OIT Spotlight: Guillermo Vasquez, Linux & Research Technology Specialist

In this month’s OIT Spotlight, we meet Guillermo Vasquez, the Linux & Research Technology Specialist for Academic Technology Services.

Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from?

Guillermo VasquezMy name is Guillermo Vasquez, and I’m a natural researcher, a technology enthusiast, and an amateur photographer. I’m also a Linux professional and a cyber-security expert with specializations that include ethical hacking and technology forensics investigation. I was born to a loving family of farmers in the heart of Chihuahua, Mexico. I consider Linux to be my first language. Continue reading OIT Spotlight: Guillermo Vasquez, Linux & Research Technology Specialist

Meet the New IT Training Team

2015 was a year of transition for OIT’s IT Training & Communication team. Now that we are fully staffed we wanted to take a moment to introduce ourselves. We’re eager to serve you and hope we can meet you in one of our workshops soon!

Laurene Klassen

Laurene KlassenLaurene Klassen, Manager of IT Training & Communication has been with IT for the past seven years.  She recently became a Microsoft Certified Trainer and holds her Microsoft Office Specialist Master certification.  In addition to Microsoft courses, she often provides instruction for new system rollouts such as Concur and Selectica. In addition, she provides ongoing training for my.SMU.

“One of the things I enjoy most is helping people work smarter and more efficiently. I love learning new technology shortcuts and time savers and enjoy passing those on to our colleagues,” Laurene shared.

Prior to working in IT Training, Laurene worked with in Development and External Affairs.  She holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Dallas Baptist University and a Master of Liberal Arts from SMU.  Laurene is a native of Massachusetts but is a Texan at heart.

Ian Aberle

Ian AberleIan Aberle is an IT Communications Specialist and Trainer for the IT Training & Communication team. Ian is responsible for much of OIT’s digital communications, graphics, and social media. Ian provides various training classes/initiatives with expertise in SMU’s Web Content Management System (Sitecore), web design, SMU’s digital signage solution (Appspace), and various tools in the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.

“I love helping others to find creative solutions for their needs”, Ian recently commented.

Before joining the OIT  IT Training & Communication team last year, Ian served as the Manager of Multimedia & Web Development for Academic Technology Services for over 10 years and managed the students of the SMU STAR Program since 2001. During that time, Ian assisted faculty and staff with digital media, blogs, podcasting, and other Web 2.0 technologies. He also provides training and guidance with software and technologies, such as the Adobe Creative Suite and Apple Final Cut Studio. These skills have made a wonderful addition to the OIT Communications Team.

In his free time, Ian likes to spend time taking photos and road trips with family. You can see the outcomes of both on his site at ianaberle.com.

Zach Peterson

Zach PetersonZach Peterson, who has worked for the Help Desk since 2012, has recently transitioned to the IT Training & Communication team as a Training Specialist!

You may have spoken to Zach by calling the OIT Help Desk. Now, he will begin teaching several courses on Box, Sitecore, Qualtrics, and other services as we kick off our 2016 training sessions. He’s already jumped in with both feet by launching our Canvas training and compiling documentation and tutorials on various applications.

Zach commented, “I’m really excited to be starting this new position where I can continue doing what I love: teaching people how to use all of the amazing IT resources SMU provides. Plus, I look forward to meeting the people I’ve spoken on the phone with in person!”

Before working at SMU, Zach worked for the University of North Texas on both their Denton and Dallas campuses in both technical and customer support positions. He also has K-12 IT experience from his time at Northwest ISD near Fort Worth. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Radio, Television & Film from UNT and is currently studying towards a Master of Liberal Studies degree here at SMU. He grew up in Valley View, Texas.


lyndaCampusLynda.com is one of the newest members of the IT training team. Lynda.com brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from hundreds of accomplished teachers and recognized industry experts to us through lyndaCampus. lyndaCampus provided thousands of hours of training to institutions around the world, including more than half of the Fortune 50 companies, all branches of the U.S. military, and 31 state governments. Through the lyndaCampus website, available at smu.edu/Lynda, you can access a vast online library of instructional videos covering the latest software, creative, and business skills – day or night.

Photos © Hillsman Stuart Jackson/SMU. Used with permission. 

We are excited to announce the new IT Help Desk team! 

IT Help Desk Staff 2015In conjunction with the transitions to Shared Services, several positions were allocated to the Help Desk team in order to provide full time staff on site seven days a week.  We are pleased to announce that all positions are now filled!  We’d like to introduce you to our entire help desk team ready to serve your technical support needs.

Lauren Nelson has been with SMU for several years, and has transitioned into the role of Help Desk Manager.  In her different roles on campus over the past few years, her focus has been on providing excellent service, and she looks forward to continuing to support the SMU community and the Help Desk team in her new role.

Shanta Ball previously worked with Apple for several years, and after a short time there, she was promoted to Trainer for her store and market. Thankfully, Shanta has decided to join our team to help us support the SMU community. During her spare time, Shanta volunteers at Children’s hospital twice a week, and loves music.  She enjoys finding new artists, and her “unashamed addictions right now include Adele and Justin Bieber.”  She can also play five different instruments (flute, piccolo, oboe, saxophone, and piano).

Byron Craig also worked previously with Apple, and is “passionate about technology.”  He loves photography, and has previously shot with the NBA, NFL and MMA athletes. In addition, Byron believes that “growth and knowledge are important,” and plans on taking classes here at SMU.  He has two daughters, Paiten and Arianna, and recently transitioned back to Texas. We are thrilled to have him on the team, and know that he will provide amazing support to SMU.

Margaret Dew recently joined us from Cox, and has been an SMU staff member for almost 25 years!  She has an MA in Anthropology from SMU, and a BA in Anthropology from UIUC, and grew up in Nebraska and Northwest Illinois.  She is involved in rescue and rehoming of dogs and cats in Oak Cliff, and has a dog named Gus.  She also admits that she likes to talk about politics and religion at the dinner table.

Jonathan Bull joined the Help Desk team full time in August, after working as part of the student worker team for several years.  Jonathan completed a Religious Studies degree, here at SMU last May, and continues to be invaluable to the Help Desk team.

The names Janet Asberry and Gina Benavides may also sound familiar.  They have each been providing amazing service to the SMU community for years!  We are fortunate, that in addition to all that they do on the team currently, their expert knowledge will allow the helpdesk to continue improving upon the amazing service that has come to be expected.

With a new team solidified, we look forward to continually improving the service and support that the Help Desk provides to the SMU community!