Taking the Tech World by Storm: One Click at a Time

Information Science Junior Joey Ripley has been fascinated with technology and computers since he was young. After his childhood friend helped him build his first computer in high school, he discovered a passion for problem solving and knew he wanted to enter the tech world. 

Getting to help others through his summer internship, he said, is just another one of the many reasons he’s certain he’s in the right field.  

“I’m working at Semblex as an information systems intern,” Ripley said. “I focus on software and helping users diagnose issues within technology. I’ve taken on a broader, more general IT role and I do just about everything IT for the company.”  

Ripley has been able to fulfill both his thirst for problem solving as well as his desire to use his talents to assist others. Resolving software-related issues users experience all through an online ticketing system is a main component of his job.  

“We have a ticketing system where users can report any issues they have to the IT department,” he said. “My level is the most basic, so basic issues come to me. It’s all about diagnosing issues users may have and it feels really nice to help those people out.” 

Semblex, a car fastener manufacturer based just outside of Chicago, has created a positive work environment for their employees, Ripley said. It’s also created an environment where opportunities for growth are abundant. 

 “I’ve worked in IT in the past, but this has been an eye-opener,” he said. “Semblex has exposed me to different areas of the field, given me more knowledge of different areas and broadened my skill set. There’s also a good culture in the company and they treat their employees really well. There’s a bond with everybody in the IT department which is something I find really special.”  

While job hunting, many students work to land the ideal internship–one that perfectly aligns their skills, preferred location and career goals. Much like this lofty, and sometimes unattainable goal, the biggest lesson Ripley learned from his internship is that the easiest or most straightforward solution isn’t always the right one.  

“Your initial thought process isn’t always correct,” he said. “I’ve learned from my internship that the most obvious or simple solution is not the correct solution, to adjust and to pan out multiple options. Instead of jumping headfirst into one solution, weigh out all solutions.” 

While Ripley’s internship has given him plenty of beneficial career experience, not everything about it is exactly ideal. An unfortunate requirement of this internship was moving to Chicago and away from his loved ones.  

“It’s been difficult not being close to my friends, family and girlfriend,” he said. “That’s what I’ve struggled with so far. I’ve never taken such a big step to be so far away from them. Don’t get me wrong–I’m very grateful to have the opportunity, but it was pretty scary at first.” 

However, after being awarded the Career Center internship award, he’s able to use those funds to see his family and friends more often, thus mending this frustrating challenge. 

“Living out in the Chicago area isn’t the cheapest thing,” he said. “But the money has made it easy for me to travel back and forth between here and home. It’s made seeing them way more affordable and been a huge help in that sense.” 

Regardless of these struggles, Ripley is continuing on the IT path and hopes that this internship will be a stepping stone to something bigger–booming tech companies, to be specific.  

“My dream is to work for a larger tech company like Google or Amazon,” he said. “I’d love to work my way up to a high position where I’d get to work with technologies I wouldn’t otherwise be able to. I want to be in a position where I can help people and make a change.” 


By Stella Govitz