Student Profile: Cameron J. Yesconis

Cameron J. Yesconis had planned to become a music teacher, but he reevaluated his career options after seeing many school districts slashing their arts budgets.

“Music was my passion, but I enjoy technology, and it’s a thriving field. I decided if I’m going to get a successful job later on, I should go into technology,” said Yesconis, 21, of New Cumberland. He transferred to Harrisburg University in Fall 2012 and plans to graduate in 2016 with a degree in computer and information sciences.

Yesconis is impressed that Harrisburg University has so much influence even as such a new institution. Pennsylvania state government agencies want the university to develop computer applications for them and several companies have established internship programs with H.U., he said.

Yesconis’ summer internship blossomed into a job; now he is a business analyst for Highmark Inc.

“They built an office in our school, on our 10th floor,” he said. “It’s going to be 10 Highmark employees, 10 Computer Aid Incorporated employees and 10 students. We are actually paid.”

Thanks to his professional work through the university, Yesconis can picture himself becoming a business analyst, then a project manager, then a director of projects, he said.

A business analyst builds computer applications, Yesconis said. “I interpret information in terms that the software engineers can understand, then I’m that gateway back to the business side when the software engineers finish their work,” he said.

As a project manager he would make sure everyone was doing their jobs. A director of projects would oversee numerous projects.

A class project that’s grabbed Yesconis’ interest is an aquaponics computer program he and his classmates built in their Programming 2 class. It’s a big plastic container filled with rocks and plants and a hose running down to bottom where there are fish, he explained.

He and his teammate programmed the system to control water flow, water cycle speed, filters and lights. Their program even alerts students if there’s improper computer code.

“I enjoy that because it’s an ongoing project. I can check on the fish and check that my program is running properly. Soon we’ll be able to do that from our laptops,” he said.

A company offered Harrisburg University the use of its system to see if students could come up with innovations, he said.

Yesconis is very supportive of other students, always working hard on team projects and encouraging his partners to do the same, said Mehei Noorbaksh, coordinator of general eduction at Harrisburg University and associate professor of international affairs.

While Yesconis is serious about school, he shows his funny side in class, Noorbaksh said.

“He is always smiling and having a good sense of humor. That is what I love,” the professor said “He is one of the funniest, always laughing.”

Yesconis appreciates the chance to get to know his professors and classmates in an intimate setting. At the larger university he first attended, he had to speak with teaching assistants instead of professors and he felt too separated from his teachers.

At Harrisburg, “I know every professor I’ve ever had. They know me. The professors and students get along and we’re not just sitting in lecture halls getting lectured. They’re always willing to talk if they are in their offices,” he said.

He likes the university’s diversity, too.

“We have a lot of people from different cultures and mindsets,” he said. “That diversity helps a lot on teams, in classrooms and in clubs. Having four years of that under your belt will help a lot in the real world.”

Yesconis, who received the alumni award scholarship every year, has loved playing with his classmates on sports teams in Harrisburg Young Professionals sports leagues from dodgeball to flag football, kickball and volleyball.

With such a passion for Harrisburg University, Yesconis has inspired his younger brother, Caulin, to come there, too. He is studying computer information security.