Alumni Interviews — Sarah Whited (’02)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each spring we publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we post interviews with our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Sarah Whited (’02). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.

What year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I graduated in 2002 via BIC. I majored in English Literature with a minor in music theory.

What has been your journey since graduating from Baylor? What are you doing currently for work/career?

After school, I worked at the Spirit Shop / Baylor Bookstore and the Waco Public Library for a year while going to grad school online from UNT. During my online courses, I got a job with Texas State University at the Alkek Library. I got my Masters in Library and Information Science in 2005, and became a fulltime librarian at Cedar Park Public Library where I stayed until 2014. I enjoyed the career, but after many years it became repetitive and I had no prospects for advancement or wage improvement. Throughout my time as a librarian, I found that I could almost always resolve technical issues that we had with our public and staff computers, and I became the “computer girl” of the library. When I expressed interest in getting a basic IT certification to our city IT department, they gave me a non-working desktop computer to disassemble and play with. That year, I got my A+ certification, started work at Fry’s Electronics, and within 7 months became assistant manager and one of the best custom build and repair technicians on the team.

Less than 2 years later when I applied to Dell corporate, I had no experience with datacenters, servers, or virtualization software, but my spicy and unconventional cover letter, which illustrated my adaptive mind and curiosity about technology, landed me a position in Dell’s High Complexity Virtualization Enterprise department. I leaped into the world of incredibly complex server support and diagnostics with zest, studying hard and quickly mastering all the elements of Enterprise-level datacenters. I supported all kinds of customers, from AT&T and the Chicago Mercantile Stock Exchange to hospitals and universities (even Baylor!) to mom & pop shops with advanced support contracts.

Early this year I was approached by a former contact at Dell who wanted me on his team at the new Dell Medical School (DMS) at the University of Texas. The role was right up my alley: project-driven, back-end architecture design and implementation for cutting edge technology at DMS, a revolutionary and unique amalgamation of hospital, clinic, research lab, and school. I was “headhunted” hard, and of course I said yes! I am now one of three Senior System Administrators for DMS, and I’m helping design the future of healthcare.

What do you enjoy most about your work–or what is something you are currently excited about in your work?

I am incredibly excited to be using my talents to revolutionize healthcare for the future. Not only do I feel like my life has meaning because I’m contributing to the betterment of humanity, but I’m also constantly learning new skills and keeping my mind young and flexible.

How has your BIC education influenced your life and/or work since leaving Baylor?

I can’t express how much richer BIC has made my worldview. Humans are incredibly good at pattern recognition, but in normal classrooms, each subject is broken apart into separate disciplines so you never get the big picture. In BIC, it was amazing to see the interrelation between so many different facets of our existence. When you take the different slices of humanity – mathematics, sciences, history, economics, literature, and so on – and you put those layers on top of each other, you can see a much bigger picture. You can see the patterns of humanity, the cycles and dependencies and interrelations, and it makes the world a much richer place. Going through BIC isn’t something you should take lightly because it means that you have a much deeper understanding of the world, and because of that, you can’t just sit idly and watch the world go by. In the immortal words of Spider-man, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

My friends. I was one of the rebels. I never fit in with the “normal” Baylorite girls. When you’re in a place where the majority of people fit into a certain mold, the outliers gravitate to each other and bond much stronger. Our core group has stayed in contact over the years, and when I got married earlier this year, my friends from Baylor made the trek from Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio to come together and celebrate with me. Friends for life!

Is there something you learned in BIC that still sticks with you today?

There are many different ways of living and each of them is valid and valuable. We shouldn’t strive to make everyone conform to a certain ideal; we should strive instead to preserve individuality. We are responsible for our society, and WE are responsible for the way things are.

What are your goals for the future?

I’m going to keep striving to improve humanity in whatever capacity I can.

Do you have any advice for current BIC students?

Pay attention. Don’t get caught up in your own private struggles or victories so much that you lose focus. BIC can help you understand the world we live in. Remember that this is YOUR world, not some incomprehensible political, economic, or technological machine.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Do your best always. Don’t get discouraged. You are privileged and lucky, so try to help those who are not as well-off.

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