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Enabling Future Mainframers

By Destination Z posted Mon December 23, 2019 03:34 PM


Five winners have been awarded the eighth annual IBM Destination z Enterprise Computing Scholarship. Jeremy Delossantos of West Texas A&M University received the top award, the Greg Zaubi Memorial Scholarship. Zaubi was a Marist College systems programmer who spent the latter part of his career connecting thousands of students and professors worldwide to z Systems, through the mainframe Knowledge Center hub.

To be considered for the scholarship, students must have demonstrated excellence in their enterprise computing coursework, with plans for continued growth on the mainframe platform in their academic and professional careers. They must attend a post-secondary school in the U.S. that’s both a member of the IBM Academic Initiative and Destination z.

The recipients of the 2016 scholarship are:

  • Jeremy Delossantos, West Texas A&M University
  • Derek Garrity, Northern Illinois University
  • Ari Kenney, University of California, Berkeley
  • James O’Brien, Marist College
  • Shikandar Hoque, Touro College
"The Destination z Scholarship allows us the opportunity to showcase and award our students who are working toward a degree in the enterprise systems field.” says Troy Crutcher, IBM Academic Initiative, z Systems. “Each of these students has shown great passion and excitement for continued learning in this field."

A Successful Future

Delossantos is pursuing a degree in computer science, enterprise systems track, and a minor in math. He anticipates to graduate May 2018. He first learned about mainframes about 15 years ago while reading an article about how retiring baby boomers that work on the mainframe would leave a vacuum of necessity for their replacement. It also spoke of the need to train a younger generation in these skills, as not many universities at the time taught mainframe courses.

“I remember thinking that if I could go back in time, I would have loved to study this area in computer science,” says Delossantos, a nontraditional student. “When I made the decision to go to college, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the college I chose offered an enterprise systems track. I knew exactly then that I would be able to pursue the dream that I had thought about so long ago.”

When he got to West Texas A&M University and began working with mainframes, Delossantos was amazed by the precision and computing power that the system holds. To this day, he’s inspired by what the mainframe can do. At school when he’s working on the mainframe with his classmates. “it handles any job that we sent its way without skipping a beat”

Delossantos is honored to receive the top award. “It’s a blessing to receive this scholarship. It solidifies and promotes my passion and decision to pursue mainframes as a career,” he says.

Right now, Delossantos is focusing on his studies. As far as next steps after college, “I am soaking in every mainframe course that’s offered and hope that when I finish my studies I will see a place where my skills will be needed in the job market at that time.”

He isn’t the only one focusing on taking it all in for the future. “My nine-year-old son already programs and wants to follow in my footsteps as a programmer,” he notes. “What an honor it is to learn these skills myself and to also pass to the next generation as well.”

With knowledge and interest like that, the future of enterprise computing looks promising.

Learn More

This year’s scholarship sponsors include IBM, Innovation Data Processing, Rocket Software and Vicom Infinity. The Destination z community looks forward to continuing to encourage the next generation of enterprise systems professionals. Learn more about the scholarship and how to help contribute funding for the next generation of enterprise systems professionals.

Valerie Dennis is site editor of