BS in Computer Science and Engineering
Why did you choose to major in CS?
I have long been interested in computers & IT, and CS was one of the few areas/hobbies that was able to keep my interest peaked over the years. I attribute this primarily to the dynamic nature of IT, and the ever-changing landscape of the Computer Science. CS and IT nearly dictate where the future will end up, so the opportunities are out there to pursue what you want to achieve, if you have the drive to do so. Also, I'm a geek at heart. It made sense.
How did you select your degree program in CS?
I loved the balance of having a Computer Science focused program with the Engineering background. For me, it was the perfect balance of theory, software, hardware, and the general engineering background. This combination has served me well in my career.
What was particularly good for you in studying CS at Bucknell?
The opportunity to build close relationships with the CS professors was phenomenal. They were huge supporters of showing us the doors and allowing us to walk through them, and they were always available for questions, guidance, and general discussions around life (academic, career, and more). The building of these relationships provided me with a solid foundation to do the same in the corporate world and layers of management. Also, the flexibility to dive into specific topics of interest allowed me to further pursue my passions and enhance my overall educational experience.
Why did you choose Bucknell?
No single reason drove me to Bucknell. It was a solid combination of the chance to work more closely with professors, smaller class sizes encouraging strong interaction with peers, the beautiful campus, the prestigious reputation, amazing facilities, and the list goes on and on.
What did you most like about Bucknell?
It's size. Bucknell's size feeds many of my favorite aspects of my college experience, including the close relationships with my peers and professors, flexibility to pursue my passions, opportunities to be heavily involved in a large array of clubs and teams, and so on. It all comes back to Bucknell's size allowing it to feel more like a family than a university.
What kind of job or graduate program you are on today?
I am an IT Manager for a Fortune 5 company. I graduated Bucknell and immediately went into an IT leadership training program at GE.
How did the education you received at Bucknell prepare you for your professional career?
Bucknell prepared me to build and maintain relationships with individuals across a variety of backgrounds and interests. This is a necessity in the corporate world, because a lot of what I do is work with teams across multiple business functions (finance, supply chain, etc.), across multiple continents, and across varying levels of management (from peers and developers to CIOs and Presidents.) The ability to communicate with everyone regardless of their role is critical to success in the business world. The Bucknell curriculum itself prepared me with the confidence to take on any task, and a large part of my role is to dive into areas that I have had no experience in and come out leading and delivering in the area. The ability to teach myself how to succeed in any situation, and my continuing thirst for knowledge, can both be attributed largely to my Bucknell education.
Advice for incoming students
Never stop learning. Your career is fueled by your thirst for knowledge. When that thirst runs dry, your career will stall. Don't assume that the only available opportunities are the ones that are presented to you. Sometimes the best doors are opened by your own efforts. No matter what you're doing for your specific role, find a way to continue to pursue your passions. You will be amazed at the effect this has on your energy level, and at how many people notice your initiative.
In my 21 months with GE to date, I've worked on and deployed a vast array of projects. Whether or not the ones below are "cool" is up for debate.
In my first 6 month rotation, I had several responsibilities around rolling out GE Security's eCommerce tool, including: designing and writing the script to ensure nightly updates from the backend ERP with the front-end ERP that feeds the website, participating in the roll-out of the portal itself, and developing the email confirmations for every online sales order that is processed through the new portal. Also during this period, I was responsible for deploying encryption software to all of our critical laptops in GE Security (approx. 1200 laptops globally) to ensure that all critical company data was encrypted and secure.
During my second rotation, I was responsible for improving the performance and stability of GE Security's Oracle environment. This included establishing change control procedures, reviewing and administering all concurrent requests, participating in the Oracle DB 10g roll-out (the second largest 10g environment in the world, next to Oracle's own environment), developing performance monitoring and load testing scripts, and all around Oracle support.
My third rotation had me in the role of IT Sarbanes-Oxley Controller for GE Equipment Services, which gave me the responsibility of ensuring that all IT operations and processes were in compliance with federal law. I also had more flexibility to pursue passions of mine, open source research in GE and IMLP recruitment. Around open source, I've been a part of the global open source initiative to research how open source can be leveraged across GE, with a current focus on replacing Microsoft Office with an open source alternative. For recruitment, I've participated heavily in identifying key talent to ensure continued success of the IMLP program, including coordinating GE's presence at last fall's Bucknell career expo.
My current, and final, rotation has me in the IT lead role for several finance projects, and helping out with the largest current project in GE Sensing that touches every area of the business.