2012 Computer Service Technician / Network Installer Graduate
IT Specialist at the Wheeler School in Providence, RI
I had gone to CCRI right out of High School with the intention of studying Criminal Justice.
I came to MTTI in a roundabout way. I always thought I wanted to be a police officer. I have a learning difference—I’m dyslexic. While I was supported in High School, I struggled at the Community College.
I left school and went to work as a Land Surveyor
The job was technical, numbers-based and physical. It was also very hands-on equipment-based.
An accident changed my life.
I was hit by a truck while working on the side of a road and was out of work for three years. During that time I had four shoulder surgeries. Eventually it was decided that my shoulder was partially disabled.
I had been a computer whiz my whole life, fixing computers since I was 10.
By 2010, I knew that I couldn't go back to work as a surveyor; the job was too physical. I figured working with computers was my next best career opportunity.
With no experience to put on a resume, I decided I needed a Certification.
I walked off the street and took the A+ Certification exam with no preparation and passed. Unfortunately, with no actual experience, I found I couldn’t get an interview.
A college program at another school was not for me.
I wanted the hands-on piece for technology without the traditional college courses.
I did an online search for computer & network training and MTTI came up.
Because I had already earned the A+ Certification, the Instructors, Boris and Ken, agreed to modify my program so that I could prep for the Network+ exam.
MTTI filled in the gaps in my skills and knowledge.
I was self-taught before I went to MTTI. The school had the tools I needed to know about and learn to use: cable testers, multi-meters, power supply meters, cable management and software.
MTTI excels in delivering hands-on training.
What you are taught in the classroom, you work on immediately following in the lab. You see examples of what you just learned in real time—from the whiteboard to the workbench.
The school’s job search services were very helpful.
Well before my internship was scheduled to begin, I had submitted about 100 different job applications.
I already knew that I wanted to work in education.
My classmates were getting interviews for jobs and internships at various corporate places, but I was looking for something different. I applied to every school in Rhode Island. I had two interviews; Karie at the Wheeler School gave me a chance.
From the first day I walked in for internship, I knew I wanted to work at the Wheeler School.
During internship I performed troubleshooting to resolve simple issues. I functioned as a Help Desk to support teachers and staff, the business office and alumni office. I set up new computers and performed troubleshooting for the network.
I continued to volunteer at the Wheeler School after internship.
I kept coming back, as if I were a full time employee. In September the (former) Headmaster worked to get me hired as an employee. “I can’t let you continue to volunteer your time and I can’t let you leave. Everyone likes you too much.” For the next year, they arranged for me to be a ‘paid intern’ until they were able to hire me into a permanent position.
I rolled out every single Chromecast system on the campus.
Installing the wireless access device on over 100 systems (including both projectors and TVs) was a big project that has affected almost the entire population at the school. I also helped deploy over 110 Aps (access points). We have four networks that accommodate teachers, students and guests.
When I came to Wheeler, video was the ‘new thing’.
The Wheeler School has its own radio station; we partner with WRNI (Rhode Island Public Radio) and Latino Public Radio. I aided in transitioning the old audio only system to a multi-cast platform—video, including livestreaming and recoding of events—all played back from the website. We archive and make accessible to the public videos and radio broadcasts of basketball and baseball games, plays and musicals.
I also built a new video editing computer.
Students work on projects in the new studio, using this video editing computer. Currently they are enjoying a new green screen space. I support the technology and sometimes help with the video productions.
I created the Digital Signage System.
I designed the initial digital signage system that utilized a custom built ‘mini-computer’ to run on each monitor. Administrators, like the Librarian, help provide some content to update the signage every week and I manage the technology.
MTTI’s cross-training in basic cabling skills proved to be extremely helpful on the job.
Learning cabling was a huge plus. I am the only employee at the school who can do that.
All our security cameras and access points use the cables that I have built.
I have the confidence in my ability to build any cables. That is a skill that really stands out.
That I can do it in-house is very powerful.
I can take pride in that—that’s my cable—that’s my project.
I’m honored to review the Computer & Networking program as an Advisory Committee member.
I appreciate that the school updates the curriculum according to PAC Members’ recommendations.
My experience at Wheeler has helped me advise MTTI as they strive to stay current in the educational market.
The program now includes devices that were not in the curriculum when I was a student in 2011-12, for example, iPads, tablets and Chromebooks. I like helping make the program even better—helping students see and hear about what they will encounter in the real world.