IT Staff Member Values Human Connections and School Mission
By Deborah McGrew, Information Technology Student Support Coordinator
I started working at Milton Hershey School in 1999. In Information Technology, there are several smaller departments. My roles as an IT admin are related to the systems we use across campus.
I like to say that because I’m not much of a tech person, I do the social part of IT. One part of that is overseeing our student workers. I encourage our students and staff to network. Those kinds of personal connections help our students develop their character and professionalism.
Another part of my job is managing the system we use for student home assignments. Every time a student moves to a different student home, it’s my role to update the system and keep everything accurate.
This kind of behind-the-scenes work is really important and helps other departments continue to operate smoothly. Since MHS is a school, every department on campus ultimately connects to the students in some way. With more than 2,000 students, it’s very important that we process information in a timely manner so we can all do our jobs the best we can.
For example, if a student is getting clothes from the Clothing Center, then the staff delivering the clothes can use the system to make sure they are taking those clothes to the right student home.
I’ve also been able to help parents/sponsors create their accounts so they can stay up to date with their children living here on campus. They can see how their student is doing academically and update their contact information to make sure our teachers and houseparents have the right information to stay connected.
My role might be one that people don’t think about much, but it’s really important to have these technologies and systems in place for our students and their families.
I think the best part about working at MHS is making connections with our students.
When a student I met 10 or 15 years ago comes back to campus and remembers who I am, I know I made a difference in that student’s life that wasn’t necessarily job-specific. When it comes time for me to retire, what I want to leave behind is the human part. It doesn’t matter to me if a student remembers I was the one who did student home assignments, but if that student remembers a time we had a conversation or made a connection, that’s the greatest thing. I hope to continue collecting those kinds of memories at MHS.
I take pride in my work. If my name is attached to it, I want it to look good and reflect our founders’ mission. I’m committed to that mission. I want anything that I’m doing for Mr. Hershey to look good for him, too.