Campus alumnus offered job at Westinghouse after summer internship

Illusionist Criss Angel uses skill, creativity and confidence to turn dollar bills into $20 bills. Penn State New Kensington alumnus Kyle Wolski used the same traits to turn an internship into a budding career.

Wolski, a December 2012 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in information sciences and technology, earned an internship last summer at Westinghouse Electric Co. in Cranberry. His interest in the nuclear industry led him to Westinghouse, which provides fuel, services, technology, plant design and equipment for the commercial nuclear electric power industry.

His excelled as a member of a team of engineers and his performance impressed the team leaders who relayed the information to Dave Peffer, cyber security product manager for Westinghouse’s nuclear automation department. Peffer hired Woski in February as a cyber security engineer. The work he is doing as an employee is a continuation of the work he performed as an intern.

“Kyle was one of the best interns we had in a while and I wanted to give him an opportunity to come on board with the team,” said Peffer, who heads the group that provides consulting and technologies to nuclear plants. “He has a very good attitude and interacted well with the team.”

The internship, a requirement for the campus’ information science and technology (IST) program, provided valuable work experience as he was allowed to work on his own on many occasions. He performed various tasks that helped to secure the digital systems for nuclear power plant customers. Assignments include assessments, training, documentation, product installation and configuration, and implementing cyber security programs.

“I would get my assignment for the day from my lead engineer and usually was let go and free to complete it and ask questions as needed,” said Wolski, who earned a minor in security and risk analysis. “I knew I would get real world experience with the internship.”

The summer job went hand-in-hand with what he was learning in the IST program. Concepts from the classroom were applied to the workplace.

“Attention to detail, planning ahead and general knowledge of the operating system were the main concepts,” said Wolski, a graduate of Seneca Valley High School. “My networking class helped with working on the server and knowledge of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model helped me and another engineer solve a problem with setting up an isolated environment for demonstration for a customer.”

The New Kensington IST program provides students a background in the core technical areas of networking, databases, programming and system integration. Graduates are prepared to enter the workforce since they can opt to take classes that integrate industry-standard software applications, such as Oracle (database software), SAP (business enterprise software) and GIS (geographic information systems).

In addition, IST students are trained in key business areas, such as project management and organization theory. Students develop essential teamwork and problem solving skills through team projects. Students gain real-world work experience through a required internship and a fourth-year capstone project. During the capstone experience, teams of students engage in finding solutions to the real problems of major local companies.

“I feel this degree gives me the opportunity to go to many different industries, and I feel that I will always have job and career opportunities,” said Wolski, a three-year member of the campus’ dean’s list

Penn State’s blue and white spirit runs through the Wolski family. Kyle’s brother has a bachelor’s degree in IST and his sister has a bachelor’s in education, both earned at Penn State's University Park campus. Kyle broke the mold and stayed at the New Kensington campus, a decision that is validated daily.

“I had very good experiences with all of my professors at Penn State New Kensington, and I feel I learned a lot from the IST professors and the concepts that they taught,” said Wolski, who grew up in Evans City. “I was able to take away different lessons learned from each professor which I felt was very beneficial.”

Wolski has high praise for the internship program at the campus. His advice to current students is to put a concerted effort into the job and rewards may follow.

“I feel you get out what you put into in. Companies take note of the interns they hire and they remember the good interns and bad interns,” Wolski said. “Even if they can't offer a position after the internship, if you do a good job most managers would willingly give you a good reference and help you get a job with another company or another department within the company.”

Following Wolski’s lead on a Westinghouse internship are two current IST students: senior Nicole McMahon (Kiski Area High School) and junior Jesse Vulgris (Lenape Vocational-Technical School). By happenstance, they interviewed together in December at Westinghouse’s Intern Café, an annual event for more than 200 college students seeking summer internships at the company. Both were selected for the program.

“I went to the Intern Café and had some casual interviews,” said McMahon, who earned a 4.0 grade-point average last semester. “After lunch, I interviewed with Jesse, and we must have done well together because we both got jobs. I will be working in SAP Portal Services department.”

“While attending the event, I saw Nicole and we walked around together, getting interviewed by various Westinghouse members,’ said Vulgris, a member of the campus’ dean’s list. “After a week, I was notified by Westinghouse that I got accepted for the Human System Interface Applications department.”

For more on the IST program at the campus, visit

For more about Westinghouse’s Intern Café, visit

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Last Updated March 20, 2013