Hannah Neumann has tried a little bit of a lot of different experiences.
“I came to IUP as a transfer student, and I chose IUP because of the diversity of academic majors and minors. I knew I could change my mind and IUP would have what I wanted, and I wanted to be able to change my mind while in college rather than five years out of college.”
Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) also helped her by accepting credits she earned in high school and at her previous college. “IUP was fantastic about accepting those credits; I didn’t miss a beat. Most of the classes transferred seamlessly and made for a really easy transition.”
She started out at a nearby university planning to become a park ranger. When she got to IUP, she thought history might be the right major. Then, she tried English. On to nutrition and dietetics. Then time in clinical laboratory science.
“All of them have wonderful outcomes, and I don’t think any of them would have been a bad decision.” (And, in fact, she’s kept English as a second major.)
Finally, she found her niche: she says that when she took her first computer science class, “she never looked back.”
She came to computer science because her boyfriend was doing coding for a class he was taking. “I thought, what the heck, I can do this. I originally thought you needed to be born with a gift in computer science, but after taking my first class, I was hooked. I believe that if you have patience and interest, anyone can learn computer science.”
Hannah immersed herself into organizations at IUP: she joined the Computer Science Programming Team, she works as a tutor for the Computer Science Department, she’s in IUP’s Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) group, and she took a position with the Office of Admissions as a Crimson Guide. “All of these organizations really helped me to feel like IUP was my home. I really feel connected here to so many faculty and to so many friends I’ve made here. I also love the town—it’s beautiful and very welcoming to students.”
One of Hannah’s favorite on-campus activities is serving as a tutor in the Computer Science Department.
“I’m especially excited to tutor students in Computer Science Programming 110 because that’s the course that pulled me into computer science.”
While computer science and programming remains a relatively male field, Hannah points out that IUP has female faculty that are strong role models. Her internship program at Fidelity also has a commitment to gender equity. “There is an even split of men and women in the internship program,” she said.
Her internship, which has already led to an offer of full-time employment, only happened because of coursework at IUP, Hannah says.
“IUP is one of the few schools that teaches COLBOL (a computer program) and mainframe skills. “Experience in this program really opened a lot of doors for me, including my internship. Other colleges just don’t teach mainframe skills, which people use most every day: Mainframes are large computers commonly used to securely and reliably process transactions such as credit card purchases or stock trades.”
Fidelity actually handles about 1,100 transactions per second, Hannah says.
“Two weeks into the course at IUP on COLBOL and mainframe skills, I knew it was what I wanted to do,” she said.
What’s her advice to those students who just aren’t sure about a major?
“Don’t worry. Even within a major, you can choose a path that really focuses on where you want to go.”