Computer Science student Michelle Modzelewska cracks the code on her career path

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Michelle Modzelewska '20 at Lehigh University

One of the most vexing questions that college students ask themselves is “What career is right for me?”

Library and Technology Services is helping one Lehigh student answer that question.

Through her work as a computing consultant assistant on the Endpoint Engineering and Administrative Support Team, Computer Science and Design student Michelle Modzelewska ‘20 gets a firsthand look at what it’s like to work in the IT field and flexes her coding skills through special projects on the team.

Skill-building in the field

“It’s a great thing to work in LTS because it helps me learn what I want to do with my career in the future,” says Modzelewska. “In LTS, there’s a big focus on learning.”

As a work study student, the South Amboy, NJ sophomore provides support to staff in non-academic departments on campus like Admissions, Dining Services, and Financial Aid. A typical day finds her configuring Windows and Mac operating systems on computers, running diagnostics, updating drivers and hardware, and conducting backups on clients’ devices and encrypting their information.

But when she’s not working on client computers, you might find her coding on her own, programming in languages such as HTML, CSS, and Java Script. This year she began working on a special project using Python to improve the interface for managing Lehigh computers in the Active Directory, a central repository for authenticating users and providing access to network resources.

Her supervisor, Sr. Computing Consultant Tim Palumbo said “Michelle’s programming skills will help our team create tools for use by all of the consultants in LTS and aid in multiple business processes.”

Web development for the win

Modzelewska, who developed her interest in programming in high school, says this experience helped crystallize her decision to focus on a career in web development. “I love the design element of front end coding,” she says. “I want to work on what the user sees and interacts with. And I think that’s something I gravitate towards as opposed to the back end.”

As she builds her programming skills working on the team, Michelle keeps an eye out for internships, particularly user experience (UX) designer positions. “There are so many places I can go with that, startups or tech companies, which is a relief, because I don’t have to stress about what place to go. I have so many options.”

A demand for low-tech too

Though her work exposes her to a variety of high-tech projects, she also contributes to the team in low-tech ways. Palumbo said that Modzelewska wrote “incredibly good documentation” for both imaging a PC from scratch and performing a device backup and full setup. “These documents are so well written that new student workers that have never done it before are able to do the process with zero supervision,” he said. “This makes training of new hires far more effective and consistent.”

Modzelewska’s writing skills proved valuable during her internship last summer in Shanghai City, China at Sinorbis, an Australia-based digital marketing company. There, she optimized the company's digital marketing software by creating detailed instructions on how to use the company's marketing solution platform, which Sinorbis uses to help enterprises who want to enter the Chinese market.

A balancing act

During regular semesters, Modzelewska keeps a full schedule that includes a second work study job. In addition to her LTS position, she also works at the Wilbur Powerhouse as a Design Labs Technology Fellow, helping clients use complex machines, such as 3D printers, and laser or water jet cutters.

She still manages to find a balance between her work, academics, and her responsibilities as a member of several clubs, including the Women in Business Club, where she is on the executive board. Modzelewska says the club is excited to host a Women in Business conference this February at Mountaintop campus, which will focus on technology and innovation.

“I think that’s a very relevant and important conference. There will be so many influential women who are in technological roles who are leaders as well. The people who attend will hear their perspectives and how that relates to business as a whole.”

Modzelewska plans to continue working on the Administrative Support Team throughout her Lehigh career. “It’s a very fulfilling experience. Actually visiting clients, making an impact on campus, keeping the system of computers running. It’s just a work study, but in reality, you’re doing much more than work study. Working for Tim, [in this] environment, it’s fulfilling work but at the same time you can focus on other things.”

Interested in working for Library and Technology Services? LTS offers job opportunities from entry-level positions requiring no specific experience to highly specialized roles working with innovative and cutting-edge technologies. Visit LTS Student Employment Opportunities to learn more.

  • Code-writing at FML
    Code-writing at FML
  • Michelle Modzelewska '20 performing new computer setup at Lehigh University Business Services
    In the field at Lehigh University's Business Services
  • Modzelewska '20 with supervisor Sr. Computing Consultant Tim Palumbo
    With supervisor Tim Palumbo
  • Michelle Modzelewska '20, Computer Science and Design (FML)
    Modzelewska '20 at FML
  • Michelle Modzelewska '20 in front of Lehigh University Computing Center