Stefan Giconi ’14, a software engineer for Truefit in Pittsburgh, attributes his success in designing, building, and supporting custom software solutions to Pitt-Johnstown and its dedicated faculty.
A Formula for Success:
"Take the expert knowledge and credibility of the University of Pittsburgh,
"subtract the distractions and chaos of the city,
"shrink the average class size,
"and add a personal relationship with each of your professors.
"Add some astounding scenery, and you have Pitt-Johnstown!"
— Stefan Giconi '14
“I graduated with honors (BA, computer science) and the courses gave me a solid foundation of practical skills that I use daily,” he said. “Aside from teaching the basic - and advanced - concepts required in the software development industry, Pitt-Johnstown gave me the tools and methodology necessary to abstract this knowledge and apply it to new concepts. It is with this knowledge that I'm able to grow and learn every day.
“This allows me to remain both competitive and, perhaps more importantly, continually interested in my field.”
Giconi credits a consistent source for his success in the demanding curriculum.
“The Pitt-Johnstown faculty were wonderful. Whether inside or outside of my discipline, each professor that I encountered felt passionate and insightful about their subject. I'm thankful for every professor that I encountered: Patricia Hagerich, Sandro Marchegiani, Frank Smigla, James Bilitski, and the entirety of the CS Department,” he said.
“Each of the professors in this department have provided me with a bit of knowledge that I take with me daily, and have, at the core, given me the skills that I need to succeed.”
While his niche was in computer programming at Pitt-Johnstown, Giconi also received expert guidance when stepping away from that comfort zone.
“Eric Schwerer, of the English Department’s creative writing and poetry classes helped me to unlock my creative side, and have kept me reading and writing poetry, even today. Finally, a special shout-out to Jeremy Justus, of the English Department who helped me to explore the world of digital humanities, a previously unknown and foreign concept to me. His unique teaching style and astounding vocabulary help my interest in every single class, and always had me diving deeper into the day's lesson. He gave me the opportunity to share some of this knowledge in a presentation to faculty and potential UPJ students.”
While an undergrad, Stefan co-founded the E-Sports Club and served as its vice president, participated in the Role-Playing Games Club for tabletop gaming, and volunteered as a tutor, helping both majors and non-majors with programming courses.
Stefan, a graduate of Plum High School in Allegheny County, notes that his decision to attend Pitt-Johnstown was not difficult.
“First, there's the name,” he said. “We all know of the University of Pittsburgh, a well-accredited academic institution that's helped to change the world in so many ways. Whether your interest lies purely in studies, or is more geared toward sports and extra-curricular activities, the University of Pittsburgh has something to offer for each of its students.
“The second thing that caught my attention was the scenery. The campus itself is beautiful, with the colorful autumn leaves and spacious, but accessible, grounds lending to the campus's charm. At the time, I wasn't very much interested in the loud and bustling city campus, and UPJ was an excellent alternative.”
A software engineer's skillset features the use of scientific analyses and mathematical models to predict and measure outcomes and consequences. Through a similar perspective, Stefan offers a formula for success:
“Take the expert knowledge and credibility of the University of Pittsburgh, subtract the distractions and chaos of the city, shrink the average class size, and add a personal relationship with each of your professors. Add some astounding scenery, and you have Pitt-Johnstown!”