IST staff member gains national recognition as an emerging leader in IT

Kylee McGuigan
March 05, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Chris Gamrat, an instructional designer in Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology’s learning design department, was one of 13 individuals nationwide selected to serve on the EDUCAUSE Young Professionals Advisory Committee.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association that helps higher education elevate the impact of information technology. It is composed of IT leaders and professionals who lead and use information technology to advance higher education.

“I initially started with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) conference,” Gamrat said in regard to his initial involvement with the association. “Attending and presenting at this conference was extremely educational. I’m honored to be selected for this program. The committee is made up of some truly amazing people. I’m looking forward to representing Penn State and young professionals in this role. There will be a lot of opportunities to share my opinion on this committee, but I’m most excited to learn from others.”

He, along with 12 other younger professionals and emerging leaders in the EDUCAUSE community that work in higher education, were chosen to serve on the Young Professionals Advisory Committee.

According to EDUCAUSE president and CEO John O’Brien, a number of highly-qualified young professionals applied to be on this year’s committee.

“We looked for professionals who could speak on behalf of younger professionals in our community and who already had a strong track record of accomplishments,” he said. “In this search, Chris Gamrat stood out as an exceptional leader who I am confident will contribute to our efforts at EDUCAUSE to be ever more responsive to the next generation of leaders in our community.”

The committee gives more attention to the perspectives of younger professionals, which are essential to the development of EDUCAUSE in the future.

“[We meet] regularly with the EDUCAUSE president and CEO to discuss issues and opportunities relevant to younger professionals, along with topics of interest to EDUCAUSE in general,” Gamrat said. “Each committee identifies areas that they’d like to investigate. We’ve only met once so far but, a number of users have already expressed interest in efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Through his time with both the College of IST and EDUCAUSE, Gamrat has been able to engage his passions, specifically through the ID-2-ID instructional designer mentorship program. The ID-2-ID mentorship program matches instructional designers together to learn and grow together.

“This is a program that was started at Penn State and has since grown to a national effort through EDUCAUSE,” Gamrat said. “Since the inception of the program, I’ve three times. My first year, I was a mentee paired with another Penn State instructional designer. My second year, I was a buddy paired with an instructional designer at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Last year, my third in the program, I was a mentor paired with a designer at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Each of these experiences was fantastic in different ways and helped me to develop as a designer.”

Being involved with EDUCAUSE has given Gamrat the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other young professionals. He is able to represent Penn State and what the University has done to strengthen education and technology.

“To me, this is a significant opportunity to understand how other people and universities approach educational technologies,” he said. “I think that my membership on this committee will also help to represent Penn State’s needs and interests when EDUCAUSE is making decisions to engage young professionals and the education community in general.”

As part of the Young Professionals Advisory Committee, Gamrat will be spending time immersed in a community of passionate leaders and professionals.

“I found a lot of benefit from my cross-university instructional designer mentorship programs, and I’m sure that there will be many opportunities to learn and grow with this group,” Gamrat concluded.  

Last Updated March 05, 2019