Posted: Monday Nov 21, 2011
Inspired by the New York Herald Tribune’s Roger Kahn who wrote a popular memoir, The Boys of Summer, about his relationship with his father and their love for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Dr. Anthony Serapiglia was sure he wanted a career in sports writing.
“But my father wanted me to be an attorney so we split the difference and I pursued study in physics because I enjoyed it and found it easy to understand,” he explained. “I found my ability to communicate science in an understandable fashion became a skill that I developed while I was an undergraduate at Allegheny College. I also became involved with the campus radio station where I could pursue my love of jazz and all of a sudden I was the news director and then the general manager.” What started as a summer job at the former WDUQ-FM in Pittsburgh soon led to his first regular job as a radio DJ with his own show – Jazz in the Afternoon – while he completed his education.
After he earned a bachelor of arts degree, Dr. Serapiglia started teaching high school physics as a substitute until a “temp service” offered him a challenging job in computing with an oil drilling company that required extensive use of global internet research. At the same time, he decided to pursue a master’s degree in communication and information systems at Robert Morris University.
He moved to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as webmaster just as the worldwide web was coming to life. “We built a new website, PittsburghLive, and branched out into the new media while I was there. We were supporting seven newspapers and 13 different offices. Mixing old and new media was quite a challenge!”
He had an opportunity to join an Internet service provider, Nauticom, when that part of the industry was starting to boom. “I helped them develop the ability to process credit card orders which was a major service expansion and a great revenue generator. I learned a lot about the computing services industry during my five years there.”
Working as a consultant for PC Network Services expanded his knowledge of that area of the computing world. “I was the lead project manager,” he said, “and spent several years flying all over the country providing managed services to companies and organizations including aircraft, manufacturing, international business, even law firms. I absolutely loved it.”
After eight years of teaching college courses as an adjunct professor part time, he decided to return to his original plan to be a teacher, joining the Computing and Information Science Department in the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing as assistant professor of computing and information science at Saint Vincent College.
He is teaching two basic programming classes for freshmen and advanced networking and database course for juniors and seniors. “I really enjoy exciting other people, seeing them pick it up and get that spark,” he said. “I get to make a difference in young peoples’ lives and I get to see what they become. And I like to integrate all of my varied experience into my teaching – even jazz.”
He is currently involved in a research project involving communications technology. “I presented a paper at the Information Systems Educators Conference (ISECON) in Wilmington, North Carolina November 3-6. I have published twice with them previously. This paper involves methods of communication outside of the classroom that teachers have been using. It is a longitudinal study that involved a survey at another college to see the methods teachers would use such as email, instant messaging, social media and all these other platforms where the students are. As a professor it is where we need to be. I am also on a panel for the conference that will discuss integrating social networking into the classroom.”
Dr. Serapiglia reports that the career prospects in the computing field are unlimited. “I talk to my peers in the information technology industry and they all tell me they have open positions but cannot find qualified people to fill them,” he said. “They always have openings. I want to make sure students coming out of my classroom are the ones they will want to hire. I know the skills they need. The internships we do here are fantastic. They put students in an excellent position to succeed by getting something on their resumes that will be meaningful.”
A native of McKees Rocks, he and his wife, Wendy, now live in the North Hills with their two children, Amanda, 10, and Alex, 3. In his spare time, he still enjoys playing baseball in a “38 and over” wooden bat league and fencing. He is a member of St. Sebastian’s R.C. Church.
Photo: Dr. Anthony Serapiglia