Andrea Gamlin

Technology

Just a few years ago (!), I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and from Michigan State University. While at Penn, I studied Labor Relations and decided to enhance my knowledge with a Masters of Labor and Industrial Relations. After graduation, I worked for a transportation company in New York in the Labor Relations department. One day, a new box magically appeared, but no one wanted to go near it. Ever curious, I opened the box, and got to know the new IBM PC – yes, the original, with two floppy drives! Since the company had spent money on this box, I figured our department should put it to good use, and I did.

After a while, I asked to be transferred to the IT department, where I loved working on the help desk with internal clients to have their technology make them more productive. I returned to Labor Relations for another company to negotiate labor contracts, and used the technology I came to love to help improve productivity. While others were using pencils to determine the effects of a wage or benefit increase on a budget, I came up with the answer in a fraction of the time using my trusty IBM PC and a program called Lotus 123 (anyone remember that software?). Okay, at first it didn’t make me Miss Popularity among the guys who had been there for a while. However, once they understood how important technology could be to our department, they came around.

Later, I was placed in charge of developing the drug and alcohol policy for CDL drivers in compliance with the then-new Department of Transportation regulations. It was a great honor to work with the physician who created the regulations under President George Bush. I convinced him to become the first Medical Review Officer and work for the company I represented. Years later, he convinced me to work for his company in sales and training. ACT! sales software, a multi-user database, was relatively new and I jumped all over it. How cool it was to have the entire sales staff access one database of contacts – and be able to retrieve and add contact information on the road!

After my two boys were born, the demands of traveling took a back seat to the love of parenting. Luckily, the technology position at CJDS became available and I am proud to be in my 7th year as the CJDS technology teacher! I am so fortunate to have entered the IT world at its infancy in terms of global use. I’ve used pagers and word processors (unfortunately, they went big AFTER completing my bachelor’s and master’s theses), “shleppable” cell phones and 8-1/4″ floppies, and now Bluetooth devices and my trusty “new” (3) iPad. I’m enjoying sharing my experiences with my students, and teaching and learning from them!

Finally, I’d like to thank my mom, a retired music and 5th grade teacher, who imbued me with the love of teaching, and my dad who gave me the love of always learning. Thanks to my husband, Dave, who always has a smile, a joke and great meals; and to our three amazing kids who regularly enjoy teaching me how to be better at everything, including using technology.

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