The Herald, Sharon, PA Published Sunday, Feb. 11, 2001
outlook 2001


Web and flow of life draws students back

By Sherris Moreira-Byers
Herald Staff Writer

The typical student in the Webmaster certificate program at Penn State Universityís Shenango Campus arenít squeezing in classes between Greek rush parties or all-night cram sessions.

Theyíre fitting them between getting the kids to school, going to their jobs, house and yard work to become more competitive in the workplace or to open a sideline business.

"You have to keep learning," said Sherry Romanio, of New Castle, who gave her age as "over 30". "Employees look favorably on it, which is why I keep taking more classes."

Mrs. Romanio, a clerical worker in the tax office of the city of New Castle, is one of 15 students in the new program, which is drawing predominately non-traditional students, or those over the typical 18-22 age group.

"Previously, a 4-year degree was the way to go, then your learning was done," said Community Outreach Coordinator, Chuck Greggs. "But things are changing so rapidly, that itís get on the train or it will run you over. These classes help people keep up with the times."

Keeping up with the latest technology is one of the main reasons the "non-trads" are taking the Webmaster course.

Thatís why Phil Foster, 41, of Hermitage, and a Systems Analyst with Werner Co., Greenville, is taking the class.

"I like to keep my skills current. In programming you have to keep up your skills," he said. "The programming language Iím using at work may be obsolete in a couple of years."

Foster explained that his company is working on a whole new computer system which will be ready in about a year.

"When we eventually get around to Web projects at work, Iíll be ready. Iíll already have my skill level built up," he said.

Another reason people are learning a new technology language is to make extra money on the side or go into a different field all together.

Skip Tribby, 55, a telephone installer who lives in New Wilmington, decided to take the class because of his personal interest in Web pages and the possibility of going into business with his daughter.

"Iíve reached my 30 years with the phone company, and though Iím looking at it as a hobby, I could see it becoming a home business," said Tribby.

Working on Web pages as a side line business and creating a Web page for her job is part of Mary Beth Hugheyís motivation.

"I like computers and thought this would really be interesting," said the 44-year old orthodontist assistant from Hermitage. "I thought maybe Iíd make one for my office. You have to know a lot about computers today."

Foster and Mrs. Romanio also see the program as a way to add to their lives as well.

"Iím also doing this for fun, to do things for my church or a friend or my family," Foster said.

"A lot of people I know have second jobs to bring in extra money. Working out of your home is very popular nowadays," Mrs. Romanio said. "Iím a real beginner with computers in this aspect, but weíre learning a whole lot."

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