Staff Spotlight: Chris Swanson

chrisSwansonSquareTitle/Position
Desktop Service Specialist

How Long Have You Been at SMC
Since August 2014

Role in the IT Department
My primary role in the department is to develop and maintain the images (collections of operating system, software, updates, etc) for the college’s classrooms, labs, and faculty/staff computers. Other things I assist with are the virtual desktop infrastructure, group policy management (system wide rules for our computers), and software distribution. My office is located in the Helpdesk so I also help with day to day problems that occur (printing, passwords, malware) and I am an escalation resource for our student staff there.

How Did You End Up in IT
As a freshman at Saint Mike’s (way back in ’05!) I was assigned a work study position at the library but I waited too long to go sign up and all the positions were full. After asking around campus I heard there were still positions open at the Helpdesk and I was able to secure a job there. Working at the Helpdesk I developed both technical skills, customer relation skills, and discovered my fascination with technology. I learned a lot from the helpful and friendly staff in the department. A few years after I graduated I saw an advertisement for an IT position in the Seven Days classifieds and I jumped at the position to return and become a member of the helpful and friendly staff myself.

Technological Advice To Our Community
The blessing and curse of most modern technology is that you don’t have to actually know how it works to use it. The upside of this is that it lowers the barrier of entry for use of new technology- the average user doesn’t have to know how the spam filter on their email works or how their laptop authenticates to a wireless network in order to enjoy the benefits of these services. But conversely if these technologies break, then most people have difficulty troubleshooting the problem. Arthur C. Clarke famously remarked that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” My advice is to take some time to learn how the technology in your life works. There are so many free resources available today-Wikipedia, Khan Academy, Coursera- we’ve never lived in a time with better access to such valuable information.

What’s Your Best Technology Time-Saving Shortcut Or Life Hack?
Keyboard shortcuts! There is a keyboard shortcut for almost every commonly executed task. Learning the keyboard shortcuts relevant to your common activities will save you a ton of time over the long run. Common Windows shortcuts can be found here https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12445/windows-keyboard-shortcuts. Some of my favorite shortcuts:

Windows key + L : Lock your computer
Ctrl + P : Print
Alt + Tab : Go back to the previous text field
Windows key + Left or Right arrow : Snap current window to the side of your screen

Anything Else You Would Like To Share
I’ve truly enjoyed working at Saint Michael’s the past two and a half years. We have a great community here.

Staff Spotlight: Sue Breeyear

Susan-BreeyearTitle/Position
Associate Director

How Long Have You Been at SMC
15 years

Role in the IT Department
I started out as Language Resource Center manager, where I managed the student crew until I hired a grad student to do that. Then moved on to Assistant Director, managing the instructional technology group, which included classroom technology and design, the Helpdesk, Media Services, the learning management system, and day to day planning and organization of projects. Currently I’m one of the two Associate Directors of the Learning Technology Center team, focusing especially on the Helpdesk, the learning management system (Canvas), the MakerSpace, and classroom renovations.

How Did You End Up in IT
My background, consisting of a degree in Education with a concentration on English, would suggest that I’d end up in a teaching field. But after teaching ESL in St. Louis, Senegal for the Peace Corps, my interest in classroom teaching changed to language and language learning. That had to wait for awhile until my husband and I had moved about eight times, first to the University of New Hampshire and then back to the University of Vermont, had two children and raised them at home till they went to school, and floundered for a few years while bouncing around in various departments — Forestry, Career Development, and finally Romance Languages at UVM. At UVM (this was many years ago!), my department set up the first server (aptly named Polyglot) outside of the College of Medicine, and I was hooked. From Gopher to Netscape, I was thriving in the brave new world of computing. My interests finally converged in the UVM Language Lab, where I was abl e to set up the first computer-based language lab. The rest is history.

Technological Advice To Our Community
Don’t be afraid to try new things and different processes. It may feel like jumping off a cliff, but there are people around that will support you and provide you with a safety net. Failure isn’t the end of everything, but the beginning! While change is scary, it can give you a whole new perspective and provide you with some startling life changes for the better.

What’s Your Best Technology Time-Saving Shortcut Or Life Hack?
Following my colleague Joann’s advice, I’m trying to force myself to go paperless in the office. There are a lot of advantages to be had once you get there. It’s not time-saving in the beginning, but I suspect I’m going to like it once the work is done. Life hack – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Think it through first, then dive in if it’s worth it!

Staff Spotlight: Erik Lightbody

erikLightbodySquareTitle/Position
Assistant Director of Technical Services

How Long Have You Been at SMC
8.5 years working, 4 years as undergrad

Role in the IT Department
I supervise the Helpdesk and associated support efforts. This includes training, mentoring, and managing the student staff, as well as acting as an escalation path for more difficult or unique requests. My role as part of the Technology Learning Center team includes conducting workshops and training sessions, usually focused around Cyber Security and application efficiencies. I also work closely with our networking and applications teams to ensure our users have consistent, problem-free experience.

How Did You End Up in IT
I was assigned to the Helpdesk as a work study student in 2004. For those that remember, IT was very different back then–we spent most of our time “keeping the lights on” and didn’t have time to innovate or promote new technologies. Upon graduation there was an opening for the manager of the Helpdesk (the 4th such opening in 4 years), and I saw it as my opportunity to provide some consistency in this space. Teamed up with Kellie Campbell (also class of 2008) we worked to develop a robust student training program, which lead to a shift of responsibilities within the department. Students were now able to handle the day-to-day operations while the full time staff could now focus on introducing new technologies, creating a complex and stable network, and work with individual departments to meet their technology needs.

Technological Advice To Our Community
That email threatening to close your account? It’s fake. 100% of the time.
That email from UPS saying you need to open an attached invoice? Again, fake. 100% of the time.
That email offering you a job for $1,000 a week? You guessed it, still fake.
The Internet is an expansive, magical place filled with people who are trying to scam you. Don’t let them. Keep your personal information private!

What’s Your Best Technology Time-Saving Shortcut Or Life Hack?
Looking for a program or file? Click the Start Menu and just start typing what you’re looking for–the application or document will show up right in your Start Menu. To impress your friends, instead of clicking on the Start Menu with the mouse just hit the Windows key on your keyboard (bottom left, between Ctrl and Alt). When your application shows up just hit “enter” to open it. If you learn enough hotkeys like this you’ll find you almost never need your mouse!

Staff Spotlight: Kellie Campbell

Kellie CampbellTitle/Position
Associate Director in IT/Director of ASC

How Long Have You Been at SMC
Started employment in 2008

Role in the IT Department
Associate Director, helping co-lead the Technology Learning Center team, a team focused on support, partnership, and education for the campus community. In addition, I am also the Director of our Accelerated Summer College. This is a fairly new program at Saint Michael’s, working to address challenges/opportunities in the changing landscape and to pilot and assess new instructional models to support teaching and learning.

How Did You End Up in IT
Great question – my background is in Business Administration, Leadership, and Management. During my Masters program, I fell in love the the concept of leadership and project/change management. I have found a niche in my position that allows me to do both – and it happens to be in IT. IT is exciting – always changing, new opportunities, and is always pushing boundaries…I truly enjoy being able to lead and learn from my colleagues and peers. I also appreciate that Saint Michael’s invests in our department, and understands we are more than a service, but are partners that can add value and be “at the table”. This opportunity encouraged me to recently start my Doctorate at Northeastern – focused in Higher Education Administration.

Technological Advice To Our Community
So much of what we do isn’t about technology, but about how technology can support you and encourage you to do things differently. Reach out to us – we are here to show you the “how to”, but also talk opportunities!

What’s Your Best Technology Time-Saving Shortcut Or Life Hack?
Evernote – an app available on my desktop, laptop, and iPhone. I use it for school and in my daily work. I can add notes, images, audio…every where I go, it follows!

Staff Spotlight: Eric Roy

Eric-RoyTitle/Position
Technical Specialist / MakerSpace

How Long Have You Been at SMC
1.75 years?

Role in the IT Department
I am the Technical Specialist in the MakerSpace. I serve as the “Shop Manager” training and supporting our Student Staff as well as the users of the space. I also perform preventative maintenance of our various equipment and assist with research and development of new workflows and processes that projects require. If you have an idea of something you would like to create, I probably have an idea or two regarding how we can make it a reality.

Want to play with Lasers? Are you curious about 3d printing? Would you like to make a customized present for a loved one? Stop in and my staff and I will be excited to help you!

How Did You End Up in IT
I was teaching Rapid Prototyping classes at Generator (Burlington’s Community Maker Space) when I came across the news that SMC was creating their own space. Prior to that I had worked as a QA analyst and Project Manager in the Telecom field, a Creative and Buis. Consultant for multimedia projects and producers, and as an Artist. With my own creations I found that adding newer fabrication technologies allowed me to increase my output and quality while simultaneously decreasing my time investment and the physical demands of my craft.

Technological Advice To Our Community
Follow your curiosity. We are living in an age where most knowledge is only a couple clicks away… the barriers between wondering and knowing are thinner than ever before.
“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” (Benjamin Franklin)

Take initiative. Take risks. Take notes. Most things in life are iterative… pay attention to why things didn’t work, ask questions, try it again.
“If you want something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done.” (Thomas Jefferson)
“The chance of failure is almost always better than the guarantee of never knowing.” (Aaron Levie)

What’s Your Best Technology Time-Saving Shortcut Or Life Hack?
Too many to choose from. Much of what I am doing here in the MakeSpace is teaching people how to use technology to save time or enhance quality with their process.

This week: we explored using waste Polyethylene packing material as soundproofing material with the aid of a heat gun, took a look at how a laser cutter is a quilters best friend, started working with custom cut vinyl sheets as a replacement for photosensitive emulsions and degreasers used in screen-printing, and I may have developed a workflow that allows students to use an HTC Vive (VR) to design files we can then 3d print…. and today is only Wednesday.

Anything Else You Would Like To Share
Come in and learn with us.

Staff Spotlight: Joann Trottier

Title/PositionjoannTrottierSquare
Director of Information Technology Operations

How Long Have You Been at SMC
20 Years

Role in the IT Department
I wear a lot of hats, including technology procurement, departmental benchmarking and managing policies and procedures.

How Did You End Up in IT
While studying to become a math teach, my adviser suggested I take a computer course (BASIC programming back in the day). I was sceptical at first, but discovered that I had a knack for it and ended up teaching a combination of math courses and computer courses at Essex High School and some of the local colleges (including St Mike’s). I was the first in the state to graduate with a M.Ed. degree in Computer Education (from St Mike’s). After finishing my master’s degree, I shifted gears from teaching to IT support for schools (first at Chittenden East Supervisory Union and then Saint Michael’s). It’s been quite the ride!

Technological Advice To Our Community
Keep looking for new ways to use technology to make your work flow more efficient. Technology changes fast, so keep looking!

What’s Your Best Technology Time-Saving Shortcut Or Life Hack?
I’m a minimalist and an organization nerd. I save time by saving only what I need and saving everything electronically so that I can find it quickly. The Delete button can be your friend.