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"One of the great features of Point Park’s co-op program is being able to gain real-world experience while also earning credits on my path to graduation. I have developed a wide array of technical skills while working on projects, and I am able to grasp how businesses operate."

Tyler Hillard '23

Aidan DiGiannurio '23 is proud to say Point Park University has comfortably set him up for the real world.

"The faculty and staff have offered everything that I need as a young adult starting my career." he said. "I couldn’t be more grateful for my experience here."

DiGiannurio is among the students who have gained hands-on experience with a real-world company through Point Park's innovative co-op program. With connections to more than 40 companies throughout Pittsburgh and beyond, the co-op program immerses students in their chosen field through full-time, paid work experience, enhancing their career opportunities before they graduate. DiGiannurio, an applied computer science major, worked with U.S. Steel as a student employee in mainframe support. He recently received an offer for full-time employment with the company and will join the team as a system administrator upon graduation.

"I will support and maintain the mainframe systems at U.S. Steel for the entire company all across the nation," he said. "To get the most productivity out of the business, we seek ways to enhance our systems. I'll be working on job scheduling, installing additional programs on our mainframe and distributing them, working with end users to fix issues and much more. I'm excited to work for such a fantastic organization."

In the Q&A below, hear more about the co-op experience from DiGiannurio and fellow applied computer science major Tyler Hillard, who also has a co-op position at U.S. Steel focused on IT infrastructure. 

Aidan DiGiannurio '23

Pictured is Aidan DiGiannurio. Photo by Madi Fisher.

College activities: Information Technology Student Organization (ITSO)
Hometown: Munhall, Pa.
High school: Steel Valley High School

How did you land your co-op with U.S. Steel, and what are your responsibilities?

I worked with the wonderful staff in Point Park's Professional Career-Readiness Center to land my co-op. My responsibilities are to maintain the U.S. Steel mainframe and improve upon the existing system, making it faster and more efficient for the company. I enjoy the people I work with and the valuable experience I'm gaining through my co-op. I also love going to the company's different plants and seeing a big part of Pittsburgh history for myself.

What have you learned?

I learned how large corporations operate, how an actual office environment functions and what tools are used to communicate and work on a day-to-day basis. I learned how U.S. Steel's plants operate from the front end to the back end, following the product from the creation stage to seeing the actual trucks leave the plants with the steel that's been purchased. 

What are the key benefits of Point Park’s co-op program?

I appreciate the amazing feedback and the ability to tailor the program to my needs as a young professional. The co-op program connects you with kind people who want to see you succeed. It helps prepare students for the real world outside of school, which I think is most important. 

Describe some of your favorite faculty and courses.

All the major requirement courses are favorites of mine. The applied computer science professors push you to succeed. They make it challenging, but entertaining. It’s an amazing environment with experienced faculty. Everyone from the program has helped me in more ways than I could have imagined when I first came to Point Park, especially Jeff Seaman, Mark Voortman and David Syskowski. I've also received a great deal of help from professors Joseph DeFazio, Patrick Mulvihill, and George Bromall.

Why would you recommend Point Park to a prospective student?

I would recommend Point Park to a prospective student because of all the opportunities and support the University offers. It is really a different university from others, based on its amazing experiential learning programs, academics, safety and especially inclusion. It’s not your typical campus, but it’s definitely one to remember.

Tyler Hillard '23

Pictured is Tyler Hillard. Photo by Madi Fisher.

College activities: Captain of the men’s golf team
Hometown: Great Bend, Pa.
High school: Blue Ridge High School

"Tyler has continued to impress and has been a key team member to the collaborations and telecom team here at U.S. Steel. His exceptional work ethic, knowledge of Industry tools and standards and keen attention to detail continue to deliver impressive results and drive projects to completion here at U.S. Steel."  – Brad Dietz, network administrator III, networks and collaboration, U.S. Steel

How did you land your co-op with U.S. Steel, and what are your responsibilities?

Professors Voortman and Seaman forwarded me an email about upcoming job opportunities at U.S. Steel, and I applied for the co-op position. I started in March 2022 as an IT infrastructure employee, managing and supporting global voice network technologies for 25,000+ global end users. I also provide support for VIP events like earnings calls and board meetings and maintain cybersecurity compliance policies and risks. Outside of my technical duties, I am involved in organizations like SERVE, which strengthens and enhances relationships of veteran employees; NextGen Steel, which empowers the next generation of leaders in steel and SteelSUSTAINABILITY, which aims to create a brighter future for U.S Steel and stakeholders by engaging employees on sustainability issues.

What have you gained from this experience?

One of the great features of Point Park’s co-op program is being able to gain real-world experience while also earning credits on my path to graduation. I have developed a wide array of technical skills while working on projects, and I am able to grasp how businesses operate.

What do you like about Point Park's applied computer science program?

Through Point Park's modern program, I am learning real-world skills that are currently practiced in the industry, giving me an edge over potential candidates. One unique project I have worked on is the senior project we are completing as a class this semester. We are building a web/mobile application for a real client to utilize over their previous software. We are implementing everything from the ground up, including web development, databases, APIs, version controls, Agile Scrum methodologies and more. 

Why would you recommend Point Park to a prospective student? 

I would definitely recommend Point Park to future students if they plan on having an internship or co-op. With a great location in Downtown Pittsburgh, we are surrounded by companies looking to fill their talent pipelines. You gain valuable experience in the co-op program, all while earning credits toward your degree.

Learn more about Point Park in the video below:

More About: Career Development Center, Downtown Pittsburgh, Rowland School of Business, Pittsburgh, faculty, co-op program, success story, applied computer science