On Saturday, April 27, 2013, Shawn Sichak became the first student at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown to graduate from the computer engineering technology program, which was launched nearly three years ago.
There have been engineering technology programs at Pitt-Johnstown for more than four decades, and in 2010, as part of the University’s five-year strategic plan to introduce new degree programs, the computer engineering technology program was established. “This new major is a key component of our strategy to grow and evolve with the rapidly-changing world of technology and computer science,” said Dr. Jem Spectar, President of Pitt-Johnstown. “Mr. Sichak has blazed the trail for all those students who will follow him into computer engineering technology.”
Dr. Jerry W. Samples, P.E., chair of the Division of Engineering Technology, looks forward to the program’s advancement over the coming years. He said, “Now that we have graduated our first computer engineering technology student, we can begin accreditation for this major. Shawn Sichak was the first to jump in and, having no classmates, he did everything on his own. He’s very personable, level-headed, and persistent. He’ll do very well.”
When applying for colleges, Sichak knew he wanted to enter the engineering field. His desire to remain in the Johnstown area led him to Pitt-Johnstown, where he was enrolled in the electrical engineering program during his first year. When the University first offered the computer engineering technology program, Sichak made the switch and never looked back. He recalled, “In one class, I was the only student, and in another, I was one of two students. It was definitely interesting, but the professors were really helpful and it was a great experience.”
Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Janet L. Grady added, “Shawn is literally in a class by himself. He is in the Pitt-Johnstown history book now, and we’re proud of his accomplishment.”
As far as being the first person to go through the computer engineering technology program, Sichak said, “It was an honor to be the first one to go through it. I didn’t mind being the student to help faculty build the curriculum and decide what the program would become.” The 22-year-old Johnstown native plans to find a job as a software engineer or a control systems engineer.
Founded in 1927, Pitt-Johnstown is located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The University offers a high-quality educational experience in a supportive living-learning environment designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization." Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the past three years.