Students in the Spotlight

Students in the Spotlight


Jessica Kataneksza

jessicaMy experience at CCSU shaped me into the student I am today and set me on the right path for my future career. As a former pre-nursing transfer student coming into CCSU, I had no idea what I wanted to study. My initial decision coming to Central was to become an undeclared business major so that I could explore my options in the School of Business. The first class that really grasped my attention was MIS 201 with Dr. Petkova. I found this class very interesting and was eager to learn more about Management Information Systems. After my first two semesters filled with lower division business classes at CCSU, I knew that I wanted to declare myself as a Management Information Systems major. I set up an appointment to meet with Dr. D'Onofrio for some advice and direction about MIS as a major. Dr. D'Onofrio guided me through all the MIS courses and discussed each in detail while explaining how important this knowledge is to businesses. It was then that I saw all the potential and possible opportunities MIS could provide me. MIS has taught me how to use effective business practices and techniques to manage and organize business projects using technology. Each MIS course has provided valuable knowledge and skills that can be applied to other aspects of my learning experiences. Not only have these classes helped me grow as a student but also as a team member, a presenter, and as a real business professional. Knowledge I gain from one course can vary drastically from another. I have gained experiences ranging from project management to working with databases and a variety of applications. Compared to other learning areas, I have found that MIS provides an extremely well-rounded base of skills that I can use and apply to a wide range of job opportunities.

Since my time at Central, I've been on the Dean's List four semesters in a row as well as become a member of the Golden Key National Honour Society. The professors have been the biggest help through my education here at CCSU. They encourage students to do well and also provide them with any guidance or advice they may need in school and in the work force. I have never seen so much dedication from professors to their students in and out of the classroom. Dr. Gendron has even offered his students learning opportunities in workshops outside of class during his own personal time. He chose to do this simply because he wanted to offer his students extra learning opportunities and to give them valuable knowledge and a competitive advantage. I have also worked on a variety of business projects for organizations such as Connecticut Children with Incarcerated Parents (CTCIP) and Eureeka BI that gave me experience working on team projects and in presenting projects to clients. Projects like these gave me first-hand practice using skills and knowledge that I can apply to my potential career.

CCSU has provided many resources and networking and internship opportunities. I believe that the broad range of skills and knowledge I have acquired will enhance my standing as a viable candidate for any position in the field.
I expect to graduate in December 2015 with my Bachelor's degree in MIS. Throughout my journey at CCSU, I have developed into a confident business professional who is ready to take on the challenges the future holds for me. Wherever my path in life takes me, I will always carry the experiences, knowledge, and confidence CCSU has given me. I am grateful that CCSU has been the foundation for the student I have grown to be today and for the career path I hope to embark on in the future.


Eric Trout

troutI graduated CCSU in May 1991 with a BS in Management Information Systems. My experiences at CCSU helped prepare me for a successful career in the field of information technology. The course work as an MIS major prepared me for various positions such as an Application Developer, Technical Lead and IT Manager. This was all possible due to the challenging course work but more important was the practicality of the classes as they mirrored software languages used by many corporations. I would be remiss not to mention the on the job experience I acquired as a participant in the CO-Op program which was key in helping me compete for my first position.

I started my career as an entry level programmer with Cigna Corporation. I subsequently worked with a number of other companies in the banking, financial services, computer consulting and insurance industry. I am currently Director of Application Development at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company where I have been employed for the past fourteen years. My entire career has been guided by a plan along with a strong desire to continue learning.

I would like to encourage current students not to let anyone discourage them from pursuing their dreams. However, dreams by themselves may not allow you to accomplish your goals. Dreams need to be coupled with a plan and a willingness to work hard. It is important for students to seek ways to gain work experience prior to graduating as it will allow them to be better able to compete in the very competitive field of Information Technology. I encourage students to seek out internships as well as take advantage of CCSU's CO-Op program.

All of my career opportunities are a direct result of my academic experiences at CCSU. Being an MIS major afforded me the technical skills to be a developer as well as the management skills that allowed me to work in a leadership capacity throughout my career.

I would like to conclude by saying that two years ago my son decided to attend CCSU as an MIS Major, which was a proud moment for me. I am confident that he, too, will have a fruitful career as a result of a CCSU education.


Nicholas Vitale

vitaleDirectly out of high school I had set my mind on joining CCSU because of the need for me to commute to the convenient location in New Britain. Additionally, multiple members of my family have graduated from CCSU with both undergraduate and graduate degrees and have found great success in their professional careers. This focus on convenience was trumped greatly by the excellent experience and professional development I received at CCSU and, more specifically, the School of Business.

Upon joining CCSU I did not decide on a major and had no idea what my potential future employment opportunities would be. Once I reached my sophomore year I knew that I wanted to focus my efforts on acquiring a business degree, and my research led me straight to the Management Information Systems program. The MIS program combines and focuses on both technical and business knowledge essential to laying a solid framework for professional advancement. The knowledge that I have gained while completing my undergraduate degree has given me a solid understanding of some of the principles required to transition from the academic setting to a corporate environment.

Currently, I have been managing a used car dealership handling their online advertising and vehicle sales. During the fall semester of 2014, I accepted a position in the Operations and Technology Leadership Development Program at The Hartford. My education at CCSU has prepared me for this position and for bringing value to the organization.
Overall, I am excited to finish my undergraduate program but at the same time I am going to miss coming to the university and interacting and learning with my fellow classmates and professors. This has been an amazing 4-year journey and has prepared me to start the next chapter in my life. In my career I am going to continue to learn and grow as a young professional with the values that CCSU has instilled within me.


Alex Heinen

heinen"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." – William Ernest Henley, "Invictus" (1888). Personally I have found this quote to be a source of inspiration and focus. In any given situation it is ultimately up to you to seize the moment to achieve more. However, one must also be given the right opportunity and tools to succeed. Central's MIS program has provided me with several of the foundational skills necessary to be successful in the world. Developing public speaking, network architecture, database queries, programming, leadership, and teamwork skills among others helped to provide a perfect blend for success.

The choice to pursue an MIS degree began shortly after I completed my first year at Central. At the time I was a management major in search of a degree which offered a good balance of technical and leadership skills. After speaking with several professors I elected to enroll in the MIS program which in retrospect was certainly the right choice.

Leveraging the many opportunities provided at CCSU was key to building a well-rounded skill set centered on three key topics: academic performance, leadership accountabilities, and volunteer activities. Through careful planning I was able to maintain a Dean's list GPA while working part time as a desktop support intern for Stanley Black and Decker, and volunteering with the Newman club during my spare time.

After graduating in the spring of 2012, I joined The Hartford's Technology Leadership Development Program (TLDP). There I continued to build upon these base skills while rotating among different areas of the company in 6-12 month increments. Over the next 2.5 years I held various positions including; web developer, security analyst, process engineer, digital data analyst, and infrastructure analyst. In each of these positions I was granted the opportunity to push beyond my comfort zone to continue learning about technology and the business. Finally, in February of 2015 I accepted a non-rotating role outside of the program working as an analyst of operations and infrastructure in The Hartford's Chief Technology Office.

After 2 years in the TLDP I decided to pursue higher education as part of my goal to continue learning and growing. After considering many schools, I elected to return to Central and join their newly revised MBA program. Mid-way through the program's second semester I am pleased with the correlations between my work at The Hartford and the concepts taught in class.

In conclusion, never forget that you have plenty of opportunities available but it's up to you to make the most of them. CCSU offers an exceptional blend of resources through their faculty, classes, study abroad opportunities, internships, and extra-curricular activities. Be the master of your fate and become the next success story here at Central.