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SMC interns restructure IT Service Catalog

For their 144-hour Southwestern Michigan College Application Development internships, Kathryn Woodward of Baroda and Jacob Gordon of Berrien Springs bring student perspectives to navigating the SMC web site’s information technology services. Working on laptops alongside web developer Diana Litaker in the Computing Services Department of the Barbara Wood Building on the Dowagiac campus, they reorganized Wired’s IT Service Catalog tab this summer.

"This project was an opportunity for us to create a single landing page in which students, faculty and staff have access to all of the services and electronic communications resources available to them through SMC,” Chief Information Officer Nick Suttle said. “While this is our first iteration, we look forward to bringing more transparency, informing and expanding our communication channels, as well as ensuring that we are providing the necessary tools to be successful in the 21st century."

“These students reflect everything that is embodied in an internship experience: high-level expectations of an employer complemented by top-notch performance from soon-to-be graduates,” Vice President of Instruction Dr. David Fleming said. “And the fact that in this case they have improved something within the college, that makes me even prouder.”

“We took all the services Computing Services provides and put them in one area,” Gordon said. “When you go into the catalog you see a graphical category page, from which more specific pages can be opened. As students, we know what issues we had trying to find stuff. The first thing we did was create a survey for feedback.”

Gordon, who graduated from Bridgman High School, came to SMC to study for a game-development career, but leans toward “a different aspect of programming, cybersecurity. I want to do government work or work for a company that tests businesses’ security, penetrating their networks to try to find vulnerabilities and implementing ways to protect them.”

“I’m working on an application development degree,” Woodward said. “It’s something I happen to be good at. I like web coding a lot, so maybe I can do web design. The other thing I’m going for is networking so I can manage a web site for a company.
“It’s not easy sitting behind a desk eight hours a day looking at source code. If something goes haywire, it can be as simple as one character being in the wrong spot,” said Woodward, “but this has been fun and something I’d not be opposed to doing for the rest of my life. It was different from what I expected. I thought we’d be creating from scratch, but it turned out to be way more complex, redirecting and refocusing resources in one spot.”

Woodward brings a theatre background to IT. She still works with Lakeshore’s theatre program “backstage on lights, sound, set construction and design.”

The 2017 Lakeshore High School graduate has another year at SMC. She dual enrolled for direct credit through Lake Michigan College, which she transferred to SMC “because the campus is much nicer and college life here is better. And SMC works better with the university I ultimately want to attend, Ferris State.”

Gordon, interested in aeronautical engineering in high school, “is about to finish my degree. I have one math class to take this fall.”

The interns started in mid-May and finish in August, but have been offered fall Computing Services jobs.

“The initial plan was to develop this service catalog,” Gordon said, “but we’ve been ahead of schedule, so we’ve helped Diana with other tasks.”