Andrew P. Allen: Job offer in hand
For college students hoping to leave school and step into a good job in their field of study, it is a Catch-22: Employers want graduates to have experience, but how can a student get those door-opening, résumé-building jobs while still in college and stay on track to graduate?
Temple information science and technology (IST) major Andrew Allen did not have that problem. He got all the real-world job experience he needed while he was an undergraduate, first in a series of impressive summer internships and then in mandatory Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) capstone courses that exposed him to real software development work with real clients. Allen’s reward: He has a job waiting for him at Protiviti, a global business-consulting and internal-audit firm, after graduation. And like many CIS students, he had the offer before he even began his senior year.
Allen’s journey to Temple was a few years and more than 10,000 miles longer than the average student’s. A native Philadelphian, Allen joined the U.S. Army Reserve as a 17-year-old before enrolling at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. He deployed soon after his freshman year, serving in Iraq in a civil-affairs unit—and as a machine gunner on a Humvee—at age 19. Allen briefly returned to Muhlenberg before being asked to support his unit full time as an administrator in the military technician program, managing soldiers’ human-resources transactions. As he mastered the Army’s regulatory structure, he gained access to more computer systems, eventually ending his military career as a sergeant.
Allen returned to civilian life as a “more mature” person with a hunger to live in the city and a sense he would be more comfortable as a part of a more diverse student body. He transferred to Temple, his brothers’, mother’s and grandfather’s alma mater, and soon learned what a good fit it was for a driven, career-minded student.
“Temple exceeded my expectations,” Allen said. “Here in CIS, the teachers are amazing and our advisers are great. They really care. You can’t underestimate how important it is as a student to have mentors who will guide you and put you on the right path.”
Each summer while attending Temple, Allen had internships in the city that helped him take the necessary steps toward his professional goals. Between his sophomore and junior years, he worked on the nationwide security intelligence and protective services team at Comcast. Between his junior and senior years, at the urging of Rose McGinnis, director of the College of Science and Technology’s Professional Development and Undergraduate Research Program, Allen interned in Protiviti’s information privacy and risk section. His job: breaking into companies’ systems so that they can learn how to mitigate their risks—or as Allen calls it, “ethical hacking.”
To wrap up his Temple experience, Allen took the two-semester capstone course CIS requires, taught by IST advisor and CIS Instructor Wendy Urban. Students are assigned to teams that work with clients—in Allen’s case, Temple Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, Assessment and Institutional Research Jodi Levine Laufgraben—to analyze a problem and design, test and implement software to address the challenge. Allen’s team designed an easy-to-use system to help Laufgraben’s office track dozens of cycles of accreditation, the processes that ensure that a university’s academic programs meet national standards in each discipline.
With years of on-the-job training under his belt, Allen is confident about taking the next step in his professional life: a full-time job at Protiviti.
“I am prepared,” he said. “There's no question in my mind. I am real-world ready, and it was Temple that put me in this position.”