May 4 commencement marks 10-year anniversary of IST's first graduating class

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) will hold its Spring 2013 commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. May 4 at Eisenhower Auditorium. The ceremony, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the first graduating class of the College of IST, will be available via live streaming/video recording at

The commencement speaker will be Mica R. Endsley, president of SA Technologies, a cognitive engineering firm specializing in the analysis, design, measurement and training of situation awareness in advanced systems, including the next generation of systems for aviation, air traffic control, medical, power, military operations and homeland security. Endsley, who received a doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Southern California, has authored more than 200 scientific articles on situation awareness, decision making and automation. 

The IST student marshal for the Spring 2013 commencement, Benjamin T. Dodge, and the ROTC marshal, Douglas P. Tiffany, both have made their marks at the College of IST and the wider University community during their undergraduate years.

Dodge, of Reading, Pa., will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in IST, software design and development option, with a minor in German. He is also a University scholar in the Schreyer Honors College. At Penn State, he was a volunteer for THON OPPerations, WE ARE Campaign, Fresh START Day of Service and Schreyer Honors College Orientation, and a member of the IST Academic Committee, Penn State ACM and German Club.  He earned the President’s Freshman Award, the President Sparks Award and the Evan Pugh Scholar Award. He completed internships at NAVTEQ and Microsoft. Following graduation, Dodge will be starting his career at the Next Century Corporation in Columbia, Md., as a software engineer.

Tiffany, of Johnstown, Pa., will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in IST. Actively involved with the Penn State’s Air Force ROTC, he received the Military Order of the World Wars Award, which recognizes cadets at each Air Force ROTC detachment who demonstrate military/scholastic excellence and an outstanding desire to serve AFROTC and the United States. Tiffany earned dean’s list honors throughout his college career and held a 2012 summer internship with IBM. Following graduation and earning his commission as a 2nd lieutenant, he will be working full-time for IBM as a public sector IT consultant until he enters active duty on Sept. 30. Once on active duty, he will attend specialized undergraduate pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi to become a pilot in the Air Force.

Throughout its history, the College of IST has been a second home to a number of siblings who have pursued illustrious careers after graduation. When Sam Kracaw receives her diploma on May 4, she will join her sisters, Dana (’07) and Steph (’11), as IST alumnae. In addition, their younger sister, Michelle, who is currently a freshman at the College of IST, will take her place among them in a few years.

The Kracaw family, which also includes a 9-year-old daughter, is originally from State College, Pa. Sam Kracaw said that her father recommended the College of IST to his eldest daughter, Dana, who worked as a consultant for IBM and is currently an enterprise resource planning solutions advisory analyst for Ricoh Americas Corp. in Boulder, Colo. Steph Kracaw, who lives in Ireland and worked for Facebook in Ireland, Sam and Michelle followed suit.

“There are great jobs in technology, that was one of the biggest draws,” Sam Kracaw said.

According to Dana Kracaw, the College of IST was a natural fit for her since she had always enjoyed working with computers while growing up, and was also drawn to the “business aspect” of the college. As an IST student, she “had a lot of fun working with the professors on research projects.” After graduating and embarking on her career, she said, she found that the skills she learned in her IST classes gave her a definite edge.

“IST really prepares you for everything,” she said. “You are just very well-rounded coming out of it. … I still have those skills today.”

Sam Kracaw, who is majoring in IST with a context option (an academic emphasis on applying information technology to businesses and organizations), said she will be moving to Chicago after graduation to work as a licensing sales specialist for Microsoft. One of her “favorite projects ever,” she said, was working on a globally-distributed team in a class taught by Rosalie Ocker.

“IST really helps you in transitioning from a school environment to a work environment,” Kracaw said.

Last Updated May 03, 2013