By Marc Allan

Terrence Jackson enrolled in Butler’s Early College Program at the beginning of his junior year at Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy for an opportunity to take college classes.

But he wanted more.

So in the spring, Jackson went to Emily Burke, associate director of Butler’s Learning Resource Center and advisor to the Early College Program students, and asked to do an internship at the University this summer as a way to gain some additional exposure to computer technology.

Internships weren’t a part of the Early College Program, but Burke found a way. With the support of Jon Sorenson, professor of computer science, and Julianne Miranda, senior director of the Center for Academic Technology, Burke placed him under the supervision of Jeana Rogers, an academic technology specialist in Information Technology (IT). For six weeks, Jackson shadowed and worked in different areas of IT. He met with a computer programmer, one of the server experts, toured the server room, spent a day with the problem-solvers at the Help Desk, and watched and worked with others.

He wrote reflection papers, created a blog about his experiences and produced a digital story about the area of IT he found most interesting. Like other Butler students, he will earn a university grade and credit for his internship.

“The partnership with Shortridge has possibilities for many different kinds of engagement with the Shortridge community and its students,” said Mary Macmanus Ramsbottom, associate provost for student academic affairs. “Good ideas about how this partnership can make an impact come from many different places. This is an example of a student, who had been part of the program all year, taking the initiative and saying to us, ‘Is it possible to do this?’ “

Jackson describes himself on his blog as “an average teenager with a love for technology.” In one entry about his time on the Help Desk, he wrote:

Around 11am the department gets a call, the head coach of the women’sbasketball team is having problems with her MacBook. Time to take a trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse, or as the guys at the help desk say, a “Gator Run”. Which involves zipping across campus in a 4 wheel drive utility vehicle capable of at most 25mph.

By all accounts, Jackson was a model intern.

“The feedback I got from other people in IT was that he was very attentive, helpful, sharp – already into computers and smartphones,” Rogers said. “I think he found it very interesting to see some of the behind-the-scenes things. He really didn’t have a keen interest in servers or programming. For him to see that and what’s involved was kind of an eye-opener for him.”

Jackson will be a senior at Shortridge this fall, and University administrators are hoping his experience in the Early College Program will be a steppingstone for his eventual admission to a challenging four-year degree program. He is enrolled in a fall pre-calculus class at Butler through ECP.

Ramsbottom said offering Jackson an internship opportunity was just one possibility for the Shortridge-Butler Partnership. In future years, the University might offer a summer class for college credit or expand the numbers of camps offered on campus, reaching beyond the established band and leadership camps into other areas.

“The program went very well this year,” Ramsbottom said. “We’re excited to have juniors and seniors here next fall, and that by the end of next year, all of Butler’s six colleges will be offering courses to the Early College Program students.”

See a video blog Jackson created during his internship at http://youtu.be/hnMUzVoiHmM.

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