BSIS student Shakir Wellons on Pittsburgh Promise
The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences is pleased to highlight Shakir Wellons, an undergraduate student due to graduate in December 2014 from the information science program thanks to the Pittsburgh Promise.
Although Shakir began his college career as a Computer Science major at Penn State, he discovered that it didn’t seem to be a good fit for him personally. Shakir explains his change to Information Science as a discipline simply. “I love technology and I value the connection between technology and people. I found that IS seemed to have more of a human element involved; meaning that it seemed to actually involve people more and it touched more on the business side of things.” His change to IS has been such a perfect fit, in fact, Shakir says he has “never looked back.”
Since joining the iSchool at Pitt, Shakir has found he is most interested in the web design and networking areas of information science and he appreciates the many opportunities for practical experience and networking with alumni that are integrated into the curriculum.
Shakir advises current students to “really take advantage of the networking events at the iSchool. There are a lot of them so it is easy to put them off thinking you will attend the next one. However, your senior year will approach faster than you realize and you want to have a vast network of connections by this time. Experience and networking will be fundamental to your future with a major in Information Science.”
Currently putting this practical experience and networking to use, Shakir is interning with the City of Pittsburgh, which he hopes will result in a job offer once he graduates. Wherever he decides to work upon graduation, Shakir is confident in his prospects because “the iSchool has provided me with classes that are actually useful in the real world and has given me the opportunity to network with alumni and with companies that are looking to hire BSIS grads.”
His advice to students considering a major in IS is to “make sure that you give it your all. The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ may be cliché, however it is one I’ve found to be particularly true at the iSchool. As it is with almost anything, the more practice coding, working with networks, etc., the better you will become at it.”
The Pittsburgh Promise is a program dedicated to providing scholarship support to eligible Pittsburgh Public School graduates who plan to attend college or trade school. Shakir learned about the Pittsburgh Promise in high school from his principle Mr. Tawayne Weems. He credits Mr. Weems who “used the Promise as a way to push me to come to school and perform so that I would be eligible to receive the scholarship.” Shakir is still in contact with Mr. Weems after eight years and considers him “instrumental” in directing him onto the path of success.
Shakir is also grateful to Marsha Kolbe, the Development Manager at the Pittsburgh Promise, who he says “has worked tirelessly to provide me with networking opportunities and regularly contacts me just to see how I’m doing. She does a wonderful job representing the Pittsburgh Promise and cares deeply about Pittsburgh and its youth.”
Although Shakir has enjoyed his time at Pitt, he’s looking forward to the next chapter of his life, as a married man and new father, saying “graduation can’t come soon enough for me!”