Benjamin Polstra from Noblesville, Indiana, completed a summer co-op at GEICO in Chevy Chase, Maryland, that turned into a fulltime job. Polstra, who will graduate in sping 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in information technology, worked as a GEICO summer intern.
Polstra was responsible for a significant information technology (IT) business project—bigger than any project he had ever worked on before, and to complete it, he had to learn different tools and concepts along the way. He used his information technology skills on individual assignments and team projects, attended meetings and gave presentations. He was able to reach out to and receive mentoring from team members and members of the IT management team. By the end of the summer, Polstra felt he had become a better developer with the increased confidence that came from handling a project of that size. He also learned how an insurance company runs and how they practice customer service.
He says that taking courses that taught the fundamental and advanced level of object-oriented programming, such as Java or C#, was valuable. The courses he took that teach client and server programming were necessary as well. The software design, principles and patterns, organizational behavior and apps development practices courses all were greatly helpful in his summer responsibilities, and taking on a leadership role gave him valuable experience in how to work with a team. He also learned that no matter where you work, asking a lot of questions is a must-have skill.
Polstra believes his degree will open doors to many opportunities. The coursework associated with it has prepared the fundamental bedrock, which he can use to demonstrate his knowledge of the IT field, and to work confidently with new concepts and ideas. He says that GEICO is the manifestation of how he’s been preparing himself; it has been changing, abandoning old traditions and embracing new ideas. The company has expanded its IT department rapidly to enable their growth spurt. That’s how he sees himself—growing rapidly to become not only a better IT person, but a more accomplished software developer.
Polstra offers the following advice for other students. “Don’t just work hard; play with what you like to do. If you are majoring in photography, play around with a camera.If computer science is your major, play around with a computer. Share with your friends and find mentors who can help you grow. You shouldn’t be discouraged by a challenge. Just try hard, and when you are successful, you will end up enjoying your success a lot more. Don’t think about grades so much because you will already excel at what you do, if you enjoy whatever you are doing.”
On co-op at Annex Business Media in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada, Curtis Martin applied his design and imaging technology training and enjoyed a number of new experiences that helped him build a professional portfolio to share with potential employers. More
Benjamin Polstra, an information technology major from Noblesville, Indiana, spent the summer on co-op at GEICO in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He used his information technology skills to work on business projects and other assignments, both individually and as a part of a team, and was pleased to discover that he and GEICO have something in common—both are interested in casting aside old traditions and embracing new ideas. He was offered and has accepted a full-time job at GEICO and will be starting work there as part of their Technology Development Program.
Ruth Carroll from Queens, New York, is a design and imaging technology major working her co-op at VaynerMedia, a social media/digital advertising agency in New York, New York. In her position as a studio intern, she works with the studio production team assisting with video shooting of advertising footage, transcribing dialogue and editing videos with Adobe Premiere.
La Shea Murray from Feasterville, Pennsylvania is a design and imaging technology major working her co-op at RMS Graphics in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. In her position as a graphic design technician intern, she works with the art director to make, modify and produce designs for various commercial printed materials using Adobe software, and assists with putting together custom fulfillment kits.
Samantha Abert, a design and imaging technology major from Emmaus, Pennsylvania, is a graphic production intern at Crayloa, LLC, in Easton, Pennsylvania. She is part of a creative team that focuses on the development and use of creative tools like crayons, pencils, markers and clay. Part of her job is to research craft ideas and create artwork with Crayola products that the company could use on social media as examples of what consumers can make with those products. She also created concept sketches for colored pencils packaging.
Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf is honoring deaf and hard-of-hearing graduates who will continue on to earn doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Four RIT/NTID students were enrolled in the Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate program— in partnership with University of Rochester and funded by a grant from the National Institute for General Medical Science—that is helping to fill the gap that exists when it comes to deaf and hard-of-hearing students earning doctoral degrees in science disciplines.
Up to three graduate students are selected each year for entry into the Bridges program. Most of their tuition is paid, and they also earn experience—and a paycheck—working in laboratories at RIT and UR. Throughout the program, they meet regularly with mentors who help prepare them for the academic rigors of earning a doctorate, attend at least two professional conferences and complete three research rotations at UR laboratories.
“We are proud of the accomplishments of these students, who are advancing toward their doctoral degrees and making meaningful contributions to scholarly research,” said Dr. Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “They are role models for deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduate students interested in STEM disciplines.”
The students being honored through the Bridges to the Doctorate program:
• Lorne Farovitch (Vancouver, Wash.), graduated with a master’s degree in environmental science and will attend University of Rochester Medical Center to earn a Ph.D. in translational biomedical science.
• Madeline Beach (Aurora, Ill.), graduated with a master’s degree in applied statistics and will attend Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to earn a Ph.D. in biostatistics.
• Jessica Contreras (Eagle River, Alaska), graduated with a master’s degree in experimental psychology and will attend the University of Connecticut to earn a Ph.D. in developmental psychology.
• Gloria Wink (Rochester, N.Y.) graduated with a master’s degree in environmental science and will attend University of Rochester Medical Center to earn a Ph.D. in epidemiology.
Other RIT/NTID graduates who are continuing on to earn advanced degrees:
• Natalie Snyder (Rockville, Md.) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science, with minors in exercise science and psychology, and will attend University of Maryland Eastern Shore to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
• Courtney Kellogg (Lake Waukomis, Mo.) graduated with a master’s degree in chemistry and will attend University of Rochester Medical Center to earn a Ph.D. in Pathways of Human Disease.
For more information about the Bridges to the Doctorate program, go to http://deafscientists.com/
Marlet Mancera’s co-op experience as a corporate accounting intern at Caterpiller taught her many things among which are that employers value excellence, commitment and teamwork. Her RIT courses helped her develop skills in Microsoft Office, Excel and other software related to her business and accounting interests. She is sure that her business administrations degree and accounting training will guide her to a successful future.
Name: Christopher Brown
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
A.O.S., Computer Integrated Machining Technology, 2016
Year of graduation
Place of employment
Place of employment Cyromech, Syracuse, New York
Computer numeric control (CNC) operator
Some of my responsibilities were to use blueprints to create precision products on the CNC machine. I set controls; inspected machines; and scheduled maintenance and repair to ensure operation, quality standards and correct specifications.
How my career relates to my degree from RIT/NTID
I learned much about blueprints, following directions, working on several products at once and how to use a variety of other machines: HASS lathe, manual lathe and mill and turning machines. My co-op gave me relevant work experience and helped me develop my knowledge and skills. At RIT/NTID, I learned time management, assertiveness, persistence and to work with deadlines. These skills helped me to succeed on co-op and will help me succeed in life as well. I appreciate the experience I got on the CNC mill machine because that was really valuable on my co-op. And, I have accepted a full-time job with Cryomech for after graduation.
Be responsible, be prepared, be assertive, be persistent and don’t give up. Fight for what you believe in and don’t let anything or anyone get you down. Maintain a positive attitude and stay motivated. Stay safe and avoid risky behavior. Most of all, grab your opportunity.
Jasmine Zambrano Oregel’s packaging science major will make it possible for her to work almost anywhere in the world. More