Have you ever been assigned a multimedia project or a tech-based assignment using a software completely unfamiliar to you? Well, thanks to one group of students working in Penn State’s Information Technology Services (ITS), you don’t have to face these challenges alone.
Housed in two locations at University Park—one at the IT Service Desk in the Knowledge Commons in Pattee Library and another in the Pollock Computer Lab—Tech Tutors primarily focuses on software like Microsoft Word, Excel, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Prezi, Sites at Penn State, and many more.
Natalie Nash, a senior majoring in computer engineering, has been involved with Tech Tutors since her freshman year and is currently one of two lead tutors in the group. In addition to helping peers with technology questions, Nash also develops work schedules, sets up meetings with professors, and ensures the entire team is operating smoothly.
“We're basically a software help group,” Nash said. “So if your computer won’t turn on or has some sort of memory issue, that's not really us. But we cover anything related to software like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. We can also help with ANGEL, and now that Penn State is transitioning to Canvas, we're also doing a lot of Canvas training.”
Tech Tutors also conducts virtual tutoring for those who can’t make it to in-person hours.
“Tech Tutors has evolved greatly over the years and has grown to the point where we can not only help University Park students, but we also have online hours and can help students from every campus location and the Penn State World Campus.”
If you think you have what it takes to become a Tech Tutor, the group is always looking to hire new tech-savvy students, regardless of major.
“We have an online form where students can apply with their résumés and cover letters,” Nash said. “So if we think a person would be a good fit with Tech Tutors, we'll bring them in for a half-hour interview where we ask basic questions. Then we set up a mock consult where I pretend to be a student asking a question, and we see how they handle it.”
For Nash, being involved with Tech Tutors has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her career at Penn State.
“My major is computer engineering, and you don't usually get a lot of human interaction with that because you're working with computers all the time,” Nash said. “So I really like that I can combine working with computers with human interaction and helping people fix their software problems. It’s a great combination of my technical skills and being able to make a difference.”