Student combines passions for technology, teaching and IU in new job with UITS

By Brittany Aders | Inside IU Bloomington

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

IU Bloomington senior Steven Thompson will receive his bachelor’s degree in secondary education with minors in political science and history in May. Then, right after graduation, his part-time job as a multimedia support specialist in IUPUI’s University Information Technology Services department will become a full-time position.

Thompson and son
Steven Thompson and his 3-year-old son, Carter.

Thompson has been juggling his job at IUPUI, classes in Bloomington and another tech support job at IU Communications in Bloomington, all while performing the responsibilities of being a single dad to his 3-year-old son Carter, who [sic] he co-parented with Carter's mother.

“I’m really excited about my position with IU,” Thompson said. “I have always wanted to teach and expected to work for Teach for America after graduation, but this career bridges my love for teaching, my love for technology and my passion for Indiana University.”

Thompson’s journey began before he started college at IU. At an early age, his interests were clear.

“I’ve been a tech geek since elementary school,” he said. “In third grade, I worked on my music teacher’s broken printer and I fixed it. Since then, I’ve really been into technology.”

During his freshman year, Thompson got a job as a UITS Technology Center Services consultant. He applied for the job knowing that freshmen were rarely hired, but his drive made him stand out to his employers.

In his sophomore year, Thompson gained tech experience in the UITS support center in Bloomington.

“This experience really prepared me for a job my junior year as a tech support specialist in IU Communications in Bloomington,” he said. “They didn’t teach me every single step, but what I liked about it is that they taught me how to find the tools necessary to research the solutions.”

Then, in the summer before his senior year, Thompson was one of seven students to be invited to visit Rwanda through the Books & Beyond program, a partnership between IU’s Global Village Living-Learning Center and the College of Arts and Sciences. Through the program, IU students worked with K-12 schools in New Jersey to write and publish stories used to help teach English, reading, writing and kinesthetic activities to children in Rwanda.

Thompson with children in Rwanda
Steven Thompson, center, was one of seven students invited to visit Rwanda through the Books & Beyond program in the summer of 2013.

During the fall 2013 semester, Thompson completed his student teaching position at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis -- a requirement for his degree -- while also working in UITS collaboration technology at IUPUI.

“I would student teach during school hours until 4 in the afternoon and work at UITS support center until 9 (at night),” he said.

With everything that Thompson had to accomplish in the past four years, he managed to do it all while being a committed single dad.

“The reality of being a father and trying to do a billion other things is very time-consuming, stressful and nearly impossible,” Thompson said. “But the reward is amazing; coming home to a bouncy 3-year-old.”

His mother, friends and fraternity brothers in Alpha Phi Alpha helped him juggle the multitude of responsibilities on his plate. “The saying ‘It takes a village’ is so true in my case,” Thompson said. “None of my ventures would have been possible without the outpouring of support I’ve received.”

This spring, Thompson worked in Indianapolis three days a week and drove to Bloomington two days a week to complete his final semester of school.

“It’s been a huge struggle, and there have been times when I melted down, but it has been totally worth it in the end to get a job at IU,” he said. “It just goes to show that if you work hard and do a lot to facilitate your passions, even without a formal degree, you can get the job you want.”