Chance Creamery stop leads to three siblings in IST

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For one family, their decision to become Penn Staters started with a chance pit stop at the Berkey Creamery.

Matthew Orbin, a 2009 alumnus, explained that as a high school student, he was on his way home to Pittsburgh from a summer camp in northeastern Pennsylvania when his mom suggested that they stop by the University Park campus to try the “amazing ice cream that Penn State had.”

“As we approached campus, we drove under this building that went over the road,” he continued, speaking of the College of Information Sciences and Technology’s landmark Westgate Building. “I had never seen a building like that.”

When he got home, he researched the building online and discovered IST, which coincidentally was at the crossroads of his academic and career interests.

“I had been asking myself if I wanted to go into business or technology,” he said. “Here was this major, right in front of me, that combined the best of both.”

That day’s ice cream stop was not only the catalyst for Matthew to enroll in the college, but for his younger brother and sister to do the same. The siblings all went on to graduate with degrees from IST — Matthew in 2009, Wesley in 2014, and Celina this past May — each pursuing a different track in the college.

Though their time as students in the college didn’t overlap, the three siblings all gained critical skills, knowledge and experiences positioning them for successful careers. Celina will start as a consultant for the federal government with Deloitte in September; Wesley is a software engineer with Capital One, and Matthew started his career at Deloitte and recently became a lead business consultant at Kaiser Permanente after helping to launch a small consulting firm in Washington, D.C., with fellow IST alumnus Alex Kozak.

“I think the most significant thing to me is that we’ve all found careers that we enjoy,” said Wesley. “And that’s really the point of going to college in the end, isn’t it?”

As her brothers have settled into successful careers, Celina looks forward to applying the skills she learned in the College of IST to her new career.

“[In IST] I was taught not only technical skills, but also soft skills,” she said. “The people skills that I have gained throughout my classes have become an invaluable lesson that I will continue to use.”

She explained that she was very shy when she first came to college and had a hard time making friends. But the group-focused curriculum in the college forced her to learn how to speak and interact with a variety of people.

“Learning these skills also helped me to gain friends in clubs within the College of IST, like IST Benefitting THON,” she said. “After experiencing the group atmosphere my freshman year, I became more comfortable working with others. As a result, I began taking some leadership roles to greater enhance my skills.”

Her oldest brother, Matthew, cited another soft skill that was engrained in him during his time in IST: the ability to solve his own problems.

“[Through problem-based learning emphasized in the College of IST] I was always taught to come up with a few potential answers and see if any are on the right track, and if not, to dig into what was missing,” Matthew said. “I learned to fend for myself and find information on my own.”

He explained that this skill has greatly benefited him in his career as a consultant.

“You’ll inevitably come across something you’ve never encountered before,” he said. “It’s up to you to form the solution. You can’t tell a client you can’t find the answer.”

Wesley added that his experiences in the classroom also have carried over into his career.

“IST does a great job of preparing you for work in a corporate environment,” he said. “Almost every class has a group project and by the time I graduated, I had done actual work for multiple businesses as part of classwork. When I first started work, I drew on those experiences frequently.”

In his work as a software engineer, Wesley said that his classes in human-computer interaction and design were among the most valuable.

“When you’re building software, it’s just as important to know why you’re building it as how you’re going to build it,” he said. “One of the most positive pieces of feedback I’ve consistently gotten throughout my career is my customer-centric focus, and I think it comes from those classes.”

The Orbin siblings are all extremely proud to be College of IST alumni. It’s a common bond they’re honored to share. No one else in their immediate family had attended Penn State before Matt, so his chance Creamery stop on that summer day changed the course of the future for the three siblings.

“It was a serendipitous occasion,” said Matthew. “I’m so glad we stopped for ice cream that day.”

Last Updated June 21, 2018