The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 7, 2013

UPJ graduates first computer engineering technologist

Kelly Urban

JOHNSTOWN — Shawn Sichak is in a class all his own.

The 22-year-old Johnstown resident became the first student at Pitt-Johnstown to graduate April 27 with a bachelor’s of science degree from the computer engineering technology program, which was launched nearly three years ago.

There have been engineering technology programs at UPJ 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.

“Now that we have graduated our first computer engineering technology student, we can begin accreditation for this major,” said Jerry W. Samples, chair of the Division of Engineering Technology. “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.”

Sichak said when he was applying to colleges he knew he wanted to enter the engineering field and originally enrolled in the electrical engineering program at UPJ.

Once the computer engineering technology program became available, he made the switch.

“In one class I was the only student, and in another, I was one of two students,” he said. “It was definitely interesting, but the professors were really helpful and it was a great experience.”

As for being the first student through the program, Sichak said it is an honor.

“I didn’t mind being the student to help faculty build the curriculum and decide what the program would become,” he said.

Sichak hopes to find employment as a software engineer or a control systems engineer.

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