ITS Clarkies – All Grown Up

ITS is not only lucky enough to have incredible students working in different offices across campus, but also to have former Clarkies as part of our professional staff as well. Both Ben Gardener, Business/Data Analyst and Matt Essig, Clark’s Senior Systems Administrator, worked in ITS as student employees during their time as students at Clark.  

ITS recently caught up with both Matt and Ben to learn more about their experiences as student workers and the impact of those experiences on their professional lives.  

PS: Hear from more former Clark student workers (including Ben) in this video created by the Office of Student Employment!  

Do you think your work in ITS as a student helped you prepare for your professional career?  

Ben: Absolutely! Working at the Help Desk meant daily experience in a lot of intangible skills that I’ve relied on throughout my career: active listening and clear communication, prioritization, teamwork, you name it. ITS also made a direct impact on the careers of at least 10 of the students I worked with at the Help Desk, who went on to work in ITS professionally.   

Matt: The skills I picked up were of course useful, but I think the overall problem-solving mindset the job encouraged, along with the sense of integrity that ITS demanded, were the most helpful assets I gained from working in various ITS student roles. It was helpful in shaping my perspective on work.   

How has ITS changed since you were a student?  

Matt: ITS has come a long way in terms of our technical processes, standards, and forward-looking approach to solving university technical needs. Instead of reacting, ITS is becoming more proactive, and I would very much like to see us keep going down this route. We have steadily moved away from fixing things with short-term solutions to more long-term planning, which is better for the department and university as a whole.   

Which people, events, or positions were most impactful to your student worker experience?  

Ben: I had a lot of valuable mentors throughout my time as a student worker at the Help Desk. I’d like to shout out those who are still at Clark – Sharon Griffin-Edson, Justin Brooks, and Michael Krikonis. I wouldn’t have grown into the person or professional I am without the lessons you taught me. I hope that every student who comes to Clark has at least one person who teaches them as much as you taught me.    

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a student at Clark?  

Matt: A very fond memory is the first summer I worked for ITS rather than going back home to stay with my parents. It was a nice way to feel independent as well as good job experience, since I was a part of a smaller, higher-level team.   

What was your favorite part about working in ITS as a student?  

Matt: My favorite part about being a student working at Clark was getting to help the organization and its mission statement of teaching and in some small way making the world better.   

Ben: As a student, I’d often meet someone new, only to learn that I’d actually helped them with computer issues years before. I may not have remembered them, but fixing their issue had a memorable impact on their lives. Knowing that I helped someone with a problem they couldn’t solve themselves, especially when it was high stakes, was the most gratifying part of the job.