By Andrea Potylycki, math and psychology Fellow
Over the summer, I worked on math research with Dr. Prudente. He connected me with Dr. Rodney Ridley, chief operating officer of O’Pake, university vice president, and interim dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM); and Michelle Lehman, director of student and client services. Ridley and Lehman then introduced me to the O’Pake Institute and its many facets. I was immediately intrigued and excited about all O’Pake would bring to Alvernia.
Throughout my time working there, I have had a truly diverse range of projects. One of my first projects involved working with the information technology (IT) department for a client. I worked with another Fellow to help them create network mapping. The goal of this project was to create a document that identified which port each phone and computer was connected to, expediting the troubleshooting process should anything go wrong. This was a completely new experience for me, and it was cool to learn something I knew nothing about.
On a completely different note, I have also worked on a few projects with The Camel Project, a non-profit whose goal is to eliminate bullying. The director, Pam Gockley, is so fun to work with! These projects gave me the opportunity to be creative and know I am supporting a great cause. Through O’Pake I also worked with other non-profit clients as well. I love volunteering, so being able to work with non-profits was special for me. In addition to non-profit clients, I have also been able to work with corporate clients.
I learned so many different things while taking on a diverse range of projects and this allowed me to learn a lot about myself. As a Fellow, I was able to attend events with Women2Women through the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance where I was able to hear the stories of amazing speakers and talk with other women. These events have made me grow professionally and personally.
In addition to learning and self-growth, I had the ability to form a relationship with a professional mentor through the mentor program. I was paired with a wonderful professional who told me about his journey and connected me with other professionals who gave me great, thoughtful advice. I am grateful for the experience I had with him and for all my experiences at O’Pake.
Overall, I have had an amazing experience working as a Fellow. The people I have met through O’Pake and the projects I have worked on provided me experiences I would never have encountered if it were not for this opportunity.