Senior Reflects: Donald Ivy Jr. Shares How Rowan Supported His Career Aspirations

DJ standing under Engineering Building

Donald “DJ” Ivy Jr. recently graduated from Rowan University in December 2020 with his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He is from Browns Mills, NJ (Burlington County) and transferred from Rowan College at Burlington County.

Could you please share your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes?

One of my favorite classes that I would tell anyone to take is Computer Lab Techniques. It’s a class anyone can take because it teaches you all the ins and outs of shortcuts on the computer. We’re required to take it as Computer Science majors, but I think it’s a more universal class for anybody who wants to learn more about computers. We learned directories and even how to program a clock, like the ones found in microwaves. 

Could you please share your favorite social memory?

I made a lot of friends in Robinson, specifically in the computer lab. When I transferred to Rowan, I was already a junior and knew that there were already established friend groups made with people who have been here since freshman year. I’m a pretty shy person, so it took me a couple months; but once I opened up, my friends and I started going to the events at the Student Center. In high school and community college, I didn’t know a lot of Computer Science majors, so it’s been so cool meeting so many new people with the same major as me. 

DJ sitting on a bench outside Robinson Hall

What are your career aspirations?

I was fortunate enough to find a job right after college. I’m currently working at McKesson, we’re a pharmaceutical distribution company, but I want to do more. I want to work for a bigger company or maybe try and do a start-up, but that I need the experience first, I can’t just make a business out of nowhere. I have thought about coming back to Rowan to get an engineering degree. Computer science deals a lot with the software of computers and applications, and I want to be more well-rounded and involved in what the computers actually do and would want to know how to fix a computer if it ever breaks. 

How did the people or programs at Rowan help to support you with your professional growth or career aspirations?

My advisor, Mike Schillo, was a really big part of getting me on the right path and figuring out what I wanted to do within my major. There are a lot of computer science classes that all count towards graduation, but if you wanted to specialize in something specific they have a lot of different avenues you could take. 

Do you want to give a thank you shout out to your family, friends, advisors or mentors?

I want to thank my parents and shout out to two friends who also went to Rowan but I have lost contact with: Joe Barton and Siobhan McGuinness. They were two people in my life who made me want to come to Rowan in the first place. 

DJ sitting inside Engineering building

Who is your favorite professor and what class did you take them for? 

Professor Mansaray, I took him for Software Development. He was such a down-to-earth guy and very straightforward. He let us in about everything we’ll need to know. He made all my worries about post-graduation just go away. He told us to build up a portfolio, and what’s so nice about my program is that we do so many projects that by the time we leave, we already have things to put in a portfolio. 

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen or transfers about making the most out of their college experience?

Focus on what you really want out of life, this is the time to do it.

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, senior public relations and advertising major

Photos by:
Joe Gentempo, senior art major