The INTERalliance and You

by CLAIRE CRISPIN '15

The great misconception surrounding technology as a career has festered, as it often does, here in the SUA community. It is exceedingly unfortunate that our student body—the bright, aspiring young women of tomorrow—so easily gloss over incredible opportunities with a simple and uninformed “it just isn’t my thing.”

As one of our tech team leaders and INTERalliance representatives, I feel personally responsible to set the record straight: the field of information technology (IT) is not a dark basement filled with pudgy 30-year-old men in World of Warcraft t-shirts slouched over computer code. On the contrary, IT permeates every aspect of modern life. It is a fast-paced field swarming with innovation and endless opportunities to change the world. Technology is what cured polio, landed man on the moon, and put that lovely little smartphone in our hands. So whether we realize it or not, technology is “our thing.” And it will open so many doors if we choose to pursue it.

One of those doors you can find right here in our city — the INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati. St. Ursula Academy was one of the first 5 schools in the area to join the INTERalliance, an IT and business-oriented organization dating back to 2005. As its vision statement affirms, the INTERalliance was created “to establish the Greater Cincinnati Region as a model of cooperation between business and educators—working together to identify, nurture, train, employ , and retain the area’s best IT talent.” The INTERalliance is a network that connects aspiring students to valuable opportunities through the sponsorship of big name Cincinnati companies and local universities, including the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, and Miami University.

The INTERalliance offers a wide variety of programs that allow students to grow in their abilities and make connections regardless of their intended career paths. These programs begin in high school and take form as the annual TechOlympics expo, career camps, school chapter, and paid summer internships with companies such as GE, Procter and Gamble, Kroger, Microsoft, and many more. These opportunities are both unique and valuable because they expose students to the bustling corporate world of Cincinnati that is often overlooked. After all, Cincinnati has the most Fortune 500 firms per capita than any other city, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“The more you know about technology, the greater your desirability and success will be... It’s like reading and writing. You need to know how to do it in order to do your job well,” says SUA Instructional Technology Coordinator and INTERalliance board member, Mrs. Matthews. “For those who choose technology as a career focus, the sky is the limit.” In addition to promoting technology, INTERalliance involvement hones skills imperative to success in any career, such as public speaking, project management, professionalism, branding, and adaptability.

The bottom line is INTERalliance sets kids up for success. Many parallels can be drawn between the organization and our very St. Ursula Academy. Both strive to educate students beyond the textbook and find the social relevance in their work by bettering the community. SUA students are by nature well suited to be INTERalliance students. Natalie Danenhauer, SUA junior and IA leadership council member, comments: “The thing that sets St. Ursula apart from other schools is that the students are incredibly motivated for their future. Getting involved with the INTERalliance not only exposes you to the career world, no matter what career it be, but it also allows you to try new things, expand your comfort zone, and experiment with things you don't like, like, are good at or not good at. It can benefit everyone whether IT is in their future or not.”