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Facilitators work with students and faculty in Polycom classes

Student facilitators
Facilitator Steven Yusko works with IST instructor Gary Heberling with a polycom class.
11/2/2012 —


Serve as Conduits Between Fellow Students and Campus Faculty

Penn State New Kensington students Lauren Schram and Steven Yusko earned positions that provide perspectives from both sides of the academic vista. As facilitators for the campus’ telecommunications system, Schram and Yusko serve as conduits between fellow students and campus professors.

Known as Polycom, the telecommunications system allows collaboration among geographically dispersed groups, such as students at other campuses, via video and voice distribution. The two students troubleshoot problems that may arise during classroom use of Polycom services.

“I set up the connection and make sure nothing goes wrong,” said Schram, a junior administration of justice major. “I am involved with both the students and the professors, which is my favorite part of the job”

“I am actively involved with the professors in helping them telecommunicate between the New Kensington and the DuBois campuses,” said Yusko, a junior information sciences and technology major. “I am responsible for establishing and maintaining the connection for the duration of the class. I find solutions to problems that may occur.”

The New Kensington campus utilizes Polycom classes for students majoring in Administration of Justice, Information Sciences and Technology (IST), and French. For the fall semester, there are seven student facilitators covering nine classes.

"The facilitators provide a valuable resource for the campus as we move toward more innovative ways to offer programming,” said Andrea Adolph, director of academic affairs.  “The students also benefit as they learn new skills and new technologies."

Schram is a facilitator for the French and Administration of Justice programs. While the campus does not offer a French degree, some of its bachelor’s programs, such as Administration of Justice and IST, require three semesters of a foreign language. The Administration of Justice bachelor’s degree program is offered jointly by the Penn State campuses of Beaver, Shenango and New Kensington. All courses needed for the degree are offered at each campus through a combination of Web-based technology and the traditional classroom setting.

“I also organize the paperwork,” said Schram, a native of Munhall and graduate of Steel Valley High School. “I pass out tests and quizzes and send results to the professor at the Beaver campus.”

Yusko is a facilitator for the IST program, which is a four-year program at the New Kensington campus but not at Penn State DuBois. Yusko helps DuBois students with classes that originate at New Kensington. While he sits in on the classes, Yusko takes advantage of the learning opportunity.

“Since I am an IST major, I am learning the material of the upper-level courses,” said Yushko, who was raised in Monroeville. “I usually incorporate what I learn into my current classes.”

When he is not on campus, Yusko can be found completing his internship at Club Profit Systems, a company that offers a comprehensive and cost-effective golf club management software system.

“I test for bugs and problems in new versions of the company’s software,” said Yusko, a graduate of Gateway High School.” If the software passes, it is released to our customers.  If it fails, I write up a report and submit it to our programmers to fix.”


Facilitator Lauren Scram, center, works with students in a French polycom class. 
Facilitator Lauren Schram, center,  works with a student during a French polycom class.

The Administration of Justice program focuses on the interrelated components of the criminal justice system: public and private sector enforcement and investigation, legal systems, correctional treatment and community services. Through a combination of formal classroom instruction, practical training in laboratory courses, individual study and field experience, students in the program will be well prepared to pursue an array of career opportunities in federal, state and local law enforcement and correction agencies, court-related services, probation and parole services, and private-sector security. Schram expects to graduate in May 2014 and plans to continue her education in graduate school.

The Information Sciences and Technology major gives graduates a background in the core technical areas of networking, databases, programming, and system integration. Students are trained in key business areas, such as project management and organization theory. Students develop essential teamwork and problem solving skills through team projects. Students gain real-world work experience through a required internship and a fourth-year capstone project. During the capstone experience, teams of students engage in finding solutions to the real problems of major local companies. Yuskon graduates in December 2013 and hopes to turn his internship into a full-time position at the software company.


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