Connected Learning in the Workplace

Presenters: Deborah Boisvert, Jim Whalen, Jeff Stolz, Kostian Iftica, Henk Portier
In this session, panelists discuss work-based learning experiences that connect students to the world that they will enter after finishing their academic programs and give them a competitive edge. Presenters include an employer and student from two such programs: Tech Apprentice, which connects talented Boston Public Schools high school students with paid technology-focused summer internships in local companies; and Learn and Earn, which connects community college students to a paid internship in conjunction with a three-credit internship course that counts toward their major.

Deborah Boisvert, Executive Director, Broadening Advanced Technological Education Connections, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Deborah Boisvert is the principal investigator and executive director of Broadening Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technical Education National Center of Excellence that is building computing pathways in the urban centers of Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. She also leads a grant dedicated to computational thinking as well as the Synergy Collaboratory for Research, Practice, and Transformation project, which has focused on achieving scale, also headquartered at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. With experience in both the corporate and educational arenas, Boisvert has focused her efforts in the development and implementation of initiatives to advance the educational and professional objectives of area high school, community college, and university students and faculty. She was a founding partner in Camp Telecom, a summer camp for high school students and teachers sponsored by Massachusetts Network Communications Council. In 2006, she was honored as their Workforce Development Leader of the Year. Boisvert wrote the curriculum for the Technology Goes Home@School initiative, which bridges the digital divide by equipping fourth graders’ families in the Boston Public Schools with beginning technology skills and a new computer for their homes. She founded the Bridge to Community College Program, a partnership with local community-based organizations, which provides adult learners with credit-bearing technology courses combined with English and mathematics tutoring to prepare them for matriculation into a technology degree program. Boisvert serves on the Massachusetts K–12 Technology Standards Revision Team; the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education’s Transfer Task Force; the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board’s Career Pathways Working Group; the Massachusetts Computing Advocacy Network; the National Advisory Board of Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science (IWITTS); and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group for Information Technology Education (ACM SIGITE) Education Board.

Jim Whalen, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Boston Properties, Inc.
As senior vice president and chief information officer for Boston Properties, Inc., Jim Whalen oversees the direction and implementation of technology and applications, including the support of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. Boston Properties, Inc. is a fully integrated, self-administered, and self-managed real estate investment trust that develops, redevelops, acquires, manages, operates, and owns a diverse portfolio of Class A office, industrial, and hotel properties. The company is one of the largest owners and developers of Class A office properties in the United States, concentrated in four core markets—Boston, Midtown Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. He has been an active member of the Oracle Real Estate Users Group and its predecessors since 1995 and served on the Quest Board of Directors from 2001 to 2004, where he led the direction of support activities for user groups. He joined PeopleSoft’s International Customer Advisory Board in 2002 and became its chairperson during the acquisition by Oracle Corporation. Whalen continues to champion activities in support of user group collaboration and influence. Prior to joining Boston Properties, Inc., he served as vice president of Information Systems for Beacon Properties. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a recipient of the New York City Urban Fellowship.

Jeff Stolz, Operational Excellence Lead, Integrated Defense System, Raytheon Company
Jeff Stolz has worked for Raytheon for 26 years, and is currently the operational excellence lead for the Circuit Card Assembly department. As part of the operations team, he participates in complex and exciting manufacturing projects focusing on lean manufacturing techniques, along with Mission Assurance, Safety, Ergonomics, Energy Conservation and Security. These projects are components of systems supporting homeland and missile defense strategies, and may involve products currently in production, those in design, and those transitioning into production. Raytheon is heavily aligned with the Six Sigma principles and Stolz plays a key role in teaching the Six Sigma mindset. Stolz has also been instrumental in developing a dynamic co-op program working with students from a variety of colleges. The goal of the program is to provide understanding of manufacturing principles from the ground up and stimulate creative solutions to an array of real life manufacturing challenges.  As a result of this program, the students have the opportunity to shape the next steps in their educational and career aspirations. Stolz has served on the core teams at Raytheon's Integrated Air Defense Center that have received the Shingo Silver Medallion Award in 2008, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence’s (AME) Enterprise Excellence Award in 2009, Industry Week Best Plant Award in 2011, and the Association of Energy Engineers New England Chapter’s Best Employee Driven Program Award in 2011. Stolz is a member and frequent presenter at the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Foreign Object Elimination Council and a member of and presenter at the Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association. Stolz received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

Kostian Iftica, Founder, Brilliant Geeks
Kostian Iftica founded the startup IT service company Brilliant Geeks, LLC, in 2007 while working towards his degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, which he completed in 2011. Brilliant Geeks' mission is to help create a brighter future through technology by alleviating the technological frustrations and providing professional and personable support to its users. Brilliant Geeks serves many Boston residents and businesses, and recently has grown its base to serve clients both nationwide and internationally. Iftica began his career with TechBoston, a department of Boston Public Schools, where he pursued and was accepted for an internship as a Tech Apprentice through the Boston Private Industry Council. Through the apprenticeship, he worked at New England Baptist Hospital, assisting in building the infrastructure to store digital medical records, developing communications software, and providing technical support to the doctors and other hospital staff.

Henk Portier, Intern, Engineering Operations, Raytheon Company
Henk Portier has been a serial entrepreneur since attending the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he studied Biology, Biochemistry, Economics, and Electrical and Chemical Engineering. Portier has always loved working with people, and that has been the central theme throughout his various careers. He has a Western (allopathic) and Eastern medicine background. As a graduate of the Navy’s Physician’s Assistant program in San Diego, Portier learned early to holistically and objectively listen to clients, yet also check the facts and present prognoses. The skill sets of being able to see the big picture, comfortable with details, yet empathetic with people, have been used throughout his life and careers in medicine, high technology, human resources, business and personal coaching, business consulting, marketing, and sales. In June 2013, the opportunity arose to return to school through the Veterans Administration. As a Bunker Hill Community College intern, Portier works with Jeff Stolz at the Raytheon Company.