'Ahead-of-the-trend' College of IST prepared security adviser for his career

Sarah Rothfleisch
April 15, 2020
Chris Eggerman

Chris Eggerman

IMAGE: Provided

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a student, Chris Eggermann had several part-time jobs with organizations like Lion Line, as well as involvement in student organizations like Lion Scouts. These experiences gave him a glimpse of the challenges and rewards he would enjoy in a career, and, paired with his education in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, equipped him with the skills he uses in his current profession as a security adviser at Liberty Mutual.

Eggermann, who earned a degree in security and risk analysis in 2017, took advantage of his time inside and outside of the classroom while at Penn State.

“Part-time jobs I had (in college) put me in a really good position to learn what I liked and didn’t like,” said Eggermann. “Meanwhile, the classes I took taught me skills I still use – the way the instructors let us work through problems in class is something I silently apply every day.”

Today, at Liberty Mutual, Eggermann and his eight teammates are responsible for ensuring security in hundreds of applications, so communication in the group is essential.

“We all simultaneously have to be leaders and followers, so there has to be trust,” he said. “That’s something we practiced every semester in security and risk analysis, and to be in that position while in school has really helped in my job now.”

Eggermann made sure to utilize the networking opportunities that the College of Information Sciences and Technology offered as well. He regularly attended the college’s career fairs each semester, as well as campus-wide career fairs. It was through these opportunities that he was able to network, eventually being recognized by professionals in a booth and landing an interview.

“In that interview, they offered me feedback on how I interviewed and how I presented my resume,” said Eggermann. “I’m glad that I tried it out instead of dismissing it; I tried it and I was offered a position that I accepted in the fall of my senior year.”

He added, “I feel like the amount of networking opportunities at Penn State and in IST put me in a really good position.”

As a student, Eggermann was also involved with the tutoring program in the College of IST, where he started as an online tutoring coordinator before becoming a learning assistant.

“I had an instructor recommend me as a tutor for that class,” he said. “They needed a management role filled and because of my diverse background trying a lot of different things, they gave me a shot. It was like working in Lion Line, and that experience helps me now in my current position – little steps loop into bigger and bigger things.”

He has plenty of advice for current students in IST as they embark on their career development journeys.

“Always go to events, even if you might not want to,” he said. “And if you’re considering multiple offers for a job opportunity right out of college, consider what matters most to you.”

For Eggermann, flexibility in a career and having time to pursue things outside of his work hours was important. He had been an emergency medical technician in high school and, after taking an extended break from it during college, he was ready to get involved again post-graduation.

Out of all the learning experiences Eggermann had while at the College of IST, he said that the teaching styles and collaborative learning environment fostered in the classroom were most beneficial.

“One of the IT frameworks we are trying to use (at Liberty Mutual) is Agile, which is a way of working where the individual pieces of a project become equal and we all work on it together, leading to less error,” Eggermann said. “This is a big direction that the IT field is heading towards, and while the college (of IST) never explicitly called it Agile, IST was ahead of the trend and prepared me really well for my future career.”

Last Updated April 15, 2020