Sapna Sitapara graduated from high school before entering the workforce as a sales associate at a retail store. With the support from her parents and loved ones, she waited a year before launching her military aspirations. A 91B in the Army, she worked as a mechanic in Germany at the Rhine Ordnance Barracks in Kaiserslautern where she learned valuable leadership skills and quickly adapted to working long shifts within a motor pool. It was the value of an organization in a tight-knit group that taught her communication and the ability to quickly adapt to working long shifts. . Later on, Sitapara was assigned to the Armory, where  she worked alongside military police inventoryingM4 and M9 guns and ammo (in her early 20s, she was accountable for millions of dollars of equipment and working a demanding schedule). Not many people can handle on-call shifts, but Sitapara pulled 24-hour shifts every other day. This demanding level of work helped her develop structure which translated in to her time as a student.

Penn State University, a school renowned for Computer Science, attracted Sitapara because of its flexible remote learning campus and helpful Veterans office. The staff helped her sign up within five to 10 minutes, and she was able to enroll quickly upon leaving the Army. 

Transitioning to civilian life was made easier using the GI bill. Sitapara was able to focus on what she wanted to do by working out and committing her schedule to being a full-time student. “The Army really shaped my career and in college – group-oriented projects and leadership learned from being in the Army helped me. It’s about managing time and speaking with people,” Sitapara said.

Sitapara spent time on integration and application and front-end disciplines in her pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology. Taking classes back-to-back, she will graduate early next semester and hopes to work in Cybersecurity and Web Content Management. Sitapara currently helps the Web Content Management team at Digital Media Engagement (DME).

Her User Experience (UX)/User Interface (UI) fluency in WordPress allows her to apply her expertise learned at Penn State to her current internship. Interested in learning more? We are looking for computer-savvy volunteers to join our team at DME! Apply now at: https://www.dmeinterns.org/volunteers/

Writer: Alexis White

Editors: Annabelle Colton, Julia Pack

Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley