Our Graduates are making impacts in many organizations and industries across the world. To acknowledge all of our wonderful alumni and their many accomplishments, we spotlight a few here!
Class of 2020 – Data Science Alicia Hong – PhD Candidate
1. What are a couple of things you loved most about Harrisburg University? Teachers, resources, and relevant techniques.
I love the cozy atmosphere of the campus, especially the Market street building. When I am on campus, I would stay after class to play the piano in the lounge area or go to the library to do homework. There are various club activities going on like PC gaming events and I can see information for all kinds of resources for the students. It makes me feel that I have a space to relax while having the opportunities to get things done and expand my interest. I also love the aspect that the building directly leads to Strawberry Square where the food court, coffee shop and stores are just a minute away. The teachers I met are in general very caring, competent, and super patient. I take classes mostly online and used to travel to the campus once a month. I am starting to miss that face-to-face interaction and routine.
2. How did HU prepare you for your current role?
One thing that specifically sticks in my mind is a sentence Dr. Bagirov said in Functional Programming class: “You are enrolled in a technical program at HU, you ARE a technical person.” Coming from a non-technical undergraduate background, I used to hesitate to take on any projects or apply for advanced positions that require programming skills like SQL and Python. I have experienced a confidence boost since my study at HU and I personally benefited significantly from the technical tool sets and fundamental programming methods offered in the curriculum of the Master’s Analytics program.
3. Where do you work now/what do you do and Is it related to what you learned at HU?
I currently work as an Implementation Lead at the healthcare sector of Public Consulting Group. I manage a small team that handles the financial operation cycle and implements authorization file exchange protocol across several programs. HU offered a wide variety of courses that touch upon the field of my work, such as database design, healthcare management, scrum method, IT systems and organizational leadership etc. The class projects also provided me opportunities to practice teamwork, build research plans and write analysis that make sense to the audience.
Class of 2016 – Biotechnology Steven Tessier
1. What are a couple of things you loved most about Harrisburg University? Teachers, resources and relevant techniques
There is much to love about Harrisburg University. Above all, I benefited greatly from the small size of the classes. The small class size of my bioinformatics course, for example, allowed our professor to work closely with us, which was invaluable as we had never engaged in computer programing. Imagine a group of bio students trying to navigate the coding terminal. It was brutal! Luckily, the intimate environment of the small class kindled a supportive culture and offered high-quality face time with the professor. He was readily available to address our questions and guide us through the material. I was able to learn quickly and thoroughly. In addition, the professor and I formed a strong bond and he became a genuine mentor. I could say this about nearly all of my professors. These are the types of experiences that make Harrisburg University’s program distinctive and effective.
2. How did HU prepare you for your current role?
Harrisburg University provided the intellectual foundation that is necessary to succeed in graduate and medical studies. At both the former and the latter, my undergraduate education allowed me to perform among students who studied at the nation’s top institutions. Harrisburg University also nourished personal growth, character, work ethic, and a sense of purpose, all of which have enriched my life and are required for a successful career.
3. Where you work now/what you do. – is it related to what you learned at HU?
I am a medical student at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Prior to my current role, I trained in a molecular biology laboratory at Thomas Jefferson University as a Master’s student. More than anything else, my work energizes my passion for scientific discovery and the larger vision of improving the health of patients. I get to do what I love every day. I have Harrisburg University to thank, as they gave me the resources and foundation I needed to be successful in my post-graduate endeavors and to grow into an independent life-long learner.
Class of 2012 – Biotechnology Iris Smith
HU gave me the foundation to continue my education and really dig into what part of Science I could best utilize my skills. The knowledge that I gained helps me understand the drug development process of new compounds and how it can affect patients in clinical trials. Most protocols and dossiers are very complex and scientific, so it is a benefit to understand the biology and chemistry of the drugs.
I currently work for PRA Health Sciences, which is a contract research organization. We are a company that provides support to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries with customized full life cycle services from concept to post-marketing data. I am a global regulatory affair lead and manage regulatory authority and ethics committee submission across multiple studies in over 35 countries worldwide. I am also one of the US label experts that review drug packing labels for investigational product distribution for the US. My job is not necessarily related to what I learned at HU but the Science base helps.
PRA is involved with several trials involving potential vaccines and drugs to fight COVID. PRA has also launched a new mobile app that tracks patients’ physical and psychological symptoms from COVID-19. It allows for tracking individuals who may be asymptomatic or showing minimal symptoms and includes monitoring from a healthcare professional for those recovery.
Class of 2017 Sweta Shah
What are a couple of things you loved most about Harrisburg University?
- Robust and supportive faculty/staff
- Encouraging environment for academic and professional growth
- Wide list of STEM programs and courses
- Friendly platform and equal treatment for all students to build up their career
How did HU prepare you for your current role (three or four sentences)?
My entire degree program and courses that I took at HU trained me to face and manage real life scenarios with value-added approach. Well-designed electives, brainstorming sessions with fellow students, and my thesis coaching have played an integral role in my career. I always appreciate university’s efforts toward training students for job interviews, enriching professional communication and other soft skills that help lending a good job and at the same time performing the role effectively.
Where do you work now/what you do – is it related to what you learned at HU?
I work as a Functional Analyst for one of the top notched Fantasy Sports companies called DraftKings where I’m primarily responsible for Mobile and Web Application’s Requirement Elicitation, Test Case Creation and Execution based on state level Gaming/Sports Betting board and Regulatory Compliance agencies. My additional duties such as managing stakeholder engagement and performing application go-live test from the application launching location help me structure my prime duties with remarkable efficiency. My current work certainly correlates with HU learnings and degree program.
Class of 2010 – Project Management Karl Haviland
Harrisburg University was a fantastic experience. I enjoyed being in the heart of downtown Harrisburg, and utilizing ahead of its time technology-driven educational facilities. Most of all, Harrisburg University helped me grow as a professional through challenging content and talented professors.
The Masters in IT Project Management program provided content and experiences that bridged my skillset from a computer scientist into leader, manager, and educator. It was at Harrisburg University that I first learned to move teams in a focused direction and accomplish large-scale ideas/projects.
I am currently the CIO at Felician University and entrepreneur, and every day is an exercise in decision making, leadership, and organization. All of these components make up the building blocks to high-level project planning and execution, of which I first learned at Harrisburg University.
Class of 2017 – Chemistry Mia Allen
At HU, I majored in chemistry but I also took a lot of biology classes. I am currently enrolled in pharmacy school as a PharmD candidate for the accelerated program at MCPHS. I am a pharmacy intern at Walgreens pharmacy and I still tutor from time to time. I utilize almost every science related concept from HU, which allows me to thrive in pharmacy school.
During my time at HU, I loved the faculty and smaller class sizes the most. The faculty were always available to clarify any content that I did not understand during different lectures and even on previous exams. The smaller class sizes allowed me to thrive and every professor knew my name. The faculty genuinely want you to succeed and they constantly went above and beyond to ensure me success.
HU taught me how to make vital connections early on, by often inviting influential speakers and constantly encouraging us to attend events. They also encouraged the students to network during career fairs. The rigorous science curriculum allowed me to meet all of the prerequisites for pharmacy school. Having a mandatory research project in undergrad prepared me to do research at the grad level. Presenting my project at the Undergraduate Research at the Capital allowed me to improve my public speaking skills.
Class of 2019 Micah Burton
Describe how HU changed your life, and/or prepared you for the next (prestigious) level.
Harrisburg University enabled me to discover the passion I had for the fields of study that I would fall in love with, biochemistry and molecular biology. With professors that go beyond the classroom, HU’s faculty act as both attentive mentors and brilliant lecturers. Under their guidance, I came to thoroughly understand the tenets that we seek to follow as the core competencies. The focus on critical thinking and collaboration, among other attributes thoroughly prepared me for the rigors I will face as I now begin my graduate program this fall of 2019. I would even go on to say that these attributes will remain a tenacious foundation for the challenges I will face in the far future.
What was your favorite class and why?
I would have to say that the series of biochemistry courses taught by Dr. Catherine Santai here at HU were among my favorite classes to take. The focus on not only understanding what the textbook taught regarding homework assignments and exams but also on applying that knowledge to primary literature during our discussion periods allowed for such a dynamic atmosphere in the classroom. Needless to say, there was never a dull moment.
What are some of your hobbies?
In my free time, I enjoy playing my guitar to my favorite tunes, listening to philosophy debates spanning the various topics of life, and helping others whether it be material in nature or explaining a concept that I may have a better understanding on to someone.
When you get out of graduate school, what will be your goal professionally?
At the moment, my ultimate goal is to eventually become a research professor. For my entire life, I always looked up to scientists as my role models. I am someone who always asks questions; therefore, conducting research is naturally what I love. Though, as I have matured at HU, I increasing felt that I wanted to give back that feeling of finally understanding some difficult subject with the help of an advisor or professor, or guiding someone as they develop into a professional. Thus, teaching has become a somewhat growing interest of mine in the past two and a half years.