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He's got IT! Broad coursework gives intern a boost

As a technology intern at Signal 88, Hastings College student Creighton Leif expected to spend the summer implementing small software development projects for the Omaha, Neb.-based security company with 100 franchises throughout the United States.

The Computer Science major from Concordia, Kan., felt well-prepared for the task, having served as Hastings College’s lead Helpdesk Technician.

When he discovered the company’s IT needs and his supervisors recognized Creighton’s skills, the internship took a new direction: Developing the IT infrastructure for a growing business named to Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list 2011, 2012 and 2013.

“I've done infrastructure development before but only in a ‘lab-style’ environment at Hastings College,” Creighton said.

As an intern, he gathered information about existing computer and software systems, designed how best the company can structure its network, gathered purchase and contracting quotes and presented comprehensive financial plans for installing the IT backbone.

While his computer science courses helped him land this opportunity and he certainly put his programming skills to use, Creighton’s other coursework truly equipped him to take on expanded responsibilities with Signal 88.

“Thanks to my accounting and business classes, I'm able to move from department to department with Signal 88 and talk to different employees using the correct jargon," he said. "This skill — to communicate with many different styles of people — is by far the best thing I've gained at Hastings College and honed through the internship.”

In July, he traveled to Boston, Mass., with Signal 88’s CEO and founder, Shea Degan, and its vice president of administration to demonstrate software Creighton developed to bridge communication between two other programs critical to the company’s operations.

Creighton said he aspires to work in private industry as a technical project manager and the opportunity to put lab exercises into practice was a summer dream come true.

“It was very exciting and challenging at the same time,” Creighton said.

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