful out in the real world. On a daily basis I use knowledge learned from Penn State. I am so impressed with this! As I said, I had about 14 years of IT experience prior to Penn State and to be honest, I guess I was somewhat arrogant in thinking that there would be little I would benefit from. Boy, was I wrong! I was never more pleased to be mistaken. The content covered in the core IST classes is fresh, exciting, and above all, relevant. The instructors are pleasant, kind, and always make themselves available for any issues you may be struggling with."