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Real-World Experience

By Destination Z posted Mon December 23, 2019 03:35 PM


Ten winners were named in the seventh-annual IBM Destination z Enterprise Computing Scholarship in January. To participate, students had to demonstrate excellence in their enterprise computing coursework as well as plans for continued growth on the mainframe in their academic and professional careers.

“It is amazing to work with such great students from around the country and see their passion for the enterprise systems space through their scholarship entries,” says Troy D Crutcher, IBM Academic Initiative, z Systems. “This scholarship is a great way to help keep their passion alive, and to help them to connect with all of the different companies that help to contribute each year.”

The 10 recipients of the 2014 scholarship are:

  • Linsey Kunzler, Marist College
  • Jenna Shae Banks, Marist College
  • Kevin Matesi, Northern Illinois University
  • Tia Pope, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Ben Miller, West Texas A&M
  • Travis Strubing, Northern Illinois University
  • Brent Goss, West Texas A&M
  • Christian Purvis, North Carolina A&T University
  • Matthew Leon, Northern Illinois University
  • Goujun Liu, West Texas A&M University

Linsey Kunzler received $1,000 when she was named the winner of the Greg Zaubi Memorial Scholarship, which is the top scholarship awarded. 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.

Kunzler is a Marist College senior majoring in liberal studies with concentrations in enterprise systems and professional studies. She graduates in May.

Already a z/OS junior systems programmer for a federal government organization, Kunzler says she has gained a wealth of knowledge of z Systems and z/OS at work, from hardware upgrades to z/OS installation. She started at a help desk as an operator, dealing with the mainframe working with batch scheduling, JCL and performing IPLs. “I really enjoyed working with the mainframe because of how different it was than the other platforms,” she notes.

She has also directly participated in and supported four hardware upgrades in the past two years, currently working on a team that supports seven CPUs hosting more than 40 LPARs. She has also had the opportunity to rotate to different teams to get a feel for each, from storage administration to automated operations, and now to executive software working with z/OS.

She has taken classes that directly apply to what she is doing at work: “For instance, I have been working to upgrade z/OS from 1.13 to 2.1 and during the upgrade I was fortunate enough to be taking a z/OS installation course at Marist College,” she says. “There have been many instances of this type of direct application of knowledge in my current career, which has greatly helped me speed up the rate at which I’m learning to become a z/OS systems programmer.”

Kunzler stays involved in enterprise computing beyond school and work. A winner of Part 1 and Part 2 in Master the Mainframe the past three years, she says the experience has been great. “It gave me the chance to experience something different than what I have been doing at my job and really showed me a different side of the mainframe that I hadn't experienced firsthand before,” she says.

During SHARE in Anaheim in 2014, she received a JES2 Boot Camp Certificate for participating in sessions. Kunzler enjoyed her first SHARE conference. “It was really fun way to learn about some things I hadn't really had time to get into, but wanted to understand better,” she explains. “I think one of the first sessions I went to was about language environment and there were so many 'A-ha!' moments. The other great aspect of SHARE is meeting new people and realizing just how important the mainframe is to so many.”

Having a community of like-minded people is something Kunzler says she appreciates. “There are so many great people that are willing to share knowledge and help you when you need it,” she adds. “Everyone I work with has been so patient with me.”

Winning the scholarship has made Kunzler “feel validated that hard work really does pay off. I want to say thank you to all the sponsors of this scholarship, you really are making a big difference in my life on many levels.”

This year’s scholarship sponsors include Vicom Infinity, Rocket Software, INNOVATION Data Processing and IBM.

IBM Innovation
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Rocket Software Vicom Infinity
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Valerie Dennis is site editor of