IT Profile: Meet Jenny Witt

By Randy Hollowell, information technology services

When most of us think about visiting a Caribbean island, the first thing that probably comes to mind is relaxing on a beach, toes in the sand, and a cold drink in our hand. On a recent visit to the island of Anguilla, those thoughts were secondary for Jenny Witt, an Analyst II at Miami’s IT Services Support Desk.

Anguilla is located in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin. For Witt, this was not her first time visiting the small British territory. “I have an Anguillan friend who had organized a program to obtain some computers for the school kids there, most of whom have no access to computers,” she said.Jenny Witt standing outside of her office

So on her return trip, she did not come empty-handed. “I was able to donate two computers and also took a lot of school supplies with me,” she noted. According to Witt the schools there need a lot of what we consider basic school supplies: items such as pencils, sharpeners, rulers, and dry erase markers.

During this second visit to the very small island, Witt got to see the need in person. “My friend took me in person to visit the schools, where I was able to visit many classrooms and meet many teachers and school children,” she said. “It was so much fun, and the kids were so excited.”

Witt said the visit to the schools really impacted her greatly. “We would ask ‘Who wants a pencil?’ and they would all smile and wave their hands in the air.”

Not only did Witt deliver supplies to assist with the educational process in Anguilla, she also dropped some knowledge on the students. “They also had many questions for me about education and college in the States, and I could have talked to these bright young people all day.”

Assisting those that need help is nothing new to Witt. In fact, that is mostly what her job is about. “I provide technical support via phone, email, and chat for the entire University,” she says. “I am responsible for resolving incidents, fulfilling service requests, and identifying and handling service outages.”

The Support Desk was not Witt’s first stop when she began working at Miami. “Prior to working in IT Services at Miami, I worked in Access Services at King Library as a Circulation Desk Supervisor.” Before Miami, Witt worked in a variety of fields, doing all kinds of different tasks. “In the past, I have worked as the activities director at a nursing home, bookseller, blueberry picker, barista, Avon representative, mystery shopper, donut maker, photo developer, and Zoology lab assistant.” Literally the A - Z of jobs.

Witt’s educational experience is similarly diverse, receiving her A.S. in Computer Science from Indiana University, and a B.A. in psychology from Miami. While at IU she also worked as a math tutor and supplemental instructor for computer science.

Witt also has a diverse set of hobbies, enjoying everything from fishing to science fiction, playing the piano to traveling, along with computing and aquaria.

But it is the kids in Anguilla that made a lasting impression on Witt. “I received many hugs that day when we visited the school. I later found out that some of the kids went home and told their parents all about meeting me. I was touched by the experience and fell in love with those kids.”

There is another teaching area on the island that Witt is hoping to make an impact with in the future. “My friend also runs the Marine Life Education Foundation which includes taking the children on field trips on his glass-bottomed boat. I am interested in assisting with this program and may have the opportunity to help out,” she said.

She also noted that there are opportunities for anyone within the Miami community to help, and if you are interested, just let her know.

I wouldn’t bet against Witt going back there again either. “I intend to continue helping by gathering supplies, donations, etc. I am especially interested in getting them computers, naturally,” she says with a smile.