Device Support interns

Technology is engraved in the lives of college students and integrated throughout University of Wisconsin Oshkosh classrooms.

Although students have electronics at their fingertips, the knowledge to fix something when it “breaks”  isn’t always in their power.

That’s where the crew of UW Oshkosh device support team comes in. The intern trio made up of Kristina Frank, Ibrahim Guede and Liz Bannenberg helps keep technology running smoothly throughout campus. Frank, Guede and Bannenberg work within device support in Academic Computing Services (ACS) on campus.

“All of us interns, we’re like a team. We work individually but we’re always connected to each other in one way or another, always helping each other out with jobs,” Frank said. “We’re coworkers but on the other side of the coin we’re all friends.”

Surprisingly, half of the device support interns don’t have computer science or information systems majors; there are six device support interns total. Even without related majors, though, all are still able to provide the technical skills and customer service that is needed for the job, each utilizing the opportunity for the internship regardless of their majors.

“It is very typical in our internship to not have computer science majors or students with tech backgrounds. When we hire, we really focus on students who have great customer service and who are really geared toward wanting to actually learn the technology,” said Ricky Johnson, who is a full time device support staff member.

Johnson himself went through the device support internship at UWO and graduated with a College of Education degree. Now a full time staff member since 2007, he appreciates the help of his interns and is proud of all their accomplishments.

“What I find that I am the most impressed about the students is how much they show me they can learn every year. How much they show me they can do things on their own and not to have to hand hold them the whole way. They take the initiative and do a great job,” Johnson said.

Besides just completing their job duties, the device support interns enjoy what they do. Bannenberg has been working with ACS the longest, starting at the help desk in fall 2009. Now being an intern for the past two years, she is graduating with a 3-D studio art major.

“I love the people and the atmosphere!” Bannenberg said. “In high school, I worked with computers, word processing and gaming. When I first worked here at the help desk, I gained more interest and wanted to get more involved.”

Currently, Bannenberg plays a huge role in maintaining the surplus equipment needs. When her former supervisor left the position, she had to step up to the plate and work on reconstructing the surplus system.

“Liz’s ability with the surplus project is great. It was kind of a mess before and what she’s been trying to do is so much easier for faculty and staff to get rid of some of what they no longer need and not having to deal with all the hoops to jump through to get rid of it,” Johnson said.

Throughout working at the ACS, Bannenberg has gained more interest in computers, which is exactly the case with Guede as well. Even with being a political science major, he said his enthusiasm for the technology has been around since his family got their first computer.

“You need computers in everyday life, so while it doesn’t directly connect to political science, it is inevitable that you’re going to have to use a computer, especially this day in age. It is great to have some sort of background knowledge in it and experience doesn’t hurt,” Guede said.

With computers, devices and technology so common, the expectation for them to work increases causing information technology to get the brunt of most frustrations. Johnson said Guede is able to focus on the customer service piece of the job and handle it well.

“Ibrahim is an example of someone who just has a good work ethic. He is very well spoken and is very polite and courteous. It’s what he focuses on and tries to make sure he is as much as possible,” Johnson said.

Not so ironically, Frank’s radio-TV-film major has nothing to do with computers either. Her connection started when she was taking a break from school to work as an independent consultant for Apple.

“I’d always sort of been the tech person in my family, so it seemed like a natural progression to go into that in my professional life,” Frank said. “It made sense for me to come back to school and try to continue that.”

Frank is taking full advantage of her opportunity working at the ACS not only by installing and repairing computers, but also by being a Google Glass Explorer, which is a wearable computer device now being tested by Google.

“I want to leave a legacy of helping bring new technology to campus. I want to let other interns know, future interns, that they can propose their new ideas and bring them to campus,” Frank said. “I want to pave the way in order to do that.”

With Frank’s ambition to try new things, she is hoping to let others know that with the right support students can make anything happen and device support is a great place to make that take place.

“People with a strong interest of going into information systems in the future should definitely look into the internship program because there are opportunities and especially if you have a lot of knowledge already, that would be great because they are constantly looking for new ideas and you could possibly help mold the program in the future,” Guede said.

Written by Kristin Stockheimer, Integrated Marketing and Communications STEP student.