By: Hailey Temple

Syracuse University’s Scholarship in Action initiative promotes collaboration and student involvement in the city of Syracuse. This summer, the School of Information Studies (iSchool) continues to extend its relationship with the city as two iSchool students intern at Syracuse’s City Hall.

Sophomore Fanta Dicko and graduate student Vivek Khedkar are interning for the technology department at City Hall, constructing PCs and assisting with day-to-day responsibilities. As the City’s Information Technology group is focusing on replacing older PCs with newer machines that run Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system, Dicko and Khedkar are gaining hands-on experience in the workplace.

Dave Prowak, director of information technology for the City of Syracuse, and a 1987 graduate of the computer science program at Syracuse’s L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, was impressed by the skill set and professionalism of the iSchool students.

Although it is Prowak’s first time working with iSchool students, he found a wide range of students highly-qualifies students applying for the position. “I am impressed with the experience and enthusiasm these students have to work in the field. They have hands-on experience and handle themselves well, which were important qualities we were searching for in interns,” said Prowak.

For Dean Elizabeth Liddy, the iSchool serves as a place for students to develop hands-on experience and gain technical skills. The City of Syracuse supports these efforts and extends opportunities for students to gain experience in the field. “Places like the Student Sandbox, supported by CenterState CEO, and The Tech Garden expose students to mentors from the city, who are important to helping the students grow as professionals,” said Liddy.

Liddy and Prowak see this opportunity as a step in the right direction to strengthen the relationship between the iSchool and the city of Syracuse. “It’s so important to have the students seeking local internships to prevent a ‘brain drain’ and support the local economy. We have really strengthened and expanded the employer relations department to help students reach out and make successful matches with local companies,” said Liddy.

As for the City of Syracuse, Prowak hopes to recruit more iSchool interns throughout the fall semester. “I would like to continue this relationship because it’s mutually beneficial. Given my initial experience, the students are a great asset to our group and I hope we can bring in more qualified students like them.”