Terrell Darden is well on his way to reaching his lofty career aspiration; he wants to take over the technology helm of a Fortune 500 company as its chief information officer. If it’s true that every journey starts with a first step, Darden will tell you that the direction he received from Harrisburg University has set him on the path to success.
Living in New Castle, Del., Darden, 25, is ecstatic to be celebrating completion of his first year at Chase, working as an agile project associate with the goal of “making Chase’s online mortgage application process more user friendly.” He supervises multiple teams located around the United States and is focused on keeping them on task — to ensure successful execution of developing and troubleshooting IT solutions for the end user.
“I love my job and I love to communicate with my team and other employees here. Providing transparency for Chase’s Mortgage Express program is important to me,” he explains.
Darden earned his master of science degree in Information Systems Engineering and Management in the fall of 2012 from Harrisburg University and started his job at Chase shortly afterward. He was graduated in 2010 with a B.S. in systems engineering from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C.
“The education I received at H.U. was exceptional,” Darden says. “The one-on-one connections I had with my professors and the opportunities afforded to me my the university to attend the tech road shows and major engineering, social media and technology conferences complimented the education I was getting in the classrooms.”
As a graduate student Darden undertook an internship as an IT (Information Technology) infrastructure specialist in the Office of the Chief Information Officer Directorate (OCIO) NASA Langley. His position in in the IT Infrastructure Branch consisted of collecting requirements, as well as high-level documentation for the OCIO (Office of Chief Information Officer) Data Center Consolidation Project. He also installed rack-blanking panels in the Mission Data Center in order to improve airflow management and lower overall utility costs. He was part of the Pathways Agency Cross-Connection, an organization that unites young professionals in the aeronautics and space industry to inspire future exploration. As a t technical advisor, he contributed advice to the organization core functions and technical aspirations.
Additionally, he was a participant in the Fractional Research Initiative for Exceptional Students (FRIES) Program at NASA. The FRIES program offers students a chance to go above and beyond their initial work assignments in order to complete additional projects. Under the FRIES Program, he assisted with analyzing business transitions, and provide accurate and updated content to the Aeronautical Science Directorate’s business analysis department.
“I had always dreamed that I would, one day, work for NASA. However, I would have never imagined accomplishing this dream so early in my life. My involvement in different programs has allowed me to gain more work experience. The brilliant minds I have encountered here at NASA have helped me find a clear path to what I aspire to be,” he noted.
Darden learned about H.U.’s great ISEM program from Dr. Amjad Umar, who directs the ISEM program. “He told me how diverse my coursework would be and how closely the students and professors work together. After doing some research on the school, I couldn’t wait to get to Pennsylvania.”
Between a recommendation from Dr. Umar and assistance from the Educational Advancement Alliance Fellowship, an organization focused on increasing the number of minorities going to graduate school, Darden received a full scholarship to Harrisburg University to earn his MBA. While going to school, Darden was also H.U.’s first director of graduate student housing.
For Darden, the future looks bright. He reflects on his time at Harrisburg and is thankful for the life skills and education he received. He says he hopes many others will have the opportunity to attend and experience the school’s excellent graduate school programs noting, “Anyone who attends the school will benefit from the one-on-one relationships with professors and industry leaders, incredibly diverse coursework, and quality of the study body. Everyone there is very career focused. It made learning fun and got people excited about getting into the workforce.”