ABINGTON, Pa. — When Amy Pertuset enrolled at Penn State Abington, she was fresh out of high school with a year's worth of college courses and a respected technology program to her credit. Now, as she prepares to graduate, she reflects on the value of study abroad, an internship, and an active life on campus.
Amy, an information sciences and technology (IST) major, talked about the program's absorbing academic component recently while her team restlessly waited to present a project to outside tech experts.
"The IST major is very immersive and applies new technologies so we are learning what is current in industry," she said. "We work on team projects, which gives a great representation of what it's like out in the world."
"The IST major is very immersive and applies new technologies so we are learning what is current in industry."
-- Amy Pertuset, senior IST major, Penn State Abington
Amy supplemented her coursework by earning two technical certifications, Cisco Networking Associate and Linux Administrator, and an internship at a software development and networking firm. It provided her with extensive client interaction, fitting well with her goal of finding a position in consulting.
"I worked on the hardware side for desktop and server systems, virus removal, and remote support for clients with issues connecting on their network, ensuring their systems are secure," she said.
Amy added another layer to her academic experience with study abroad. She flew to China with 12 Abington students and faculty for a course with a required international travel component. After touring Beijing, they traveled several hours south for a weeklong stay in Shijiazhuang.
"We worked with the students at Hebei University to set up a network simulation," she said. "It opened my eyes to a different culture and made me realize that the world is even bigger than it seems."
Back on campus, the Abington admissions office selected her for the Lion Ambassador corps. These students are entrusted to represent the campus at programs for prospective students and dignitaries. She helps out with the campus Community Outreach Workers, too.
The Eastern Center for Arts and Technology in nearby Willow Grove invited Amy to serve on its Occupational Advisory Committee, which establishes curriculum, performance standards and recommends purchases. She completed Eastern's computer network administration program as part of her high school curriculum.
Amy said through high school, college, and beyond the inevitable spotlight on women in technology hasn't proved to be a distraction or concern for her.
"I felt as though my gender never dictated how my projects worked or how I interacted with my teammates and co-workers," she said. "I had plenty of opportunities to showcase my technical knowledge and skills to excel."
"I had plenty of opportunities to show case my technical knowledge and skills to excel."
-- Amy Pertuset