Former EAST Student Joins EAST Board of Directors

   

Former EAST Student Joins EAST Board of Directors
8/9/2013 4:04:00 PM

EAST is excited to welcome the newest member of the EAST Board of Directors, Mr. RJ Martino. RJ comes to the board not only as its newest member, but also as its youngest (recently graduated from Univ. of Arkansas at Little Rock). RJ brings a wealth of EAST experience with him; he is an EAST alumnus of Bryant High School and the UALR EAST program.

EAST is excited to welcome the newest member of the EAST Board of Directors, Mr. RJ Martino. RJ comes to the board not only as its newest member, but also as its youngest (he graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock just last year). RJ brings a wealth of EAST experience with him; he is an EAST alumnus of Bryant High School and the UALR EAST program.

RJ explains it like this:

"In 1998, only two years since the creation of the EAST project, I was presented with the opportunity to join the EAST program at my high school ( Bryant High School) when I was a Junior. At first sight it seemed like a neat way tolearn new technologies.I remember our first dayI felt like I was a construction worker that had just been introduced to a hammer, nails, lumber, saws, and a list of other tools.

"All of the students immediately dove in and started learning newskills,evaluating software, and determining ourinterests in the world of technology. Each program had its own special use and allowed me to develop a nice 'bag of tricks' to applyto each problem.Ibegan learning and being trained on the use of network administration tasks.The understanding ofnetworksgained from the EAST project allowed me to obtain my first professional job. I became network administrator for a local advertising agency (15 - 20 users and 2 servers).

"The EAST program was much different than the traditional classroom environment. Facilitators were meant to motivate and help with project management. Students were urged to develop unique projects that promoted community development. To create unique projects, I had to understand unique problems. To learn these problems, I questioned people throughout the community including fireman, police officers, school administrators, and business professionals. I began building a deep understanding of how to genuinely discover problems.Byunderstanding the logisticsand processes of these people, Ilearned to take their unique problem and develop unique solutions. We then worked in groups to deploy these solutions, set deadlines, and train newer EAST students on the technology used. Seeing something that I created being used in a real-world environment was much more rewarding than any 'A' I received or high test score.

"As the program developed, I developed. By graduation in 2000, my skills as an administrator were equivalent to that of a certified network engineer.Displaying the projects I hadcompleted allowed me to obtain a scholarship and to test for my A+ certification and MCP certification - both I passed easily. I was also awarded one of UALR's first 10 EAST scholarships.

"While in college at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, I began planning a new company. At the time, the company was going to focus on providing technology services to government organizations. The planning resulted in a detailed business plan submitted to the Reynold's Cup (a statewide business plan competition). The plan was placed in the top 12 and a formal presentation was given and evaluated by top executives. Although no funding was provided, iProv was born in June of 2001.

"The company now uses some of the same fundamentals learned in the EAST program to create solutions for customers throughout the State including: UALR, Arkansas Baptist State Convention, Arkansas Department of Education, Central Arkansas Water, Candy Bouquet, Win Rockefeller for Governor, and a list of other organizations. We continue to provide services for government and private organization and have developed many successful applications such as WheresTheFreeSpace (a disk analysis tool) and UALRsource.org (a web application that allows UALR students to buy and sell books to each other).

"Fellow students and administrators are still contacted daily. Many of our largest projects are due to our affiliation with the EAST project. I know, with no doubt in my mind that I would not be in the position that I am in today if it were not for this program. EAST has had a permanent effect on me personally, professionally, and academically."

myEAST

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